A Go Fund Me account has been set up for Dujenski family of Machias, who lost 2-year-old Phoenix and her mother, 31-year-old Danielle, who was pregnant.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — We are hearing now from loved ones of the Dujenski family who were victims in a terrible crash a day before Thanksgiving in Niagara County.
With several family members involved in the crash still fighting for their lives, 2 On Your Side spoke with their relatives in Florida on Saturday evening.
It was the terrible scene confronting rescue workers in the Town of Royalton, in Niagara County, on Wednesday night just before Thanksgiving.
Seven members of the Dujenski family of Machias, in Cattaraugus County, were in a minivan that was struck by a pickup truck. Niagara County Sheriff Michael Filicetti says the driver of the pickup ran a stop sign.
The family was driving home after visiting the home of a close friend because their families enjoyed playing together.
The parents and their five children were critically injured.
Two-year-old Phoenix Dujenski died from her injuries that night, and her mother, 31-year-old Danielle Dujenski, who was driving the van and was pregnant, died on Thanksgiving Day.
Danielle’s father and stepmother, Robert and Cheryl Frey, spoke with us from their home in Florida about Danielle.
Frey said, “Loving, caring, family-oriented woman. Despite her high IQ she didn’t complete high school. She was more interested in her family. Obviously she had five kids, and she was carrying another one when this happened.”
He added, “She was very dedicated to her family. That’s all she wanted to do was have a lot of kids, and just let them have fun growing up and know that they’re loved.”
Danielle’s husband, Garrett, who is at Erie County Medical Center, suffered numerous rib, spleen, and head injuries. Cheryl Frey says he is waking up at times with vivid memories of the crash.
“He is remembering everything, and he has to keep getting sedated,” she said.
Then there’s the children. There is a bit of good news in that one Dujenski daughter, 2-year-old Cristobel, was released Saturday in the care of her uncle, who is from Tennessee.
But among the other children, another son, Robert, is in very critical condition with head injuries.
Then there’s the oldest, 11-year-old Austin, who kept asking about his mother and little sister.
Cheryl Frey said, “He was asking too many questions, and (hospital social workers) didn’t want him to find out from anybody else. So they told him about them, and his response was that ‘Mommy and Phoenix are angels now.’ “
A Go Fund me account has now been set up for the Dujenksi family. Robert and Cheryl Frey are also asking for prayers for their son-in-law and grandchildren.
“We can’t change what happened … but yeah just keep them in mind and hopefully things will get better,” she said.