Latiesha Coulineur kept thinking there was no way her 12-year-old brother Jerome could have died in a crash on a remote highway in northern Saskatchewan.
The idea of losing her happy, effervescent little brother causes her to cry.
“I honestly never thought this day would come in a million years,” she said in a message to Global News.
Latiesha and her sister flew from Victoria to Saskatoon on Monday. The family is preparing for Jerome’s burial in his home community of Canoe Lake First Nation.
“I really miss him and I love him so much.”
On Oct. 25, RCMP responded to a crash on Highway 155 south of Beauval between an ambulance and a truck. Police described road conditions as “poor with slush and ice-covered sections” at the time of the crash.
Jerome was one of three people killed.
A statement from Jackie Durocher, superintendent of the Northern Lights School Division, alerted parents and guardians of Jerome’s death.
“A traumatic event occurred in the community, outside of school, that resulted in the tragic death of one of the students from Jans Bay School,” said the notice posted on the school’s Facebook page.
Classes were cancelled Monday, but the doors remained open and counsellors were available inside.
Alexa LaRiviere-Laliberte of Jans Bay told The Canadian Press her 15-month-old daughter Kinzey also died. She said Kinzey and Jerome, who was Alexa’s cousin, were in the truck that collided with the ambulance.
LaRiviere-Laliberte said her father was in the truck and he remains in hospital.
As of Monday evening, a GoFundMe campaign had raised roughly $2,800 of a $5,000 goal to pay for Jerome and Kinzey’s funerals. The organizer said money is also needed for travel expenses as the family has travelled more than 400 km from home to be at the hospital.
Within days, Beauval Mayor Nick Daigneault said an auction and bingos were carried out in Jans Bay and Beauval to raise money. He said there may be more efforts to help with the family’s finances.
“We understand sometimes hospital stays can be prolonged, so we’re to keep in touch with the family as much as we can and get a better understanding as to what their plans are,” Daigneault said.
A paramedic from Meadow Lake EMS died in the crash. Outpourings of condolences from other first responders filled social media on Saturday and Sunday.
The paramedic’s identity hasn’t been made public, but a procession of emergency vehicles drove through Meadow Lake over the weekend as a tribute.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) said staff members can access critical incident debriefing support, as can affect communities and others who request it.
“We also thank all those who have reached out to us with words of condolence, support and kindness during this difficult time,” said a statement from the SHA.
“It is greatly appreciated.”