'She's here and they're not': Teen survivor struggling with guilt after fatal crash

The parents of 17-year-old Sommer Foley say their daughter is struggling not only to recover from the serious physical injuries she sustained in a car crash Sunday, but also with the guilt of surviving when two close friends did not.

Sommer Foley, 17, suffered serious injuries in crash that killed 2 friends

Cherie Dillon-Foley and Jeff Foley say their daughter, Sommer, 'feels guilty that she's still alive.' 1:34

Hours before a horrific car crash claimed the lives of her two best friends Sunday night, Sommer Foley's parents told the 17-year-old to have fun swimming at a local quarry, but be home by 10 p.m.

Instead, the Stittsville teen was rushed to hospital, where she remains with serious injuries to her neck, arm and back, which was torn open in the crash. 

"She's hanging in there, and every day she gets a little bit better," said Cherie Dillon-Foley, who also said the grief of losing her friends has changed her daughter forever.

"She's feeling guilty. She's here and they're not." 

Michaela Martel and Maddie Clement were also in the car heading home from the quarry that night when the driver apparently lost control, swerving off the road and into trees. 

Michaela Martel, left, and Maddie Clement, right, died in the crash. (Facebook)

'She remembers every last thing'

Her friends died in the crash. Foley not only survived — she never lost consciousness throughout the ordeal. 

Police haven't said who was driving the car at the time of the crash, and Foley's parents said they're unwilling to discuss certain details because of the police investigation.

However Foley told her parents she was sitting behind the driver, and the force of the crash propelled her into the front seat and partly through the driver's side window. 

Dillon-Foley said her daughter was hanging upside down from the window when emergency crews arrived. 

"She remembers every last thing. Her girlfriend, Maddie, the last thing she said was, 'I love you guys,'" said Dillon-Foley through tears, while her husband stroked her back.

"Every time she closes her eyes, she just keeps thinking of them. It's a big nightmare for her."

The three teens spent a lot of time together, Dillon-Folley explained. That Sunday she'd taken Maddie and her daughter shopping. 

Cherie Dillon-Foley and Jeff Foley say their daughter, Sommer Foley, is struggling with not only her physical injuries, but also with the guilt of surviving when her friends didn't. (CBC)

Teen faces long road to recovery

Earlier this week, Sommer Foley underwent surgery to repair the damage to her back, which was full of broken glass, gravel and other debris from the crash. 

Later Wednesday or Thursday, the teen is expecting to have surgery on her arm. 

"It's shattered," her father Jeff Foley said. "They're putting plates in to hold everything together." 

Despite the severe damage to his daughter's body, Foley said doctors expect she'll be able to walk with the help of physiotherapy. 

An Ottawa police cruiser guards the scene of the crash on Fernbank Road. (Stephane Beaudoin/CBC)

The more difficult challenge will be psychological, says Dillon-Foley. 

"She's going to need counselling. She feels guilty that she's still alive." 

Parents focus on future, not crash

A few doors down from Sommer Foley's room lies the 18-year-old man who was also in the car that night, Jeff Foley said.

Both of the teens have provided statements to police, who continue to investigate the crash, but the Foleys don't want to dwell on what caused this tragedy. 

"It was an accident," said Dillon-Foley. "That's all it was." 

On the evening of the crash, Sommer Foley had been hanging out with friends at a quarry on Jinkinson Road in west Ottawa. (CBC)

Partying at the quarry owned by Thomas Cavanagh Construction on Jinkinson Road has been described as a popular pastime for Stittsville teens, and Foley's parents don't blame that tradition.

Jeff Foley is more concerned about how the rampant speculation on social media might be affecting the families of the teens involved in the crash.. 

"That's all got to stop," he said. "Everybody gets twisted and confused … it's garbage."