LONDON, Ohio — Hearts were heavy in London on Monday as the community remembered a beloved pregnant mother of four and volleyball coach who died in a crash Saturday morning.
Jessica Ernst would have turned 35 on Monday and community members say her legacy lives on in the thousands of lives she touched.
“She said God kept blessing her with boys and the volleyball girls were the girls she didn't have at home so she treated them as a coach first but I think she definitely she loved them like her own kids,” shares Erin Cremeens, a London Elite Volleyball Club parent.
Jessica’s family say she coached alongside her mother Ruth for over 12 years and had a special way of communicating with the young athletes at the junior Olympic club.
“My daughter, so my daughter was good at volleyball, right? But Jessica made her great,” shares parent Amy Craft, who says Jessica would use creative ways to teach the girls, like blindfolding them and having them find their positions by heart. The parents explain it was amazing seeing Jessica train the girls like “a well-oiled machine.”
“It's just amazing because she could speak to my daughter better than I could,” says parent and assistant coach Amy Stout.
Saturday morning, a devastating car crash took Jessica’s life. The Ohio State Highway Patrol said an 18-year-old driver ran a stop sign, hitting the pregnant woman’s car. Jessica was ejected from the car.
Doctors delivered the baby before Jessica died, and the baby remains in critical condition.
The family says they are thankful for everyone’s prayers and support during this time.
“I think at a young age, Jessica found her purpose. Her purpose was to coach and mentor and teach the love of the game of volleyball. And I think that she can rest eternally knowing that she fulfilled her purpose,” Cremeens said.