Tennessee mother gifted special memory of son’s life, 15 years after his death

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COVER PHOTO_Sevierville mother remembers son in car he built_0527_1559013274799.JPG-727168854.jpg

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Sevierville mother was gifted with a special memory of her son’s life, after losing him suddenly fifteen years ago.

Jayme Espinoza passed away in 2004 when he was 18 years old. He suffered from cardiac arrest while he was running at school. 

Jayme’s mom and family were just given the car he made on a Discovery Channel television show called “Monster Garage” hosted by Jesse James. 

It was Jayme’s passion, and his episode aired three days before he passed away.

Jayme was a good kid and a talented artist, his mom said, and the epitome of health, when he passed away at 18 after going into cardiac arrest. 

“Unbeknownst to everybody, they didn’t have a defibrillator in the school, so all they could do was CPR until the ambulance got there, and they weren’t able to save him,” said his mom Marchetta Tench. 

His death came just a few days after his episode of “Monster Garage” with Jesse James aired. Jayme idolized the host, spending much of his time at Jesse’s motorcycle shop. Filming the show meant everything.

“I just remember the phone calls every day in between shoots and telling me everything that was going on. And he was so excited. It was his life. He was at the prime of his happiness being able to do that,” Tench said. 

A miracle she says, coming fifteen years later now. Jayme’s family was gifted the car their son built on that TV show.

It’s now sitting at their Sevierville home. 

“It’s exactly like it was on the show, nothing has changed,” Tench said. 

His mom is excited and in disbelief – able to touch something again her late son touched, too.

“I found myself this morning looking out the kitchen window at it for the first time and just saying, ‘Hi Jayme.’ And I feel like every time I see it, that’s what I’ll say.”

Tench has got big plans for the dune buggy. She’s planning to use it to share her son’s story and legacy and spread awareness about cardiac arrest. 

“I’m going to create a non-profit, and I’m going to take it out and put it in parades and places where people will let me show it, and tell Jayme’s story, and educate and tell parents there is nothing more precious on this planet than your child,” she said. 

Tench is also passing along this message: get your child’s heart checked, whether you think it’s a slim chance or no chance that something is wrong. Doing so, she says could save their life.

Since his death, Jayme’s family has donated defibrillators to different area schools, including Jayme’s middle school. 

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