Two days ago was my son’s birthday. He would have been 28 years old. Instead,
due to a series of not only poor, but illegal choices by a teenager, Daniel
died on Mother’s Day at the age of 25.
This teenager, just home from his first year of college, took his
mother’s car keys and drove to a graduation party. His first wrong and illegal
choice was to drink at that party as he was underage. Second he decided after
drinking all night to drive his friends to yet another party.
He was driving recklessly and speeding nearly double the posted speed
though a residential street. All three boys deny seeing my son as he crossed
the lighted street at a crosswalk.
Daniel’s body was thrown 135 feet from where he was hit. His left leg
below the knee was traumatically amputated and was 185 feet from Daniel’s body.
He died immediately.
The final wrong choice the driver made was to keep going after hitting
Daniel. Leaving the scene of an accident is not only wrong, it’s a felony! The
driver received a seven-year sentence. The driver, two other boys in the car,
and the owners of the home where the alcohol was served are all being sued civilly
for Daniel’s wrongful death.
I repeatedly warn my other children (even though they are adults)
about walking near a street and crossing the street. You can never assume what
the drivers of the cars will do. Do not take for granted they will stop or obey
any other laws. Assume the worse from all drivers and take appropriate defensive
Be aware of your surroundings at all times and take every precaution
for your own safety - your life may depend on it.
Even though we know Daniel was not at fault, we want to prevent any
other family from going through the deepest of pain as we have. Not a day goes
by that his family doesn’t pray Daniel was still with us.
Kelly Riemann is a member of Mothers Against
Drunk Drivers (MADD).