New dad in legal limbo after fiancée killed in crash
PLANO, Texas - A baby girl who was born after a violent, deadly crash in Collin County will never get to know her mother. And right now, she doesn't even have a name on her birth certificate.
Heather Trimble was eight months pregnant when she was killed in a crash on June 6. It took her parents' lives immediately. She gave birth to a little girl shortly before she died in the hospital. And the man who says he was set to marry Trimble says he's stuck in legal limbo, unsure what the future holds.
There are Collin County deputies who call it the worst crash they've ever worked. Five vehicles collided on Highway 121 near Anna that day. A total of five people were killed, three of them were family.
Julie and Wayne Trimble of Ivanhoe died at the scene. Their daughter, Heather, a 24-year-old nurse in Frisco, was eight months pregnant at the time and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
Doctors delivered Heather's baby a month before her due date. James Gardner says he was her fiancé and the father of that baby. He was at her side.
"When I went to Heather's bedside, it was nothing but sorrow and pain,” he recalled. “And then when I went to the nursery, it was joy and happiness."
Eight days later, Heather died from her injuries without ever getting to meet her baby. She planned to name her Hadley.
But somehow, when things couldn’t get worse for Gardner, they did.
"I just lost my future mother- and father-in-law and the woman I loved and was going to marry and spend my life with,” he said. “I just lost all them, and I can't even grieve."
Gardner found out Heather was still legally married to a man she left three years ago. Although Gardner says the baby is legally his, Hadley does not have a parent. In fact, she can't even be given the name Heather wanted.
"On the birth certificate, her name is November BG for baby girl,” Gardner explained. “And there is no father or mother."
Gardner says her estranged husband signed power of attorney over to him, but his rights remain minimal.
"I wake up. I file paperwork. I make calls to the hospitals, lawyers and caseworkers,” he said. “Heather has passed away. What do you want me to do? She can't sign your documents now. It's just mind boggling to think anyone would have to deal with this on top of the crash."
Heather also has a 4-year-old daughter, Matilda, who was injured in that crash. That child is from her marriage and is being taken care of by her father.
Heather and her parents will be buried together Thursday.
Hadley is expected to be released from the hospital on Wednesday. Gardner believes he can take her home because he has been given power of attorney.