Community rallies around injured Camano Island mom who lost baby, toddler in tragic crash

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CAMANO ISLAND, Wash. — Friends, family and community members are rallying around a Camano Island woman who lost her two young children in a fiery crash.

Tanya Canell, 23, of Camano Island, is at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center in serious condition, suffering from two broken legs, a broken pelvis and burns to 30 percent of her body — and the emotional trauma of losing her two precious children.

Canell's minivan slid off of icy North Sunrise Boulevard in Camano Island Tuesday morning, went down an embankment, slammed head-on into a tree, spun around and burst in flames. Her 5-month-old baby girl and 3-year-old daughter died in the accident. 

“She was such a dedicated mother and those little girls meant the world to her,” friend Corrine Jennings said Wednesday.

Jennings says it’s unbearable to think about the pain her close friend is going through.

“It’s unreal that this can happen to an amazing person,” Jennings said.

Flowers and a giant teddy bear now sit along the site of the accident on North Sunrise Boulevard.

“We had two good Samaritans who went in to rescue the driver,” the Washington State Patrol's Heather Axtman said.

One of those rescuers suffered serious burns trying to save the family, but it was too late for the two sisters.

"It’s really hard. I just can’t imagine being a mother in those shoes. I just feel so bad for her,” Jennings said.

Jennings met Canell working at Papa Murphy’s in Arlington and next Thursday Canell’s former company will hold a fundraiser at their Stanwood location to raise money for her. On December 22, all the proceeds from all their food sales will go to Canell.

“One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to her family, to help her focus on her recovery and the grief of losing her children,” Jennings said.

Others in the community are also stepping up, donating to a gofundme account.

https://www.gofundme.com/family-in-pain-heartbroken-tragedy.

Jennings says Canell doesn’t have much financially but that never stopped her from helping others.

“She would be willing to give her shirt off her back, willing to help anybody,” Jennings said.

Now she wants her friend to know the community is grieving with her and missing the children she loved so much.

“I love her and I will be there no matter what.  She has tons of family and friends behind her, the community, you know, to support her,” Jennings said.

The community was also showing support by holding a vigil on Wednesday night at Terrys Corner in Camano Island.

WSP says there is no indication that neglect played a role in the crash. They say it was a tragic accident that happened in icy conditions that could have happened to any of us.

Troopers are reminding people to drive carefully as the freezing conditions continue across Washington.

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