Paramedic reaches out to family after Windsor trucker’s death
An Ohio paramedic is reaching out to a Windsor trucker’s family after a fatal collision earlier this week.
Maryann Reimund was one of the paramedics at the fiery crash that claimed the life of 63-year-old Djordie Mihajlo from Windsor.
Mihajlo died on Monday when the transport truck he was driving collided with another truck on US Interstate 24, near Napolean, Ohio.
“It’s a horrible situation,” says Reimund. “This was, by far, the worst accident I've ever seen.”
Reimund says it was difficult to stand by and not be able to help Mihajlo.
“I just knew it wasn't going to be a rescue, it was going to be a recovery,” she says.
In the days since, Reimund went to the CTV News website and discovered that she and Mihajlo have something in common. Both have just recently become grandparents for the first time. It’s why she contacted CTV Windsor with a desire to provide some kind of solace to the Mihajlo family.
On Monday, police said they believed the cargo in Mihajlo’s truck caught fire and he was pinned in the truck.
“I would love to be able to tell the family that you're loved one did not burn alive, I think it was probably instant,” she said.
Mihajlo's son-in-law Gjon Berishaj says this kind of community support, now from both sides of the border, is helping.
“To keep their mind off the whole situation because it’s a horrible situation,” says Berishaj.
Reimund and Berishaj were able to connect in person Thursday in Ohio.
Reimund says she gave the family a knitted quilt she made for her own granddaughter, to come back to the Mihajlo family in Windsor.
She's also promised them that she will create a memorial with a cross and flowers for Mihajlo along I-24, a gesture she says the family seems very pleased with.
Family brings DNA sample to Ohio
The family has been dealt another blow after learning of Mihajlo’s tragic death.
It will be weeks before the body of the 63-year-old will be returned to Canada for burial.
Mihajlo's son and son-in-law are in Napolean, Ohio Thursday night, delivering a DNA sample to authorities.
They've been told the body of their father won't be released until a DNA test confirms his identity.
Results they've been told that could take weeks.
Mihajlo was supposed to be laid to rest on Sunday.
“We're trying to bring the body home as soon as possible,” says Berishaj. “It’s bad enough he died the way he died and now they want to give him the proper burial he deserves but it’s just making it very hard.”
The Coroner in Henry County has told the Mihajlo family they need a DNA sample to positively identify Djordie's body. Until that happens, his body will stay in Ohio.
“The family wants to bring their loved one home, their dad, their husband home and now this situation makes it a lot tougher,” says Berishaj.
So Berishaj drove to Ohio, along the very same roads his father-in-law used, to deliver a family DNA sample.
“To try to help them to bring the body home as soon as possible,” he says.
Berishaj has been told that could take up to two weeks.
Mihajlo and his family fled from Bosnia in 1996.
Berishaj says they came to Canada, Windsor to be exact, for a better life.
He says for Mihajlo's life to end this way is a bitter pill for the family.
CTV News contacted the coroner and sheriff in Henry County to find out about the investigation and autopsy, but those calls were not returned.