'One foot in front of the other': Months after double-fatal crash, Guelph family focusing on the future

In a split second on January 31, 2021, the Lodge family was ripped apart.

Susan Lodge was driving her three children home after an afternoon of cross country skiing when a horrific crash in North Dumfries took the lives of two of them.

Amanda, 10, and Evan, 12, both died.

Alyssa, 9, along with mother Susan, survived.

"Amanda was 10 when she passed away, 10-and-a-half," Susan said while looking at photos of her children. "Evan, he was 12-and-a-half. They were just about to grow up. You know, they were measuring themselves every few weeks and even when we thought, 'it’s only been a couple of weeks, how could you possibly be taller?' But they were every time."

Thursday, Waterloo regional police announced charges against the driver of a Toyota RAV4 involved in the collision, including two counts of dangerous operation of a conveyance causing death. At the time of the crash, police said that driver was a 17-year-old male from Cambridge.

Police say Susan's van was struck by the Toyota at Spragues Road and Shouldice Side Road. Another vehicle, a Land Rover, then collided with the van and Toyota.

On February 2, the Lodge family wrote in their online journal: "Amanda had a pulse when Susi climbed to her but soon after her little heart stopped and it was about 20 minutes until she was resuscitated by paramedics."

Now, as the Guelph family continues to try to focus on the future, Susan says reminders of her loving children are everywhere.

"Every place holds a memory and they are memories that we made with the five of us and now there's only three," she said.

The family van has been in the custody of Waterloo regional police since the collision nearly six months ago.

Recently, the Lodges were able to see their van and the aftermath.

"We took Alyssa along, she decided she wanted to go and her therapist said that was okay. It helped us to realize how close we came to losing all three of our children and I have to count the blessings that I have and I have to go on for her," Susan said.

"It's a wonder anyone got out of it when you just see how catastrophic the damage was," Gregson Lodge said.

The couple is now facing a possible future of court proceedings and reminders of the tragedy.

"I am making a conscious choice to continue and put one foot in front of the other and I have to for Alyssa," Susan said.

Alyssa too has begun a path toward healing. She recently raised thousands for McMaster hospital, the place that cared for her after the crash.

For now, the family says they are thankful for the outpouring of community support.

"There's not much that makes things easier, but it is helpful to know that those people are there," Susan said.