FARGO — Before a Sanford medical team brought him to an operating room for a transplant, Jason Devine's mother was able to hear his heart beat one last time.
Jason's mother, Kristin Sande, says after he was killed last week in a south Fargo car crash her son's heart lives on in a 3-year-old girl who is alive because of his gift. Jason would have wanted to donate his organs, she said.
"It wasn't my choice, it was his choice," Sande said. "I could hear him: 'mama, I don't need them. Give them to somebody else.' "
The 7-year-old Jason and his brother, 5-year-old Branden Devine, were severely injured in a two-vehicle crash on March 23. Branden survived but remains in critical condition.
The boys' father, 31-year-old Christopher Devine, is charged with one felony count of criminal vehicular homicide and two felony counts of criminal vehicular injury, and his being held on $500,000 bail, cash only. His blood-alcohol level was allegedly three times more than the legal limit of .08.
A preliminary report showed Devine’s vehicle was going about 74 mph four seconds before the crash and about 59 mph one second before the crash, according to court documents. The speed limit on the stretch of University Drive South where the crash happened is 35 mph.
A GoFundMe account created by a family friend has raised more than $17,000 to cover funeral and medical expenses for the boys and a Facebook fundraiser is gathering money to purchase "Donate Life" T-shirts for the family and others, with Jason's name on the back.
Sande described Jason as a "superhero without a cape" and a kind soul. She is using the tragedy as an opportunity to promote organ donation.
"If you're not a donor be a donor," she said. "You don't realize how much you can impact a person, how much you can impact a family."
Sande now spends her days at Sanford Medical Center near son Branden's side. On Monday night the boy remained in critical condition, nine days after the crash. Sande wears a necklace with Jason's picture and holds it next to Branden, knowing how close the two were.
“These boys loved each other more than anything,” said family friend Tessa Wilson the Monday following the crash.
Around 20 people die waiting for a transplant each day in the United States, according to the American Transplant Foundation.
LifeSource, a regional organ and tissue procurement nonprofit, estimates that 3,300 are waiting for a transplant in the Dakotas and Minnesota.