MACHIAS, N.Y. (WIVB) — The mother of 15-year-old Cole Delude is speaking out after her son was critically injured in a Saturday night crash in the Town of Machias.

Heather Jerge Delude told News 4 that Cole is still fighting for his life at Erie County Medical Center and has a long road ahead of him. This single mother of two says she’s trying to hold it all together in the face of a tragic accident.

“All I can say is remember to tell your kids that you love them every day,” Jerge Delude said.

Jerge Delude said her son Cole is an outdoorsman who spends his days hunting, fishing and dirt biking. The 15-year-old is a BOCES student with ambitions of becoming a diesel technician.

But, his life changed in an instant when the vehicle he and six other teens were traveling in veered off the road and crashed into a tree. The crash happened near the intersection of Roszyk Hill and North Sisson Roads Saturday night in the Town of Machias.

“I would have told him he should have thought twice,” she said. “They wanted to go at first and then they didn’t and then him and Julia decided to go. I think they should have stuck with the not going part.”

The crash killed 17-year-old Julia Horton, Cole’s girlfriend.

Heather says the two had plans to get married when they turned 18.

“That’s the part I get emotional on, is trying to tell your 15-year-old son that the love of his life basically died in his arms that night. That’s going to be the hardest part,” said Jerge Delude.

Cole is sedated but heather says he’s able to move and the swelling in his brain is down. Once he fights off an infection, he’ll need to undergo face and neck surgery.

“Basically, with this, it is going to be an extremely long road. He’s got a lot of surgeries to go through, so. he’s a fighter though, he is fighting it.”

Heather tells me she resigned from her new job because she can’t fulfill the hours needed while commuting to Buffalo to see Cole.

She set up a GoFundMe to help pay for Cole’s medical expenses.

If you’d like to donate, click here.

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Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.