After I-694 crash, Maplewood mother grapples with loss of two children in 15 days

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There are a few moments in the morning, right after she wakes up, when Shea Terwedow doesn’t remember the horrific turns her life has taken in the past 19 days.

It takes the Maplewood mother a minute to remember that both her daughter, Ashley Terwedow, and her youngest son, Cody Heidenreich, are dead.

Ashley Terwedow, left, and Cody Heidenreich. (Courtesy of Shea Terwedow)

“That moment … when I realize they’re both gone is just heart-wrenching,” Shea Terwedow said. “It feels like my heart is being ripped from my chest — because my world was them. They were my world. It’s just the first few minutes, and then the thought that they are gone comes rushing back to me, and the pain comes back.”

Cody Heidenreich, 22, of Maplewood, was killed in a car crash Sunday morning on Interstate 694 in Oakdale after his vehicle, which was stopped in the middle of the freeway, was rear-ended by another vehicle.

Fifteen days earlier, his sister, Ashley Terwedow, 31, died in her sleep in her townhouse in Maplewood. The cause of death has not yet been determined, but Ashley Terwedow previously had blood clots in her lungs, Shea Terwedow said.

The funeral for Ashley, which was supposed to have been held on Tuesday afternoon, has been postponed, and Terwedow is now trying to plan a double funeral for two of her three children, write Heidenreich’s obituary – and comprehend what happened.

Stopped in center lane

Heidenreich was killed in a collision that occurred at 5:55 a.m. Sunday on I-694 just south of 10th Street. He was traveling south on I-694 in a white 2009 Nissan Cube when the vehicle stopped in the center lane just south of 10th Street and was struck by a 2009 Cadillac Escalade, according to Minnesota State Patrol.

The Nissan was pushed into a ditch on the west side of the interstate and hit a light pole, according to the State Patrol.

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Heidenreich’s passenger, Nachele Avis Stonecalf Kanuho, 22, of Cottage Grove, was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul for treatment. She was not wearing a seat belt, according to the State Patrol.

The driver of the Cadillac Escalade, a 52-year-old St. Paul man, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of driving after cancellation, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the crash, according to the State Patrol.

The crash remains under investigation and no one had been charged as of Wednesday, officials said.

“It’s not clear why the vehicle was stopped in the lane of traffic,” State Patrol Lt. Jill Frankfurth said Tuesday. “Part of the investigation is to determine why it was stopped.”

Advancing in new job

Heidenreich attended North St. Paul High School and got his GED last year. He was working at Caliber Collision in Eagan, and had recently been accepted into the company’s Protech apprenticeship program.

“He loved working at Caliber,” she said. “It was a really good-paying job. He liked even better that he was going to be starting the apprenticeship program and getting into a job that he had his eye on ever since he started working there.”

After his death, Terwedow learned that he planned to start taking classes at Century College in White Bear Lake. “I got an email asking me to finish his FAFSA application,” she said, referring to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. “By that time he was gone.”

Heidenreich loved PC gaming and had built his own personal computer for gaming, she said. He also loved working out, and “stealing the last of my caramel pecan rolls,” she said. “He loved sweets.”

“He also loved his family,” she said. “He would have been a great dad. He was holding his cousin’s baby on Saturday night, and the baby fell asleep on his chest. Everybody just kept saying what a great dad he would be.”

Terwedow believes her son was driving Kanuho home to Cottage Grove when the car inexplicably stopped on I-694.

“He was such a safe driver,” she said. “I’m not trying to blame anybody because I don’t know what happened. We don’t know the exact cause of this. Right now I’m just trying to grieve and bury my son and daughter the best that I can, but it really would be nice to have answers.”

Mother of two

Ashley Terwedow, who worked as a certified-nursing assistant in Shoreview, was the mother of two children: Jayden Hurt, 12, and Aleah Hurt, 6.

Ashley Terwedow, 31, shown with her two children Jayden and Aleah Hurt. (Courtesy of Shea Terwedow)

“She was a beautifully tenacious, strong, and vibrant woman,” Shea Terwedow wrote in her daughter’s obituary. “She was full of life and spiritually reserved. She enjoyed playing scratch-offs, cold coffee and being with her friends just talking and texting. Above all else, she was a wonderful mother to her two children.”

Friends and family have set up a GoFundMe online fundraiser for Shea Terwedow and Keith Terwedow, her surviving son, to help cover funeral expenses and other costs.

“No words can adequately express the depth of her grief and the heaviness of her heart,” the fundraiser states. “(They) are grappling with overwhelming sorrow and struggling to comprehend the inexplicable loss of two of their loved ones.”

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