OREM, Utah — 10-year-old Chanel Huddleston sat in the living room surrounded by family with a bandaged-up knee as she spoke about the terrible crash she was involved in last weekend.
On Saturday, Huddleston was spending the day with her dad, running errands and riding on the back of his motorcycle when a car came crashing into them near 400 N. State Street in Orem. Police said two vehicles crashed, and one of the vehicles into went into oncoming traffic, where it hit the motorcycle.
“I saw the truck turn, and that’s when I blacked out. Then I just woke up rolling,” she said.
Unfortunately, the crash claimed the life of her dad, Jeremy Huddleston Schmidt.
“It is just kind of confusing. It feels like a bad dream. It is like a bad dream that I am stuck in," Huddleston said.
Longtime Orem resident Jessica Taylor was heading home from getting ice cream with her children when she spotted Huddleston.
“I saw a little girl rolling in the street,” she said.
Quickly, Taylor told her kids to stay in the car and she rushed to help Huddleston, not knowing who she was.
“She was taking her helmet off, and I made sure she was focused on me so she wouldn’t turn around and see what was behind her,” she said.
Taylor stayed with Huddleston and even rode in the ambulance with her while waiting for the little girl’s mother.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about my daughter and if someone had witnessed that happen and they had the opportunity, I hope they wouldn’t leave her alone,” she said.
Everyone agreed that it’s shocking Huddleston walked away with such minor injuries. But, none of them think it’s by chance.
“I think there was something important that I needed to do in the future,” the fifth-grader said.
On Tuesday, Taylor finally got to give Huddleston a big hug.
“I already love you so much, and I feel like that connection probably has a lot to do with your dad," Taylor said. "I truly, truly believe he was there with us the whole time. I don’t think he left you at all either."
Huddleston said it’s been comforting to have people like Taylor, as well as family and friends surrounding her with love. In this time of hardship, she is turning to her faith for comfort.
“I have been praying that I hope my dad is having a good time [in heaven] and I hope that my family is getting through this okay and that all of us will get through this,” she said.
Schmidt was a loving father, who made sure to make their times together special, Huddleston said.
“My dad was a great person. He helped a lot of people,” she said.
Huddleston shared some of her favorite memories with her dad — from roller coaster rides, to going to the zoo, to getting baptized.
“One saying he would always say to me was: ‘Every day is Christmas for you,'" she said.
If she could tell him one more thing, Huddleston said she wished she could remind him of how much he meant to her.
“I love you. Because I forgot to tell him that that morning, the morning that he died.”
The family has set up a GoFundMe account. The money raised will go into a trust for Huddleston and her brother.