James Majkut was at work a mile under Lake Erie’s waters Tuesday when he received word that his wife had been killed in a crash.
A miner with Cargill Salt, he was called to the surface by an emergency dispatch when Debra Majkut, 34, was struck by and trapped under a Toyota Camry that barreled through the wall of her Rt. 58 home in Amherst Township.
“My husband knew he had been paged but it wasn’t until hours later that he heard exactly what happened,” said Jessica Sanders, wife of a close friend and co-worker of the Majkut family whose husband, Keith, also works at Cargill.
Miners’ wives are a close-knit group — Sanders said they immediately took steps to help James and his three children, including infant Jaxon Majkut, who was also briefly pinned by the car until pulled free by neighbor Andrew Koviak.
The wives quickly set up the Debra Majkut Memorial account at www.gofundme.com/majkutmemorial, which by early Thursday had 54 pledges totaling $2,390.
Sanders said the money will help the young family with medical and funeral-related expenses.
“(Jaxon) was life-flighted and that alone is a $30,000 expense,” she said. “It doesn’t matter whether you have insurance or not, I can’t imagine those medical bills coming in and James is a single income now.”
Calling hours have been set for 2-4 and 6-9 p.m. this Sunday at Hempel Funeral Home, 373 Cleveland Ave., Amherst, where funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Monday.
Burial will follow at Ridge Hill Memorial Park, Amherst Township.
Debra Majkut was a 2000 graduate of Southview High School and an alumna of Remington College, where she was valedictorian of her class, according to her obituary. She had lived in Amherst Township six years and was employed as a medical assistant in North Olmsted.
In the meantime, Sanders said James and sons Jaxon and Jacob are staying with maternal relatives in Vermilion.
The crash rendered the house unlivable, it would seem, and no one would want to return there after the tragedy anyway, she said.
“They’re trying to surround each other with family for now. Obviously everybody is in shock,” she said.
“Anything that we can get James started on is of course beyond expectation. I’m always touched when people dip into their pockets to help out.”
A candlelight vigil is being arranged for 7-9 p.m. on Friday, July 31 at 8788 Rt. 58.The time has yet to be arranged.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.