On Sunday, June 16, millions of children will participate in family festivities to honor their fathers. The day will be filled with love and laughter, and memories will be made by many.
Sadly, some fathers won’t get to have that experience. For these fathers, the day will be spent reflecting on the past, on favorite memories that warm their hearts. For these dads, Father’s Day will never be the same.
This Father’s Day, the HEARTS Network remembers the fathers, sons and daughters whose Father’s Day celebrations have been forever changed by teen crashes, including:
Jerry Assa, Plainview, NY
Jerry lost his 16-year-old son, Brian, in January 2008. Brian and a newly-licensed friend were racing a vehicle that belonged to the friend’s parents. At some point, Brian climbed behind the wheel, despite having only his learner’s permit. He lost control of the vehicle and crashed. Brian passed away at the scene.
Mark Brezitski, Harrisburg, PA
Mark and his wife, Karen, lost their son, Owen, in March 2011 when a distracted teen driver drove through a crosswalk, striking Owen as he crossed the street with his family. Owen succumbed to his injuries and passed away shortly after the crash.
Troy Clegg, Anderson, CA
Troy and his wife, Leeana, lost their 14-year-old son, Hunter, in August 2009. Hunter was one of several young passengers in a vehicle driven by an inexperienced 17-year-old who lost control of the vehicle while driving on a windy, mountain road. He over-corrected and struck a tree. Hunter was killed instantly.
Cynthia Cooper and Charlene Sligting, Round Lake Beach, IL
Cynthia and Charlene lost their father, John Sligting, in June 2007. A teen driver who was talking on her cell phone and out past the state teen driving curfew ran a stop sign and struck John as he drove home from work on his motorcycle. John passed away at the scene.
John Farrace, Marlton, NJ
John and his wife, Claudia, lost their 17-year-old son, Anthony, in July 2007. Anthony was a passenger in a vehicle driven by an inexperienced teen, who was weaving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed. The driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed, killing Anthony.
Chris Keevill, Kingwood, TX
Chris lost his son, Max, in January 2011. Max was driving alone down a familiar street near his house on a rainy Saturday morning, headed to a Boy Scout meeting. Max lost control on the slick roads, crashed into a fence lining an equestrian center and passed away.