It’s hard to believe that it has been three years, it feels more like a lifetime since I last heard Shanny’s voice and yet it seems like the nightmare has just started. Every day I wish I could wake up from the nightmare to a happy smiling/laughing Shanny pushing me out the door to get a Dutch Bros coffee.
On July 8 2015 Jerod (my son) and I picked her up at from the airport at 8:50AM from there we proceeded to find the closet Dutch Bros so she could get her favorite coffee. She and Jerod each ordered an annihilator while I ordered a caramelizer, she was so excited and was Snap chatting everything as we went, including the fact that we got lost in Portland with the help of GPS. It took us nearly 2 hours to find our way back to a highway that would get us to Forest Grove in time to have lunch with my husband, Doug. We did make to Doug’s work by 11:30 for his lunch break.
Doug was expected home by 5 and her 3 best friends were going to be over at the same time and in the meantime, she was going to go run some errands with her friend Jake. Jake picked her up at around 12:30/1:00, I was washing my Jeep so she could drive it during the week. 2 of the girls showed up early and were waiting and Doug was home by 5 as expected. At about 5:15 pm the Fire Departments air-raid siren (that’s what I call it) went off indicating that something was going on, about this time, my daughter Kara showed up and the sirens from the emergency responders were loud and still going on. My daughter checked YAMCO Watch and learned there was an accident on Meadow Lake and Westside. By this time, we had started blowing up Shanny’s phone asking her where she was because Shanny would not be late without calling.
We figured that her and Jake had gotten caught in the traffic jam and would be a while and that Shanny had not answered her phone because the battery had died. At one-point Kara said one of the cars was red and I knew Jake’s car was red and I got to thinking that if it was them then they might need a ride and should go down and check on them and if they were just sitting in traffic, I would go find her. The 2 girls decided to come with while Doug and Kara opted to wait in case she came home, they would call. The three of us hoped in the car and head for Meadow Lake only to discover it was barricaded and the person who was watching it directed us to Chief Graven at another barricade when we explained what we were trying to do. Chief Graven knew who Shanny was but didn’t know she had come home but when I explained and told him what we were thinking he radioed for someone to relieve him so he could back down to the accident, telling us to stay where we were. We also continued in our task of trying to get Shanny to answer her phone.
Chief Graven came back up with a Yamhill County Officer who asked me a few questions and told us to keep trying to reach Shanny and Jake before going back down to the intersection where the crash was at. We sat there for nearly 2 hours before they came back and pulled me from the car. I remember saying “you’re going to tell me something I won’t like, aren’t you?” They showed me Shanny’s Military ID and her Driver’s license and told me she died; about this time the girls were running straight for me because they had just been told too.
My head went into overdrive and I knew I had to get to Doug and tell him, as we came down our street, I saw that the number of people at my house had grown because my father-in-law and my sister-in-law were there. I could hear them all screaming from 2 blocks away, they had been outside waiting. I went straight to Doug who had been lying down in our room. I remember yelling at my father-in-law to get the hell out of my way and out of my room because he was blocking my path to Doug.
We wanted to go down to the crash site and had gotten ready to do just that when the victim liaison person and some of my neighbors told us we shouldn’t and stopped us halfway towards the door. From there everything becomes a blur of snippets of things. I remember bits and pieces of things, I lived in a fog for over 6 months and sometimes that very fog takes over. She had only been home for 8 hours and her sister and other family members hadn’t even gotten to see her yet.