By Brandon Mayer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A 20-year-old Merrickville woman lost her life in a tragic collision between her vehicle and a dump truck just after 11:30 am on November 2. Sarah Fleming was pronounced deceased at the scene of the collision on County Road 43 in Montague Township near Smiths Falls on the stretch of highway between Smiths Falls and Merrickville. The driver of the truck had only minor injuries but was taken to the hospital as a precaution. A section of the road between Rainbow Valley Drive and Rosedale Road was closed for hours after the collision as investigators from the Ontario Provincial Police were on site trying to determine the cause. Lanark County paramedics and Montague Township Fire Service members were also on scene. The investigation was still underway as of the time of writing.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up in Sarah’s name. The campaign is being run by two of Sarah’s mother’s closest friends, Valetta and Paula. The purpose of the campaign is to provide funds to help cover funeral expenses for Sarah, and also to allow Sarah’s mother – who is a single parent – the financial security needed to take time off of work and grieve properly. The monetary goal of the campaign is $50,000. Sarah also leaves behind a brother.
The introductory paragraph on the GoFundMe page describes Sarah as caring, loving, and having “the most beautiful smile.” She was a nursing student at St. Lawrence College. “Every penny helps and will be greatly appreciated,” Valetta and Paula wrote on the GoFundMe page. “If you are unable to help financially, please help by sharing this story.” Sarah graduated from St. Michael Catholic High School in Kemptville.
By November 10, the fundraising campaign had already reached over $15,000 of its $50,000 goal. Many generous donators left kind words of sympathy on the page along with their donations. One commentor wrote, “Sarah was a student on our floor. My heart breaks for your family. She was an amazing nurse.” Another wrote, “I didn’t know Sarah well, but she sounds like she would have been the kind of nurse we all would want looking after our loved ones.” Yet another wrote, “The St. Lawrence College nursing community is thinking of Sarah’s family during this devastating time.”
Anyone wishing to donate to the GoFundMe campaign for Sarah’s family, or those interested in helping out by spreading the word, can find the campaign online at https://gofund.me/205cacb5.