MAPLE GROVE (WCCO) — For the first time, a Twin Cities woman is talking about the horrifying crash that killed her sister.

There was nothing Jean Gmach could do to help her little sister that January 2012 afternoon in Maple Grove. Gmach watched the car fly towards she and her sister, Ann Blake.

“We didn’t even know it was coming,” said Gmach.

The sisters would often meet, go shopping and have lunch. They looked forward to it.

“We were very close,” said Gmach.

She’ll never experience that time with her little sister again. Those afternoons are now only important memories.

“We wanted to go for one more walk before lunch,” Gmach recalled about that afternoon.

Before the crash, Gmach can remember waiting to cross the street with Blake on the sidewalk off Elm Creek Boulevard. Then, out of nowhere, the car crashed into her sister.

“And this car just took her. It just took her,” Gmach recalled. “We had no warning. We had no warning.”

The driver continued across the center median and crashed into another vehicle.

“It shouldn’t have happened,” said Gmach. “We were where we were supposed to be, but it did.”

Jean still has visions of that speeding car.

It’s not the first tragedy for Ann’s family. Just a couple months before Blake died, her husband, Dan, lost his battle with cancer.

“She was a very giving person. Very generous,” said Gmach.

She took care of Dan while caring for their two children and working.

“She was the one who really took care of those kids,” said Gmach’s husband, George.

Ann’s son has severe autism, so now Jean and the rest of the family will pitch in to raise the children.

“We’re going to do the best for these kids, because they’ve been through so much,” Gmach said.

Out of the horror, there is hope that something good will come from Blake’s death and the pain that her family now feels.

“I love Ann and I miss her. And we’re all going to miss her very much,” said Gmach.

Linda Hamm was allegedly driving it while drunk and charged with criminal vehicular homicide. Police say they found an open Vodka bottle in her car, and she blew .169.

Hamm was in court recently and is scheduled to go back in a few weeks. Her lawyer insists that she’s not competent to stand trial, because she suffers from dementia following seizures and aneurisms.

Comments (10)
  1. Kevin says:

    God Bless your sister….and again I state…..150+ Amy Senser comments…and here……me…..

    1. Mimi says:

      This happened in January. And thankfully the driver is off the streets. Amy Senser’s hit was in August and she still has her freedom. That’s where there is no justice.

  2. Dave says:

    My deepest sympathies to the victims families and friends, but this tragedy could have been avoided, the Doctors and Family Members of Linda Hamm should have pulled her Drivers License and TAKEN away her car keys after she had her seizures. We have too many incompetent seizure and dementia drivers on the roads because family members and Doctors don’t want to offend grandma and grandpa and take away their driving privileges. I hope the victims Attorney goes after the Doctors of Linda Hamm for not reporting her seizures to the Department of Public Safety.

    1. whatajoke says:

      It said she was drunk at the time… the part about seizures had nothing to do with her driving ability this one time…

      1. Dave says:

        Yes, she was drunk, but with her previous seizure and dementia issues should have been reported by her Doctors to the Department of Public Safety and they would revoke her license, and her family should have taken away her keys. No keys, no license…no dead victim, tragedy avoided.

  3. brian says:

    im so sorry for your loss and i agree i was driving in eagan and a lady who also had dimensha almost hit me so i followed her to the off ramp and she rear ended a car at the light y do they let um drive wake up goverment

  4. Bert says:

    This is really strange. My sister had severe diabetes and had to have a certificate from the Department of Public Safety filled out and signed by a doctor every year stating that she has never had a seizure from her diabetes that would cause her to black out. How does this woman still have a driver’s license?

  5. James says:

    I went to school with a Gmach, hope it wasn’t his aunt or something, sad story, lock her up and throw away the key

  6. Sharon Johnson says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this Jean & George. Are you taking the nieces and nephews to live with you? I’d like to hear from you, and wish you peace as you work through this tragedy.

    God Bless You


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