Don’t dwell on hatred, mother says, while hundreds grieve daughter killed in Boyd Avenue crash

By | September 29, 2020

Jennifer “Jenny” Dethmers cared for her community. She attended memorials and organized walks in honour of young people who were taken far too soon, her grieving mother said Tuesday night.

“But I never ever thought that we’d be doing it for her,” Candy Volk said.

On Tuesday evening, hundreds of mourners gathered around the stretch of road in Willam Whyte neighbourhood where Dethmers tragically died. The young mother, 30, was killed on Boyd Avenue, west of Andrews Street, when a pickup truck fleeing from Winnipeg police last Saturday afternoon slammed into the van she was a passenger in.

Her nine-month-old son, who was also in the back seat, remains in critical condition, Volk said on Tuesday. Dethmers’ partner and stepdaughter were also hospitalized with serious injuries.

A 43-year-old man faces numerous offences, including dangerous driving causing death. 

Hundreds surround the crash site to remember Jennifer Dethmers, three days after her life tragically ended in a vehicle crash. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

Dethmers’ mother fought through tears as she urged mourners along the street to prevent their anger from consuming them. 

“Tonight, we’re not going to dwell on that. We’re not here for revenge and hatred,” she said through a megaphone.

“I know how you feel, it was my daughter … but let’s celebrate her,” she said. “Let’s not let Jennifer’s death have been in vain.”

Volk said her daughter cared deeply for the people in her life.

“She was very fierce, she loved fierce and she protected fierce. She was a real mama bear.” 

Dethmers’ protective instincts only heightened with the birth of her son, Anthony “A.J,” Volk said.

She wasn’t letting the COVID-19 pandemic ruin her son’s first Halloween. Last Saturday, she was decorating her house and wanted her mother to see her place after they went shopping, but Dethmers never returned home.

Volk wanted the mourners to remember Dethmers for who she was, not how she died.

Jennifer “Jenny” Dethmers, 30, loved and protected fiercely, her mother said at a vigil in her honour. (Submitted by Lisa Hargreaves)

Her daughter, she wanted people to know, said what was on her mind. She also never said goodbye to her mother at night, opting instead to wish her a good rest.

If Dethmers was at the vigil, she would have ordered people to stay apart from each other to respect physical distancing, Volk said to a few chuckles from the mask-wearing but not always distant crowd.

“One thing that I want people to take from here, as an example of Jenny, was to spend time with your loved ones, no matter how busy you are.”

Earlier in the night, Volk was escorted to the crash site with loved ones holding her up and hugging her tightly. As she approached her seat, her family wrapped Volk in a warm embrace as she fell to her knees and wept. 

Portraits of Jennifer Dethmers’ life were shown during the vigil celebrating the young mother’s life. She died on Saturday at the age of 30. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

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