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Kiersten Smith died earlier this month after a thunderstorm sent a construction crane onto her and her fiancé's apartment

By Char Adams
June 20, 2019 12:52 PM
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Eric Ridenhour Kiersten
Credit: GoFundMe

Kiersten Smith and Eric Ridenhour were preparing to become husband and wife.

The Texas couple were enjoying a casual Sunday in their Dallas apartment on June 9, looking forward to their wedding just three months away. But their love story was cut short when a high-wind thunderstorm sent a construction crane onto their apartment complex, killing 29-year-old Smith.

“Everything kind of just went dark. I don’t remember hearing a sound,” Ridenhour, 29, told ABC News. “It happened so fast, and the first words out my mouth were my fiancée’s name. I don’t know how many times I said her name. I screamed her name and I could not find her.”

Just a few steps away from Smith, Ridenhour was making grilled cheese sandwiches when the crane toppled onto the five-story Elan City Lights residential building, he told ABC. She was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Dallas crane death
Crane collapses onto Dallas apartment complex

“She makes it hard to grieve. When I look back on my memories, all I can do is smile. I guess that’s a blessing and a curse,” Ridenhour told ABC, calling Smith “a beautiful, caring person.” “Time is really precious. In a split second, everything that you love can be gone.”

He added: “I would do anything to have a moment with Kiersten, to tell her I love her. I feel if someone is at fault, they need to be held accountable.”

The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Smith’s death an accident, resulting from a blunt force trauma head injury, ABC affiliate WFAA reported. Five people were injured and hospitalized, but are expected to be okay, according to both ABC and WFAA.

Eric Ridenhour
Eric Ridenhour
| Credit: ABC News

The crash resulted after heavy storms moved through the area that afternoon, bringing winds up to 70 mph, according to WFAA. Debris was strewn across the city and a billboard and Dallas Love Field Airport hangar roof were damaged.

Smith’s family mourned her death in a statement.

“Kiersten’s death is unbelievable, shocking and unnecessary,” the statement read, according to WFAA.

She was a Southern New Hampshire University graduate and worked at Tenet Healthcare, according to the statement.

The crane is owned by Bigge Crane and Rigging Co. in California, and officials with the company said they would cooperate with any investigation.

Kiersten Smith
Kiersten Smith

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who were killed and injured, and to those that suffered property damage,” spokesperson Randy Smith told WFAA. “We are mobilizing personnel to the site to find out more.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Ridenhour in the wake of the accident. The fundraiser surpassed its $5,000 goal, raising $8,157. Ridenhour wrote on the page that he is grateful for the support.

“Thank you so much for empowering me to pick up the pieces and start building the life again that Kiersten and I had aspirations for,” he wrote. “She was my partner for life, my ride or die, and although she isn’t with us- I know she is as moved as I am.”