BURLINGTON, N.C. — Brian "Casey" Riggans and his wife, Megan Riggans, were looking forward to the birth of their first child when the unthinkable happened.
Megan, 22, went into labor Sunday night, so the couple got into their car and headed to the hospital from their home in Staley.
As they drove along Greensboro-Chapel Hill Road, their car hydroplaned on the rain-soaked roadway, veered off the pavement and struck a tree.
Megan was rushed to Alamance Regional Medical Center, where doctors delivered her baby boy. But Megan died before she could ever hold him in her arms.
Her husband suffered face and back injuries in the crash, and is scheduled for surgery Thursday.
"Bad things happen to people every day," said Randy Lewis, Megan's uncle. "And we just happened to be the one that it happened to."
Lewis, who never had children, said Megan was like a daughter to him. His dairy farm was her refuge – and her passion.
"From the time she was a baby, she's been running around here feeding calves, playing with cows," he said. "As she got older, she started showing cows."
Megan was a farm girl from head to toe, her uncle said. She was involved in 4-H and Future Farmers of America.
"She never wore shoes," Lewis said. "I've dug rocks out of her feet."
Now the farm feels different and quiet without Megan running around, doing chores.
Now, neighbors and friends are showing up, ready to work so that Lewis can have some time to go to the hospital.
"You never know what people think of you 'til something happens like this," Lewis said. "It's our tribute to the community and to Megan at how much people care."
He says the family is thankful that Casey is alive, and that little Will – named after Megan's late grandfather – is fighting to stay alive. The baby was a high-risk pregnancy before the accident.
"We could as easily been planning three funerals instead of one," Lewis said. "But the fact that this little boy even got cranked up and going in life, to me, is a miracle."
The family has set up a fund to help with medical expenses and care. Donations can be made by at any BB&T bank branch to the Brian Casey Riggans Trust. Donations also may be mailed to the Brian Casey Riggans Trust, BB&T, P.O. Box 749, Siler City, NC 27344.