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Nurse who helped victims in Provo fatal crash, ‘I’ll always think of that little girl when I look at my son’

PROVO, Utah – It’s her job as a nurse that made her stop, but it’s her job as a mother that will be now changed forever.

A woman who stopped to help the victims at the scene of a tragic accident in Provo is talking about the emotional experience.

The accident happened on Sunday afternoon, just before 5 p.m. at the intersection of University Avenue.

Provo police say a 38-year-old man driving a Pleasant Grove utility truck plowed into three cars stopped in a left-turn lane. They say he was going 50 mph and never hit the brakes. Police say his truck traveled 69 feet after hitting the stopped cars.

A family of four was in the last car. The impact killed 3-year-old Chelsea Parkinson. Her mother and 8-month-old sister were taken to the hospital in critical but stable condition. The father was also hurt.

Heather Milburn was one of the first people at the scene. She is a registered nurse and knew she should stop to help.

“I was driving by and I noticed there were no first responders,” said Milburn. “I just thought, I’m a nurse, I’m supposed to pull over and try to help.”

Milburn asked some bystanders to watch her 1-year-old son in the backseat of her own car, while she ran to help the victims. She said the car was almost unrecognizable.

“The mom was slumped over…and I saw a little hand,” said Milburn, unable to hold back tears.

Milburn immediately went to the aid of the woman in the passenger seat. She stabilized her neck and tried to communicate with her.

But there was nothing she could do for her 3-year-old daughter in the backseat.

“I looked at the girl and I knew. And a nice man came up as I was checking the girl’s pulse and he said, ‘What do you feel?’ And I said, ‘I don’t feel anything,’” said Milburn. “He said, ‘But she’s warm’ and I said, ‘She’s gone.’”

Police are now reconstructing the crash and are looking at potential criminal charges.

They won’t say yet why the driver didn’t stop, but Milburn saw him after the crash and believes he may have been distracted.

She has this message. “Pay attention to what you’re doing in the car because you can take a life in a second,” Milburn said.

She’s also grateful for her own family and will always remember the young family who wasn’t as fortunate.

“I’ll always think of that little girl when I look at my son,” said Milburn. “And I just came home and cried and played with my kid and thought I’m so lucky to have him here and safe.”

Related: Provo Police: 3-year-old dead, 8-month-old injured in a 4-vehicle crash

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