This is Kevin’s story. It’s starts with a blurb by me and I have edited a little but this Dee’s words.
I’ll never forget seeing my husband’s name flash across the screen of my phone in the middle of the day- he was in Tallahassee for the legislative session and never called until the evening. He indirectly worked with Kevin’s mom so the news spread from Brevard County up to the capitol quickly.
“Kevin was killed by a drunk driver,” he said when I answered the phone.
It didn’t hit me at first and I remember telling him I needed to call Jerry. Kevin, Jerry and I were all friends in high school and they made those 3 years very memorable (and bearable). I can still see Kevin laughing and giving our math teacher a hard time our sophomore year which is when we met. Oh, the trouble we got away with both in and out of school! I lost touch with Kevin after graduation but he was still in my thoughts and always in my heart. Since I was recovering from surgery I was unable to go to Kevin’s funeral which made it even harder. I didn’t get to say goodbye.
I walked in Kevin’s memory last year (2009) so when Walk Like MADD came up this year (2010) I joined right away. I put the link on Facebook and shortly after received a message from my very best friend from high school who also happened to be friends with Kevin’s fiance. Deedra and I quickly became friends on FB and one day I asked her if she could share Kevin’s story. Although it’s been nine years (now 10) it’s still extremely difficult for her- the message came to me in parts and I cried the whole way through:
This is Kevin’s story told by Deedra:
Ok, I have to take you back in time before I jump to the night of the accident. So many weird things had happened that you will have chills by the time I am finished. I had been sick and just went through my 9th surgery. I was totally bed ridden and working my full time job between my surgeries- Kevin was great through all this. I tried to leave him so he wouldn’t have to go through all that with me but he would have no part of it. Money was starting to get tight even though we were both working and he always took care of me. I had made changes to the life insurance policy and took Kevin off since I was the one that honestly believed I was the one that needed it. Kevin went round and round with me to keep him on because he thought I would need it. I blew him off and told him to stop talking that way, that God would not take my daughter’s parents. In Jan. of 2001 had a clean bill of health! 🙂 Kevin then preceded with the adoption plan for my daughter Katelyn and I finally stopped being bull headed about our marriage plans. Not because I didn’t love him after 9 years I was just being stupid because of being sick, I wanted more for him. We were to wed in March 2001. We had made plans to elope then would have a small ceremony for family after. When Stevie died, Kevin was beside himself and made the comment he was next. I figured this comment was made due to the fact that this was now 3 friends that had died.
Ok, jump to my birthday, I still remember it exactly. We were in the car and the song came on by Tim McGraw “In my Next 30 Years.” It was my 30th birthday and I wasn’t handling it too well. Kevin didn’t understand why I was so down. I made the comment, “You wait till you turn 30.” His response, “I won’t make it to my 30th birthday”. Again I told him to knock it off. At the time I thought he was talking about his Cystic Fibrosis- he had recently been diagnosed with a rare form that only affected the sperm count so I knew there would be no little Kevin’s running around. Jump to March. Kevin had called just about everyone in his phone book from high school etc. Our phone bill was out of this world. lol I just thought he was missing Florida so I made arrangements for Pony Boy (Kevin Pace, a close friend) to come for a visit and for us to go back to Florida for a visit. I started to workout a lot because I wanted to get back to looking good in a bathing suit. Kevin had a fit about me being at the gym since it took away from our family time. The worst argument we ever had in all those years was over this. It was just words and him being really upset- not degrading in any way. That was the night before. At the time we were looking at houses to buy so we had an appointment for the next day. I asked him if we were still going to look and he said I would have to reschedule because he was already leaving work early for Katelyn’s try outs for drama. Went to bed still testy with each other. He went to sleep on chair then came to bed later. When we woke up the next morning, he was tried everything in his power to get Cleo (family dog) to go to work with him just like she did every day. Cleo was not budging to the point she started growling at him. <Dee took a break for a bit>
Kevin got TT, Cleo’s puppy, to go with him. I found out later just how smart Cleo was. There was a note on the table for me with things that needed to be taken care of- money issues, phone numbers, just weird stuff. I thought, “Why in the heck is he leaving me all because of the gym fight?” I had no idea what was going on. I called him at work (which I never did) and his boss said he was coming off the roof to talk to me. I responded, “Just tell him to call me later.” His boss said, “No, he really needs to talk to you.” Kevin preceded to tell me how much he loved me..blah blah not a Kevin thing to do and not around the guys. I asked him about the note. He assured me that we were ok but I would need that information and he had no idea what I was going to do. I had no idea what the freak he as talking about! He wasn’t making any sense. When I hung up the phone I cried and cried like a baby and had no idea why. I felt that I should be ok- he’s not leaving so why am I so upset? That night Kevin left work early to get to Katelyn’s drama tryouts. He didn’t show up which was so not like him but I wasn’t freaking out yet. I waited and waited but we had to go. As soon as Katelyn’s tryouts were through I ran out of there. Katelyn couldn’t understand why we were running, I didn’t know why either, I just had a feeling. On the way home there was a deer in the road with his head cut off and the road was just so gross and bloody that it made me turn off on a different road and it made me sick to my stomach. If we had continued on that road I would have seen something even more awful. We got home and I made phone calls to everyone. For Valentine’s Day, I bought Kevin a wallet and it had one of those paper ID things in there. I filled it out for him. It turned out to be a huge blessing because Kevin wouldn’t change his address on his driver’s license. That’s how they found me- by using the information I filled out on that card. They went to the other house first. Kathryn, when 3 sheriffs show up at your door they don’t need to say anything. I never had to hear those words until I had to call his parents and hear myself say the words to them. That was the hardest phone call I’ve ever had to make in my life. How do you tell parents that they just lost their second child. <Dee had to take another break>
Regouped..good to go.
