The first thing Erin Wood wants her baby to know is that Dad, Brian, died to save their lives.
“. . . In his final act he did the only thing that would save us,” said Wood, 31.
With an out-of-control Chevy Blazer bearing down on him, the 33-year old North Vancouver man braked and swerved his Subaru wagon so that he would take the force of the head-on collision, saving his wife of five years, pregnant with their first baby..
“All the policeman say that if we had hit the car head-on all of us would be dead. At the very last second (Brian) braked really hard and turned right so that he would be put in the path of the SUV and not me and the baby, and that is the only thing that saved us both.
“I am not going to waste the gift he gave us.”
The accident happened Friday as the Woods were making their way to a family home on Whidbey Island in Washington State.
A Chevy Blazer, with four occupants, crossed the centre line when the driver tried to take her sweater off while driving, asking the other front passenger to take the wheel at the time.
When Wood braked and swerved slightly, the Blazer continued forward, its momentum driving it over top of the Subaru, the wheels crushing the roof of the smaller car killing Wood and causing his wife to suffer a non-life-threatening head injury as well.
It then launched into the air before crashing to the ground. When it was returned to its wheels, the entire upper portion of the SUV was flat – in line with the hood.
Washington State Patrol found evidence of drug use at the accident scene in the SUV. All of the occupants are well know to police.
“There is quite a drug history there . . . and we found some evidence of that at the scene so that leads us to believe there were drugs in their systems,” said Sgt, Jason Longoria.
The two male passengers in the rear of the vehicle, 25-year-old Jacob Quistorf and 26-year-old Francis Malloy, were also killed in the accident. The driver, Jordyn Weichert, 21, is now in custody awaiting formal charges of three counts of vehicular homicide and one count of vehicular assault, likely to be laid by Thursday.
The front passenger, 22-year-old Samatha Bowling who took the wheel, is also being investigated for the same charges. She suffered a broken pelvis and remains in hospital. None of the SUV occupants were wearing seatbelts.
Wood, originally from Colorado, was a lead designer for Relic Entertainment, which specializes in 3-D real-time strategy computer games. He has most recently been working on Company of Heroes.
He also sang baritone with the Espiritu Choir in North Vancouver and loved to spend time in the outdoors.
“He was always sacrificing himself for me and the baby,” said Erin Wood.
“He was the most amazing warm-hearted man you would ever meet who loved his job, loved his family, and was just my rock.
“I am not quite sure how I am supposed to live the rest of my life without him. He truly was a gift and I wouldn’t change a thing of any of our moments together.
“(The baby is) due Nov. 5 so it will come quick and then I look forward to seeing little glimpses of Brian in our baby and that gives me a lot of strength right now.”
Said Ed Wood, Brian’s father: “We are trying to learn how to deal with grief . . . it is incredibly painful.
“I was just telling my wife this morning that we raised a magnificent young man and we are just so proud of him. It is a big loss for us and for the rest of the world as well.”
He recalled watching Brian as a child lead the neighbourhood games, always taking the lead in creating the adventure much as he ended up doing in life.
“We got a glimpse then of what might be,” he said adding, “I don’t know who was happier, us to become grandparents or Brian to become a father. But he was just as pleased as punch. He’d done a lot of work renovating and improving their home in North Van and getting it ready for the baby.”
As they deal with tragedy they are also preparing themselves for the legal process. It is not uncommon for those found guilty of vehicular homicide to get less than two years in jail in the U.S.
But said Ed Wood: “I don’t feel a sense of anger. I feel a sense of profound loss. I don’t feel a need for vengeance or anything of that sort.
“But I do believe these people need to be put away. They are going to kill somebody else and themselves and they need to be put away just for the good of society.”
Erin Wood echoed the sentiment.
“There is no place for anger in my heart right now — it is all sadness,” she said.
“The only reason that I care that they get a stiff sentence is because I don’t want it to happen to anyone else. It is not fair and no one else should have to go through this because of them and their stupidity.
“More than anything he was a wonderful man . . . He was so excited to be a father and he did the only thing he could to save his baby and it is so telling about who he is as a person that he was willing to sacrifice himself to save us. That is the true measure of a husband and a father. He loved life and was just so thankful for everything.”© Copyright (c) The Province
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Company of Heroes designer sacrifices life for wife and unborn child