An Alberta paramedic who responded to a car crash not knowing her own daughter was the victim says she's remembering the teen as a creative, fierce "firecracker."
On Nov. 15, paramedic Jayme Erickson was called to a two-vehicle crash near Airdrie. Family friend and fellow paramedic Richard Reed said Erickson spent more than 20 minutes in the cold treating a teenage girl with serious injuries who was trapped in a car. The teen was later airlifted to hospital.
At that time, Erickson was unaware that the teenager was her daughter, Montana Dobry, 17.
In a Facebook post days later, Erickson wrote that her worst nightmare as a paramedic had happened. Shortly after responding to the scene, she learned that the passenger she had treated was her own daughter, who was unrecognizable due to the extent of her injuries.
"Minutes after arriving home, my doorbell rang. My life was changed forever. RCMP were at my door to inform me that my daughter had been in an accident. The critically injured patient I had just attended to was my own flesh and blood. My only child. My mini-me. My daughter, Montana," Erickson wrote in the post.
"I was taken to [Foothills Medical Centre] to see my baby girl and was informed her injuries were not compatible with life."
Reed said that on Nov. 15, two females were driving back after a dog walk at Big Hill Springs Provincial Park when the vehicle lost control and was struck by an oncoming truck, creating significant damage to the vehicle and injuring all of those involved.
Speaking from an Airdrie firehall on Tuesday, Erickson said Montana's death is reverberating through the province's first-responder communities. Erickson's husband, Sean, Montana's adopted father, is also a paramedic.
"Anybody who knew Montana, they'd call her a firecracker," she said.
"She would love fiercely if you were her friend. She would love you to the end of the world and back, and she would do anything for you."
She added that her daughter was a competitive swimmer who fought for what she wanted, and dreamed of being a lawyer after high school.
She said that Montana was an organ donor who provided two life-saving donations.
"In the wake of this tragedy, she has saved other people. We know it's what she would have wanted and we are so proud of her. And we're going to miss her very, very much."
Chad Durocher, platoon chief at the Airdrie Fire Department, said he watched Montana grow up with his own children in the community.
"Sweet, fiery Montana was the absolute light of her mom, Jayme, and her stepdad Sean's life," he said.
First responders share the horrible fear they will have to attend a call where the patient is their parent, spouse, friend or child, he said.
"Seeing tragedy and horrific loss is just the reality of what we are forced to encounter every day in uniform."
AHS spokesperson James Wood said Alberta Health Services EMS sends its deepest condolences to the family.
"AHS provides support to EMS staff, including family members, through our EMS peer support team. A crisis response team and Employee and Family Assistance Plan team are available to provide immediate support," Wood wrote in a statement.
RCMP say the cause of the collision is still under investigation.