Truckers aid Christmas miracle to bring Island youth home

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Speelmans safe at home after car skids off road, then catches fire in Quebec

MONTAGUE — Wendy Speelman was on a rescue mission when she got the call.

It’s a long drive from P.E.I. to Quebec, but the Mt. Mellick mother was bound and determined to make the 2,000-km journey after discovering her teenage children had skidded off a slushy highway and escaped a burning car.

Crystal and Stephen were driving home for the holidays from Hamilton, Ont. But the college students hit a section of slush near Drummondville, Que. and when the 15-year-old car hit the ditch, “I’ll Be home for Christmas” took on a whole new meaning.

“When they had it towed out, something must have been broken underneath,’’ said father Siemen this week. “They drove on and the electronics in the car went nuts and smoke and fire poured out from the engine.”

The teenagers stood in the frigid winds alongside the Trans Canada highway as Christmas presents, laptops, Ipods, passports, identification and clothes burned up before their eyes.

“That’s when the fear of not getting home for Christmas hit us both,’’ said 19-year-old Crystal.

Eighteen-year-old Stephen agreed, but said they knew they’d make it home one way or another.

His cellphone was in his jacket and they were able to call for help and were assisted by the local fire chief.

And that’s when mother Wendy jumped in the car for the long drive to Quebec while Dad and other family members began searching out other options.

“Planes and trains were all booked and someone suggested a trucking firm,” said Rev. Speelman who grew up in Vernon River. “We were so grateful when one came to our aid.”

Wendy Speelman was almost at the Confederation Bridge when she got the good news call.

Scott Annear, the general manager of Annear Trucking in Montague, and former schoolmate of Siemen, came to the rescue.

“They were able to get in touch with some truckers and help make this a happy ending,’’ said Stephen.

The firm was able to contact some truckers who were in the Quebec region and Crystal and Stephen were soon aboard an 18-wheeler heading east. The first leg to Quebec City was with Marc Lalonde and the final leg to the Island was with Raymond and Derrick Morrison.

The teens had left Hamilton the Thursday before Christmas and made it home safe and sound on Saturday.

“They even dropped us at the front door of our house.”

Geographic location: Quebec City, P.E.I., Drummondville Vernon River

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  • Sharyn Mitchell
    December 29, 2013 - 11:13

    That is great that everything turned out so well thanks to some truck drivers and Scott Annear. It is really too bad that they lost so many things in the fire but it could have been worse. Things can always be replaced but people can't.

  • Sharyn Mitchell
    December 29, 2013 - 11:11

    That is great that everything turned out so well thanks to some truck drivers and Scott Annear. It is really too bad that they lost so many things in the fire but it could have been worse. Things can always be replaced but people can't.

  • fed up
    December 29, 2013 - 10:08

    Great story . I am glad every one is safe and sound!