I haven’t talked about this in years. but I’m good really. They wouldn’t tell me the details of the accident until my brother got there. They just sat there in silence. They even had to be present when I called the Voltz’s (Kevin’s parents). Hearing Norm scream was horrible. Of course they were on a plane right out. They asked me to wait on them to identify Kevin and I honored their wishes. The guy at the funeral home was my dad’s best friend and he just loved Kevin too death (as everyone did) so I had already been informed by him not to come down that night anyway- even he had no idea it was Kevin. My brother went to the accident to pick TT (the dog) up. I wanted to go but he forbade me. My brother came back a mess. The following day we went to the accident scene, funeral home, and to where the car had been towed. Kevin was supposed to be driving the truck that day. The seat belt had been cut which surprised me because Kevin would NEVER wear a seat belt and I nagged him every time about this. I now seen why they had to cut the car to get him out. The highway patrol sent me pictures of Kevin in the car (it would have been nice if they had warned me).
Dale, a nice farmer, sat with Kevin waiting for the life flight came to the scene- the EMS cancelled it before it got there. Later Dale covered him. Kevin had died on a farm. Kevin had really liked that farm. Dale and I had spoken about Kevin’s last words but I choose to believe since it was only 3 minutes that he was already gone. The accident was at 5:52 PM and Kevin was pronounced dead at 5:55 PM. Jeff, the guy that killed Kevin (by the way, I am sure you know this but Jeff was the name of Kevin’s older brother that passed- just kinda weird that’s all..ok back on track), Jeff went over to Kevin and shook him begging him not to die. I don’t believe he meant any more harm. Jeff did not have a scratch on him. Even his car had a small ding in it and Kevin’s was mangled to where the engine and starter were on his body and the steering wheel was in his chest. He was broken from head to toe and a heart attack finished him off. Jeff passed on a hill on a double lane. Kevin saw it coming and tried to move. A good man like Kevin didn’t deserve to go like that, but he did leave this world with a lot of love and he left a lot of people with love to last a life time.
We did get to speak to Jeff in court. He had to sit there while we read letter after letter about Kevin. I believe Jeff got three months with a rap sheet that rolled. Did he have remorse? I don’t even know. He did talk to us and basically said he was sorry. Helen (Kevin’s mom) went easy on him. I had no comment. I do see her side though- it was Kevin’s time. The Lord needed him more and to this day, I wish I had listen to him about him leaving this world. Kristi and that heart of hers took all of us in for the funeral. At the time she lived in that cute cottage. I’m not sure how many of us there were, but I believe there were a lot of us. It’s odd that I remember everything about the accident but I vaguely remember what all transpired in Florida. I know I took the funeral hard (from what I was told). I guess I flipped out when they lowered him in the ground because I wanted to be with him. I lost it there for a while which surprises me because I am very strong and hardly ever shed a tear. That’s also when Dabs (Kristi) and I lost connection. I guess it didn’t go too well but I believe that’s all behind us now. It’s no excuse but I wasn’t even me. Kristi was great. She took Katelyn to Makotos (Japanese restaurant) and said it was her birthday so she could have a fun time. The only reason I know that is because Katelyn still has the picture of the two of them on her mirror. Good ole Dabs. Katelyn held it together for two years except the night of the accident. That night she screamed so loud I think the next town heard her,bless her heart- and that was it. After that Katelyn did nothing but cheer even at the funeral home. She wanted everyone to see her cheer, lol. Kevin had made arrangements with Kevin Pace for him to take care of me lmao. So sweet and Kevin to this day keeps tabs on me or I should say I keep tabs on him. Still to this day though he wants to honor his best friend’s wishes. I could beat my Kevin for that but again he knew..isn’t that weird? Even when we went to Palm Bay to see his parents and family that March, he knew and two days prior he was telling me how proud he was of Brad. I can’t believe I am telling u all this, I don’t know you, but I feel I do, and this really is the short version. You should see the book..lol I really admire what u r doing!! This walk is really something.
Oh ya update..A few years later I saw Jeff’s mom and she mentioned how Jeff was in jail again and he wouldn’t be coming home for Christmas. I looked right in her eyes and said, “Kevin will never be coming home for Christmas.”
Please click here to either join my team, donate or form your own team.