News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Infant survivor of two-vehicle accident continues to improve

Contributing writer for The Canyon Weekly

A Scio family was left reeling after a tragic accident took the life of one member and sent her eight-month-old baby to the hospital. 

“Only 55 days until you’re stuck with me forever,” Jessica Petrime told her soon-to-be husband, Zach, on July 26, 2020. 

The 30-year-old Scio man had no inkling that “forever” would end with the loss of his wife two and a half years later. 

Jessica Petrime, 29, was pronounced dead at the scene of a tragic head-on collision that occurred about 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30. Excessive speed was the suspected cause of a two-vehicle collision on Highway 226 near Fish Hatchery Drive in Linn County. Her daughter, Madison, was the only one who survived the deadly crash that also took the lives of the other driver, Travis Longo, 20, of Albany, Chloe Richmond, 18, and Skye Huskey, 18, both of Lebanon.         

“Thank you for all the caring responses and prayers to the devastating news about the passing of our beautiful Jessie, my granddaughter-in-law,” said Cathy Phelps, who lives in Banks. 

Of her grandson, she added, “Zach is doing as good as possible.”

According to Phelps, Petrime went looking for his wife because she was late getting home when he came upon the accident. The encounter, she said, was heartbreaking, a sentiment that passed from Petrime to other family members as word about the crash circulated. 

“Madi had a fractured femur so she has a cast that goes around her waist and down her right leg,” Phelps said. “She’s struggling a bit.”

She said Madi can’t understand why she can’t crawl and roll around as before, but despite the challenges, is progressing. 

“Such a young beautiful family,” she said. “My heart is shattered for them. And seeing little Madi struggle with her cast… her only words have been ‘mama’ and it breaks our hearts!”

Family on both sides helped out after the accident, Phelps said, but emotional healing will take some time. 

“We are all in shock and devastated,” she told friends on her Facebook page a day after the tragedy took Jessica’s life. “Please pray for them and our, and her, entire family as we all try to pick up the pieces of this heartbroken family.”

More than 200 people rallied, immediately sending prayers and condolences to Phelps and the entire family. 

“Prayers to all who knew and loved Jessie and for quick healing for her sweet baby,” posted Steph Albrecht. “Sorry, sorry for the loss.”

T. Aronsen Found said, “Oh my heart aches so much for this whole family! Praying for peace that only God can give!”

“Prayers for you and your family,” Michelle Nunes posted. “There isn’t anything that can be said to ease your pain. This whole tragedy could have been avoided simply with safe driving. Four families are devastated!”

Phelps told one friend that people have been very generous with prayers, kind words, food, clothes and more. One of her daughter’s friends, Jodee Faber, set up a GoFundMe page that continues to grow. 

The fund was set up for $15,000 to cover funeral and medical expenses as well as well as lost work time and has swelled to more than $36,000 as of Wednesday, Feb. 8. 

Word is that Madi continues to do well and is enjoying strolls around the house in her new wagon, playing in her activity table, and starting to find ways to crawl around the house.

“Comfort comes from our many visitors, well wishers and you all who have donated,” Faber said. “If you’re able to donate or share the link, please do. Thank you!

To donate, go to gofundme.com and open Petrime Family. The link is https://www.gofundme.com/f/petrime-family?utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_content=undefined&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer&utm_term=undefined.

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