A Lower Burrell woman died earlier this week of injuries she suffered in a car accident in Tennessee on July 1 while on a church mission.
Erin Jedlowski, 23, died on Sunday from injuries she suffered when she was thrown from a vehicle in the accident on Interstate 81 near Jefferson City, Tenn.
Jedlowski was a 2007 graduate of Burrell High School, and was director of missions and youth for the First United Methodist Church in Waynesburg.
She was on her way to Slidell, La., with six others to take part in the Epworth Summer Project, which is dedicated to helping rebuild the greater New Orleans area affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“At the time she seemed to know exactly what it was that she wanted to do with her life and she pursued mission trips through college and then she was fortunate to life her dream and she was hired full-time as the youth director at Waynesburg United Methodist Church,” said Joan Negley, a family friend of Jedlowski’s.
According to investigators, just before 5 a.m., the van may have struck something lying on the road, causing the front and rear passenger side tires to blow nearly simultaneously. The van rolled over three times, police said.
Jedlowski, who had been the missions and youth director for exactly one year on the day of the crash, was hospitalized in Jefferson County, Tenn. She was in a coma for two weeks and was pronounced dead Sunday.
Everyone else suffered "bumps and bruises" and came home on Monday, said Linda Rieder, administrative assistant at First United Methodist Church.
"She was loved by everyone here," Rieder said. "She was just a great, wonderful young lady."
Jedlowski’s close friend Melissa Baronie said Jedlowski devoted much of her life to helping others.
“Everybody’s having a hard time. It’s a shock because she’s done everything right in her life,” Baronie said. “I’d asked her to be in my wedding and she was so excited and having her a part of it was one of the best memories. I’m glad I was able to have her as a part of my wedding and for us to enjoy that together. We will miss her greatly.”
A viewing for Jedlowski is being held Thursday night and her funeral is Friday.
The Bethel United Methodist Church in Lower Burrell is taking donations for a scholarship in Jedlowski’s name.