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Grieving widow thanks gamers for their support

The wife of a video game designer killed in a horrific car accident is saying "thank you" to all the gamers who have supported her and her unborn child during the darkest days of her life.

Erin Wood was married to Brian Wood, the 33-year-old lead designer of the forthcoming game "Company of Heroes Online." On Sept. 3, Brian was driving his wife — pregnant with their first child — to visit family on Whidbey Island, Wash., when an oncoming Chevy Blazer weaved wildly and then crashed into them.

Brian was killed instantly, but not before saving the life of his wife and child. Erin Wood told The Today Show that her husband saw the oncoming Blazer and swerved their vehicle to put himself — rather than his pregnant wife — in harm's way. (See video above.)

In a letter to gaming blog Kotaku.com, Erin Wood, 31, said she would like to thank all of the gamers who have supported her and her child, due to be born Nov. 5.

"My name is Erin Wood, and I wanted to send a request to please pass along my most sincere and heartfelt thanks to the gaming community for the overwhelming support provided to me in the past two weeks," she wrote in her letter.

"Brian always told me about how close-knit and wonderful the video game community was, but I had no idea until this tragedy just how special a group it really is," she continued. "From all the articles and comments, to the emails and donations, I am simply stunned and so touched by the love, kindness, and generosity shown to me and my family. As everyone knows, the last 10 days have been the most difficult, dark days of my life. But this journey has been eased tremendously by the thoughts, prayers, and well wishes received from friends, family, and strangers living all over the world … Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the compassion and support. It is so appreciated, and has been a light to me in this impossible situation."

To read the letter in its entirety, see Kotaku's post here.

According to police, the accident occurred when the driver of the other vehicle — Jordyn Weichert — was trying to take off her sweater while letting her front-seat passenger take the wheel. Washington state trooper Mark Francis told NBC News that the vehicle crossed over the center line while the driver and passenger "jerked the wheel, overreacted and overcompensated."

Two of four passengers in that car were killed when they were thrown from the vehicle. Police also found heroin, cocaine, marijuana and syringes in the vehicle, and a .25-caliber pistol was found on the body of one of the men killed.

Weichert has been charged with three counts of vehicular homicide and one count of vehicular assault.

Though doctors gave Erin and her unborn child a clean bill of health after the accident, Brian Wood's death has left his wife heartbroken.

"I really would give anything just to see Brian and hug him one more time," she told The Today Show.

Visit the Brian Wood Memorial Trust Web page to see how you can help.

Winda Benedetti writes the Citizen Gamer column for msnbc.com. You can follow her tweets about games and other things right here on Twitter.