Anna Escamilla was sleeping when she suddenly awoke and yelled out.
Escamilla doesn’t remember much, but her mom, Rachael Oerman, would tell the young woman that she had been agitated.
“I was really upset. I felt really antsy,” said Escamilla, who at first wasn’t sure why she was so uneasy.
It was 6:15 a.m. Thursday – the same time she’d later learn her husband, Blake, was in a fatal motorcycle accident.
The 24-year-old Fremont man was on his way home after working the night shift at Valmont Industries in Valley. He was westbound on his motorcycle, traveling along Old Highway 275, when an eastbound semitrailer attempted to make a left turn onto Nebraska Highway 36 and the collision occurred.
Anna Escamilla didn’t learn about the accident right away.
“I looked on Facebook and I saw that there was a wreck. Nobody knew who it was. I said, ‘Oh mom, there was a wreck on the old Highway, let’s pray for them.’ At the time, we didn’t know who we were praying for,” she said.
About 20 minutes later, Dylan Kaup, a groomsman in the Escamillas’ September wedding, messaged her asking if Blake was home from work.
Escamilla didn’t know. She and the couple’s 2-year-old daughter Harlow and Oerman were in a camper at a family reunion at Ponca.
Thursday was the first night Escamilla had been away from her spouse since she’d sustained multiple injuries in a near-fatal car accident on Oct. 28.
“I thought I was feeling antsy because it was my first day away from home,” she said.
Then a call came. Oerman got a strange look on her face.
“Was it Blake?” Escamilla asked.
“Mom, he’s OK, right?” she asked.
Oerman would have to break the news that Blake had died.
Escamilla said she remembers little after that.
On Friday morning, Escamilla shared heartfelt memories of her husband.
“He was my best friend. He was my everything,” she said. “He was an amazing guy. He was a great man, very caring. He was a family man. He did everything for us.”
The Escamillas met through mutual friends.
“I had a very big crush on Blake,” she said. “He was someone I thought would never even look at me. I thought, ‘This is the crush of my life.’”
They started dating, had their daughter and married on Sept. 10, 2016.
About a month later, Anna was headed home from her job at the Frontier Co-op in North Bend, when her Pontiac G6 hit the back of semi-trailer truck on U.S. Highway 30, west of Fremont.
A medical helicopter flew her to Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, where she spent 20 days and underwent multiple surgeries. A trauma team would tell the family that Anna had a close call.
An active woman, who’d been on the winter and summer swim teams at the Fremont Family YMCA, she’d been running up to 5 miles a day after the couple’s daughter was born.
She would come home in a wheelchair.
Family members took turns helping out.
And Blake was an attentive husband, who took care of his wife and daughter.
“I was in the hospital for a month,” she said. “They told me I should probably go to a rehab center and learn how to walk there, but I wanted to come home and he took on the job of being a nurse.”
At the same time, Blake worked nights at Valmont Industries, where he was employed almost six years.
Blake was a good father to Harlow, who will be 3 in November.
“He was an amazing father,” she said.
Harlow and her dad share similarities in looks and personality.
“She’s a spitfire just like her dad,” Escamilla said, adding, “At first, I was really upset that she didn’t look like me, but now I am more than blessed because now I still have a little bit of Blake.
“I don’t know how I’m going to tell her that he’s gone.”
Thinking of her husband, Escamilla takes comfort in one thing.
“He’s in heaven now with God and honestly that’s the best place you could be,” she said.
A YouCaring page has been set up online for people wanting to help the family.
Those who wish to donate may do so at: www.youcaring.com/annaharlowescamilla-882187.