SEATTLE -- The family of a woman killed in the 2015 Ride the Ducks crash told jurors what she meant to them. 49-year-old Claudia Derschmidt’s ex-husband flew in from Austria to testify along with their two sons, Moritz and Felix.
It’s easy to see why Claudia Derschmidt was so loved by her sons and ex-husband even after their divorce in photos the plaintiffs submitted to the court.
“She was an enthusiastic mom and she wanted to show them the world,” said Wolfram Derschmidt.
Her two sons Moritz and Felix along with their father took the stand to speak for the woman who couldn’t speak for herself. They told the jury how lucky they were to have loved her.
"With joy when I think about the good times we had and we had a lot of good times,” said Moritz Derschmidt.
It was Felix who came with his mother to move to Seattle from Austria to start a new life. The morning of the crash, Felix went to school while his mother Claudia decided to do a Ride the Ducks Seattle tour. The older son Moritz spoke with his mother via Skype moments before.
“I do remember she told me she was about to take this bus tour and roughly what she was going to do on that bus,” said Moritz.
Felix came home from school and his mother wasn’t there. Hours went by with no word from her. Then, a family friend told him about a bus crash.
“He told us there had been an accident on the Aurora Bridge,” said Felix. “We were crying and telling ourselves this can’t be true, this can’t be happening. We were so desperate. We just couldn’t handle it.”
Felix and his school friend paced and walked for hours, calling 911, and local hospitals trying to find his mother Claudia. Back in Austria, her ex-husband Wolfram says he got the life-changing phone call.
“They called me and told me that Claudia had passed away. They told me that I had to call Felix and Moritz and tell the family about what happened. I only slept one hour and it was extremely emotional for me,” said Wolfram.
In the years since her passing, the emotions are still raw. The court took a break when Moritz became overwhelmed with emotion. All three of Claudia’s family members telling the jury nothing can replace her love.
“She won’t be there if I get married on my wedding day. She doesn’t get to know my girlfriend that I have now. It’s hard to say. I miss her every day,” said Moritz.
The trial continues on Monday when the jury will hear sworn statements in a deposition by a Ride the Ducks International employee who was a mechanic who worked on the ducks in the service department.