Video: Preemie orphaned when parents die in crash

msnbc.com
updated 9/20/2010 7:18:03 AM ET 2010-09-20T11:18:03

Most would say premature baby Lucy Schollbach is lucky to have survived. Born 12 weeks early at an Australian hospital on Sept. 1, she weighed less than 3 pounds.

But a modern miracle turned to tragedy when a car crash killed her parents last week, Australia's The Sunday Telegraph reported.

Justin Schollbach, 42, and Leah James, 33, were driving home after visiting their daughter at Sydney's Royal Hospital for Women when their truck careened off the road and smashed into a light pole, according to the paper. 

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The crash, which happened a few minutes away from their home in Kurnell on Tuesday, split the vehicle in half, the paper said.

The couple made the hour-long journey to the hospital twice a day, the Telegraph said.  On their last visit, Schollbach cuddled his daughter and James fed her.

Lucy was Schollbach's first child, the newspaper reported. His father, Rob, told the paper that "Having Lucy changed Justin. It's the happiest I have seen him in his whole life. And now this has happened."

James has five others between the ages of 6 and 15, the report said.

"I'm happy to have all my brothers and sisters here, but it's sad that Mum can't come," James' son Stephen told the Telegraph at a family gathering on Saturday to celebrate his eighth birthday.

The boy's father, Andrew Loxton, told the newspaper that James was "always smiling like a Cheshire cat, so happy to be visiting her little baby girl."

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"I'd just like to see that smile again," he added.

Loxton provided a video to the Telegraph, showing Schollbach smiling while cradling his one-day-old daughter and James feeding her for the first time. The report said the couple named the baby Lucy Ronda Jones Schollbach after her paternal grandmother.

The Telegraph said doctors predict Lucy will stay in the hospital until November; she is under state care until authorities decide who will raise her. The newspaper said her uncle, Kurt Schollbach, was caring for her at the hospital.

Relatives are planning a funeral to be held next week.

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