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Canada 'This tragedy is just beyond belief': Separate crashes, 8 months apart, claim Edmonton parents

09:05  12 june  2018
09:05  12 june  2018 Source:   cbc.ca

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a group of people posing for the camera: Edmonton parents Marc-Andre Helie and Stephanie Stuetz died eight months apart, in separate crashes on Anthony Henday Drive.© Facebook Edmonton parents Marc-Andre Helie and Stephanie Stuetz died eight months apart, in separate crashes on Anthony Henday Drive.

Two crashes, less than a year apart, on the same highway in Edmonton have claimed the lives of a mother and a father, leaving behind their three young children.

"This tragedy is just beyond belief," Darlene Reid, a family friend, wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday.

"They died on same section of the Henday only a kilometre apart, at the same time in the morning, both in vehicle accidents and have left three darling babies behind as orphans."

Marc-Andre Helie, 36, died after hitting a deer while riding his motorcycle on Anthony Henday Drive early June 9, friends have confirmed.

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​Eight months earlier, at around the same time of day and on the same highway, Stephanie Stuetz, 28, also died in a crash.

Stuetz, known as Steffi, collided head-on with another vehicle while driving north in the southbound lanes of Anthony Henday Drive in October 2017.

She was pronounced dead on scene. The driver of the other vehicle sustained serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Their three children, a boy and two girls all younger than age 10, are staying with grandparents.

Reid said the family has asked for privacy. She told CBC News they also declined an offer for a fundraiser.

Last year, Reid launched an online campaign following Stuetz's death, raising more than $20,000 for her funeral and for trust funds for the children.

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'An incredibly loving father'

Family friend Ingrid Schifer said Stuetz and Helie were like siblings to her. She found out about Helie's death Saturday morning.

"He was an incredibly loving father," Schifer told CBC News in a Facebook message.

"After Steffi died he wanted to make sure the children had strong female role models. He always thought of those children."

Helie is originally from a small town in Quebec, where his parents still live. His childhood friend Dany Laplante visited them Sunday after finding out about Helie's death.

"The parents are devastated," Laplante said. "I saw the mom, and you can see her eyes were full of water. The dad is really quiet, calm, but you can feel it's doing something to him."

Laplante and Helie grew up together and kept in touch on social media. The death of his lifelong friend hasn't fully sunk in.

"I was pretty much one of the closest friends he had," he said. "He was kind of a quiet guy, he was working hard all the time ... he was taking care of his family.

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"How do you think the kids are going to be? It's hard to believe. But the thing is, at least they've got a good family. They're going to take care of it."

As of Monday, there were no public plans for a memorial or similar event for Helie.

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