SMITHFIELD, Utah - Two young girls are recovering at Primary Children's Hospital after a weekend crash that killed their mother.
According to the Utah Highway Patrol, a 15-year-old driver with a learner's permit was driving alone on S.R. 218 in Smithfield on Saturday when he veered into traffic heading the opposite direction and hit the family head-on.
The Perkes' siblings all got the call from their mom, telling them their sister, 28-year-old Sammi Perkes, along with her two daughters, 7-year-old Kinley and 4-year-old Haylen, had been in an accident.
Danni Quayle was told her sister died on impact. "My knees went out from under me and I fell to the floor and started screaming," Quayle said.
"That’s my baby sister. To think she wasn’t going to be around," Sammi's older brother, Jesse Perkes, said.
Sammi's older sister, Cody Parkinson, says she was born to be a mom. "When she was little you’d ask her 'what do you want to be when you grow up' and she’d say 'I want to be a mommy,'" Parkinson said.
"She was the protector of everyone in our family," Sammi's younger brother, Randy Perkes, said. "When our dad was sick she took care of everybody."
Her life's calling was being a mom to her two young girls. "Even as a single mom, watching her be so dedicated to that was just beautiful," Parkinson said.
It's a job she took seriously until the very end. "I've seen these pictures and I think had she not been such a good mom, had she not been so careful with them, this situation could be much worse," Quayle said.
They're not sure how much Sammi's daughters have comprehended at this point. "I hope they understand it but at the same time were definitely trying to ease them into it," Perkes said. "She was everything they had."
However, this large family plans to support them in every way. "I'm the youngest of 8 kids so we just rally together," Perkes said.
They'll take lessons from Sammi, whose legacy will live on through her girls, who she protected until her last breath. "We were lucky to have her," Quayle said.
The family started a gofundme page to help pay for funeral costs.