EYOTA, Minn. (KTTC) -- Two weeks ago, the Schultz family of Eyota was celebrating the birth of their first child. Cheyanne Marie Schultz was born on October 11th.
Her mother, Kimberly Schultz, and father, Dustin Schultz had just celebrated their one year wedding anniversary in September.
"Dusty was a big kid in a little kid's body," says wife Kimberly. "That's what he was. He knew when he needed to be serious, but that little kid wasn't too far behind."
On their way home from Rochester Methodist Hospital on October 14th tragedy struck. While Kim, her mother, Laury Mcallister, and newborn Cheyanne slept in the car, Dustin crossed the center line. According to the family, all passengers had fastened seatbelts.
"Dustin was overly protective of everyone, he wouldn't even start the car until everyone had their seatbelts on," says Kim's cousin, Paula Ellefson. "He was just a safe cautious driver."
Dustin Schultz was only 32 when he was killed in the car accident.
That's all this fun loving, charismatic, young father had with his baby girl.
"Even in the three days they had together, he was so proud of her," says Kim. "He was so proud of her. She was his world."
One of his first duties as a dad was to buy his baby girl a stuffed animal. According to Kim, Dustin said he wanted to be the first person to ever gift Cheyanne with a stuffed animal. So while Kim and Cheyanne were resting at the hospital, Dustin visited the hospital's gift shop and bought "daddy's princess" a stuffed, pink, elephant. Later, Kim took a picture of baby Cheyanne resting on Dustin's chest--the last picture the father and daughter would ever have together.
"Now I just hope she has his sense of humor and personality," says Kim. "If she has that, her life will be golden."
Still, reminders of Dustin are never far away. Kim says she was driving home recently when her wedding song-a Keith Urban ballad-came on the radio. She says she had to pull over to catch her breath.
"First time I heard that song from our first dance at the wedding-it was hard and I kept saying, "why aren't you in the seat next to me?" says Kim.
Though Kim says it's hard without Cheyanne's Dad sitting in the seat next to her, she says the support she's been shown from family, friends and strangers has been enough to get her through. Immediately following the crash, many churches, community members and strangers reached out to the family.
The family has worked with Home Federal Bank to set up account to help with sudden expenses. You can make a donation at any Home Federal branch for the "Dustin Schultz Memorial Fund."
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