It was snowing, and their 16-year-old daughter was out on the road. So Kevin and Jane Laumbattus set out to find her.
They did - only to see her killed in a fiery wreck as her car slid into the path of a pickup truck. She had been driving for only a month.
“It happened so quickly, I still don’t understand it,” her father said.
Amanda, her cousin Emily Canning and a friend, Laura Singenstreu, had set out Feb. 7 for the Wal-Mart in Sparta to buy a gift. After it began snowing, her parents started worrying about her lack of experience behind the wheel.
So they headed that way. “It was snowing like crazy,” Laumbattus said.
A few miles later, they realized they were right behind Amanda. Within seconds, the pickup and Amanda’s car had collided.
Laumbattus - a volunteer firefighter - found himself pulling the girls from the burning car.
“I’ve done this many times but never thought I’d have to do it with my own daughter,” he said. “It’s the hardest thing I ever did in my life, laying her body down.”
Two other men stopped to help, one of them breaking a window with his elbow to get Emily.
Amanda died at a hospital. Laura suffered a broken arm. Emily was not hurt. Both men in the pickup were seriously injured. They were in fair condition Thursday.
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