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.