It was a summer road trip that ended in devastation: one week ago, the Jeffreys family was shattered by a horrific crash.
The collision on Aug. 7, near Oyen, Alta., cost their 10-year-old son, Zachary Jeffreys, his life.
Zachary’s father, Bob, spoke to Global News about his grief.
“When you close your eyes and the lights go out and you have time alone, I see my little guy, running around the corner to me,” Bob said.
The B.C. family’s minivan was stopped in a construction zone. A semi was coming up behind them and Bob said it didn’t stop. The force of the impact sent their vehicle into a parked tractor-trailer in front of them.
“The transport in front was pushed ahead at least four to five lengths of my vehicle and the transport that hit us was off in the field, so that person wasn’t even able to stop himself after hitting us,” Bob recalled.
The tragedy has forever changed their happy family of five. The four survivors are still recovering.
Eight-year-old Lillian Jeffreys suffered a skull fracture and has only just been released from hospital.
Seven-year-old Gabriel Jeffreys has autism and will need reconstructive facial surgery and will lose one of his eyes.
“Gabriel has multiple fractures in his face. His orbital bone was shattered,” Bob said. “He’s missing teeth. He took a lot of impact to the face.”
“He still squeezes my finger when I talk to him.”
Carla Jeffreys broke several bones and has a tear in her aorta. She hasn’t been well enough for her husband Bob to see her. Wednesday was the first time they had together to process the devastating news.
The family had plans to relocate from their Vancouver home and were travelling on a vacation before settling in a new city.
They have been so moved by the support they’ve received, they plan on staying in Calgary. Friends have arranged a GoFundMe page to help them.
The family doesn’t have much left and it’s not expected that Bob or Carla will be able to work for some time.
Bob and his daughter Lillian are currently staying at the Ronald McDonald House and are grateful for those helping them through their devasting loss.
“If there was one person I knew ready to be an angel, it was him. I would have kept him near me forever,” Bob said.
“You want to hold them close as long as you can before you let them go.”
The investigation into the collision is ongoing and according to RCMP, no charges have been laid.