A Winnipeg woman who lost her 30-year-old daughter in a vehicle collision last month is now grieving the death of her infant grandson, who spent the past month in hospital fighting for his life.

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This article was published 28/10/2020 (279 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A Winnipeg woman who lost her 30-year-old daughter in a vehicle collision last month is now grieving the death of her infant grandson, who spent the past month in hospital fighting for his life.

"I lost my daughter and I lost my grandson in only a matter of weeks. I don’t know what to do, I’m so lost," a devastated Candy Volk said Wednesday, a few hours after holding 10-month-old Anthony — AJ, they called him — as he took his last breath. 

Jennifer Dethmers died after a vehicle she was driving was struck by another vehicle fleeing police. (Jessica Bird / The Canadian Press files)

Jennifer Dethmers died after a vehicle she was driving was struck by another vehicle fleeing police. (Jessica Bird / The Canadian Press files)

The boy and his mother, Jennifer Dethmers, were in the back seat of the minivan Dethmers' partner was driving, along with her stepdaughter in the front, when a pickup truck fleeing police slammed into them at the intersection of Boyd Avenue and Andrews Street in the North End on Sept. 26.

The family was en route to pick up Volk for a Saturday-afternoon shopping trip.

"He hung on. My little grandson was the strongest warrior I’ve ever met in my life,"a sobbing Volk said. "He fought so hard to stay with us. He was brave and he was strong, and he had so much courage. But that accident caused so much damage to his little body that he couldn’t fight it."

Volk said she spent the last couple of weeks in the hospital with AJ, grateful for the time they spent together.

"My little bambino was just starting to develop his own little personality. He was so funny. He was a lot of fun. He very seldom cried. He was very stubborn," she said.

"He just learned how to crawl, and he was trying to walk to keep up with his cousins. He comes to my house almost every day, it was a routine. I would make them supper and he’d come, and he’d play at my house. We made lots of memories together and we had so many plans of what we were going to do."

Her daughter had purchased Halloween decorations and a costume for AJ, she said.

Family and friends of 11-month-old Anthony Dethmers and his mother Jennifer Dethmers speak at a press conference on Wednesday. (David Lipnowski / The Canadian Press files)

Family and friends of 11-month-old Anthony Dethmers and his mother Jennifer Dethmers speak at a press conference on Wednesday. (David Lipnowski / The Canadian Press files)

"Saturday’s Halloween and he won’t be here," she said.

Volk has a fire burning at the back of 498 Furby St. and she’s asking for people to say prayers for her grandson.

"We’re asking for possibly sacred medicines and firewood so we can keep that fire burning for four days and four nights. Anyone is welcome to come and to offer prayers for my little bambino as he’s on that journey," she said.

"He’s so small and he has to go on that big journey all by himself. I know his mommy is waiting for him. That’s where our only comfort is right now, is that they’re together and they’ll be together forever."

Police charged Armand Joseph Jr. Chartrand, the 43-year-old truck driver, with a dozen offences, including dangerous driving causing death and driving while suspended. He had taken off at high speed during a police traffic stop moments before the crash.

Chartrand is expected to be charged with additional offences following the boy's death, police said Wednesday.

kellen.taniguchi@freepress.mb.ca