When Jenn Siemens was running late to her job at Next Millennium Mystical Books and Gifts, store owner Cindy Odorizzi knew something was wrong.
Odorizzi panicked as the minutes ticked by and the phone didn’t ring Friday afternoon. It wasn’t like Siemens to be stuck in traffic and not give the store a call.
And after what seemed like an eternity, the store got a call from Siemens’ mother. Jenn Siemens had been in a serious car crash, and the outlook wasn’t good.
The 28-year-old Bellevue woman died Saturday from the injuries she suffered when a stolen pickup truck caused a four-vehicle wreck Friday near the intersection of Saddle Creek Road and Leavenworth Street.
Sgt. Joe Collins, an Omaha police spokesman, said Siemens died about 4:10 p.m. Saturday at the Nebraska Medical Center. Her death was announced Sunday, after the completion of organ donations.
“It just blew us away,” Odorizzi said. “This just doesn’t seem real.”
Siemens worked at Next Millennium for six years. In her position as shipping manager, she was well-liked by everybody at the store and was easy to get along with, Odorizzi said.
“She was like a daughter to me. She was always just such a happy person. She was brilliant and smart and efficient. I loved having her around.”
Collins said the man accused of driving the pickup, Jefferson D. Potter, 28, of Lincoln, has been charged with manslaughter. Officers originally arrested Potter on suspicion of auto theft, carrying an unregistered .38-caliber handgun, leaving the scene of an accident and other offenses.
The pickup was stolen near 33rd and Arbor Streets about 10 minutes before the crash, Omaha police said. The truck was pulling a trailer loaded with two riding lawn mowers, a push mower, a weed trimmer and a leaf blower.
Siemens was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her boyfriend of several years, 28-year-old Ryan M. Ashburn of Omaha. Ashburn had a head injury and abdominal pain, and he was listed in fair condition at the Nebraska Medical Center.
Odorizzi described the two as like “a little old married couple.” They were planning on moving into a new apartment together the day after the crash.
Potter was not injured and was taken to the Douglas County Jail. He also was booked on suspicion of a parole violation, carrying a concealed weapon and other offenses.
Siemens’ parents declined to comment.
Contact the writer: