An open letter to the man who ran over my daughter

[Note – this letter was written on the morning of September 15, 2012, only hours after the incident took place. I now have more and better information about what actually happened, but this is still an accurate portrait of my feelings at the time.]

Let me begin my letting you know I hold no animosity towards you. I have no need to seek revenge against you. But neither do I have any inclination to save you from your fate. You have, through your own actions chosen to bring enough trouble into your life that anything I could do to you would be minor in comparison.

I want you to know that you killed my daughter. You are quite fortunate in that there happened to be a nurse getting a drink at Starbucks who was able to start CPR immediately after she was struck. You are fortunate in that had this person not been there my feelings about you would be quite different. Though at this point my daughter may still die, that this person courageously stepped up to offer their knowledge and skills in the effort to save my daughter’s life allows me the space to not have to hate you.

At the same time you were unfortunate to have run over my daughter in front of that same Starbucks, where the Lynwood Sheriffs where were seemingly meeting en masse.  That the Sheriffs were quickly able to chase you down and arrest you also offers me the space not to have to hate you. My understanding of the situation is that you lacked either the sobriety or the courage, possibly both, to stop and deal with the damage you wrought. I am relieved that we did not have to further test your integrity or sense of honor.

I do want you to understand that you have affected my daughter for the rest of her life, and her family as well. As I write this, my daughter Annette, lay in a coma and we have no way of knowing the scope of the damage done to her yet. I want you to know that you have injured a bright, beautiful and vivacious young woman who has much to offer the world. My understanding of the incident is that when she realized you were bearing down on her as she crossed the street, she chose to sacrifice herself rather than see any harm come to her little sister.

Annette is outgoing and friendly. She is creative. She is a talented musician who learned on her own to play piano by ear. She is also a talented songwriter. She is intelligent and she reads constantly. My daughter is brave enough to stand up and speak in any situation. My daughter is an amazing young woman with a lot of talent and potential. Now, all of that could be gone.

As I stated earlier, I will leave you to your fate. I just want to offer you something to think about. I have no idea whether you are a contemplative or thoughtless person. Nor do I know if you are an idiot or smart enough to know better. I have no intention of trying to judge you. I am sure that I will have many opportunities to judge your character in the future, since it would seem that you were not sharp enough to avoid the justice system. I just wanted to make sure if you are not enough of a man to face what you have done on your own, that I have it spelled out for you.

I don’t need to hurt you or see you destroyed. I hope whatever punishment you receive is fair in relation to the damage that you have ultimately done. I do hope that you never harm another person. I hope you that you can face what you have done, and become a better person for it. I hope you realize that even if things come out as best they can, that you have damaged not only the wonderful young lady who you hit with your car, you also damaged everyone who loves her. Most importantly, I hope that my daughter is around long enough and retains enough of her faculties to offer you the opportunity to earn her forgiveness, however long that may take.

About Leo

Leo Barrera Writer & Photographer with expertise in negotiation, conflict resolution, social capital, and leadership. I do child support enforcement for a living, but it is not fun.
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2 Responses to An open letter to the man who ran over my daughter

  1. P A Hurley says:

    Dear Leo, you are much too kind to call this person a man. I would call him an unconsiderate coward. I admire your character in that you hold no animosity. I have earned the right to think of this person as a coward as I have been a victim of drunk drivers three times. The first as a pedestrian at the age of 29, with serious injuries and a recovery that still continues with a total of 10 surgeries. While this accident took place 33 years ago, I vividly recall going into surgery and being told that my leg would be amputated and I cried and prayed that my leg would be attached the following day. While surgery took place late at night, my leg was reconstructed by a talented surgeon who saved my leg. I was in a cast for a couple of years and leg braces and I did learn to walk without a limp, my modeling side job was gone, my university graduation was delayed, but everything else remained intact. I was lucky. However deformed my leg may be now, I love my leg, I love that I can stand up and walk and while inconvenienced with the multitude of surgeries, with possibly two more pending, and a pain that comes and goes, I am lucky. I forgave this person because she came to the hospital during my recovery and admit that as I get older, the recovery and pain seems more pronounced, but I can walk and like your most recent update, I too feel that my story is mild in comparison to others and certainly in comparison to your daughter Rebekka. May she continue to heal and may you and your family remain strong during this challenging journey. All my prayers and love, Patricia.

    • Leo says:

      I wrote that letter the day after it happened, just to get the feelings and anger out. My feelings about it have changed slightly since then, but I truly believe it is not my role to judge him, and that only Annette can truly forgive him. Until she decides one way or the other, my job is to make this person understand what he really did. I am working on it.

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