John was killed by a repeat drunk driver. John was a back-seat passenger in a car that was stopped for a traffic light on 31st street in Ogden when a drunk driver slammed into the rear of their car with his pickup truck. It was estimated the truck was going at least 63 mph at impact. John was killed instantly. The drunk driver never stopped and left the scene of the accident. Witnesses followed him to a home where police found him. A blood test showed he had a blood alcohol level of 0.17, more than twice Utah’s legal limit. The drunk driver was driving on an alcohol-restricted license from an arrest for drunk driving in August 2005, and two other alcohol-related incidences. On June 19, 2008 he was sentenced up to 15 years.
As a mother and as a victim, it is difficult to try to put into words the emotions and pain that this drunk driver has put our family through. There is no greater impact on a family than the loss of a child. We loved John and in an instant he was taken from us. Each and every day I relive that night. You can’t believe the pain that shoots through you when a highway patrol officer knocks on your door in the middle of the night and tells you there has been a horrible accident and your child was killed. Our John died instantly in what was left of a metal wreck that was once a Mercury Sable.
Since his death the healing process has been slow. All of us find it hard to concentrate on much of anything. Some days everything is fine and on others we fall backward, reliving that horrible night over and over. We will always have to live with the horror of that crash, but we are asking in our John’s name for our society to realize that this was not an accident; it was a totally avoidable crime. Our John’s death should not have to be in vain. No other family should have to experience the pain and heartache we are now living with, each and every day without John.
I’m hanging in there. I just try not to break down every time someone mentions the accident or John’s name. I have to be strong for his brothers Milton and Nicholas. I’m so glad that his Grandpa, Grandma, and Uncle Mike had the opportunity to see him briefly that day before he was taken from us. It feels like it was just yesterday and I still remember everything that I said to John the evening I dropped him and Milton off over at their friend Carson’s house. As John was getting out of the car I told him, “John, pull your pants up. Nobody wants to see your underwear.” He answered, “Okay, Mother,” while looking at me with that smirk on his face. Then I remember saying, “You guys please be careful. I love you.” Simultaneously, they both said, “Love you too, Mother,” as John closed the car door and they walked up the driveway. I would never have thought that would be the last time I would ever see John and hear him call me “Mother” again. It hurts so bad to know I will never have the opportunity to hug him, touch him, hear his voice, see his face, or be able to stand next to my big six-foot-four baby boy again.
When I look in on Milton playing Playstation, it’s John I see. When Nicholas looks at me that certain way, it’s John I see. When they hug me, it’s John I feel. When Milton wrestles Nicholas to the ground, I hear John yelling for his Mom to help him. I see and feel a part of him in both Milton and Nicholas everyday and as strange as it may seem, it’s comforting. I know that he will always be with us.
John’s death is the hardest thing to accept in this world and hopefully someday I’ll learn to accept it. He will always be alive in our memories and in our hearts. We miss you so much John!