When we are on the road, we can’t only think about ourselves, we have to worry about the lives of those around us. A drunk driver can even kill other people because of his own irresponsibility. And that’s exactly what happened on January 2, 2005.
Katie Flynn, 7, was glowing for being a flower girl at Aunt Lisa’s wedding, along with her younger sister Grace. More than 200 friends and family gathered on a Long Island beach for Lisa and David’s wedding. Katie and Grace were beautiful with their party dresses and radiant smiles. Unfortunately, this would be the last day of life for one of them.
After a beautiful ceremony, and a wonderful party, it was time to go home. The parents of the bride, Christopher and Denice, the sister Jennifer and her husband Neil got into the limousine to leave. Along with Jennifer and Neil were their two young daughters, Katie and Grace.
“I remember looking at the limousine and seeing Katie and saying goodbye. She waved and said goodbye, I never thought it would be the kind of moment when you’re seeing people for the last time,” said the fiance David. While the limousine was on the highway, a drunk driver crashed into the car, causing a devastating accident. Martin Heidgen, 24, was so drunk that he started driving on the wrong side of the road.
According to police reports, Heidgen’s blood alcohol level was three times higher than the legal limit. He consumed at least 14 drinks and was driving at 70 mph! The limousine driver, Stanley Rabinowitz, 59, died instantly crushed by the engine. The bride’s father, Christopher, broke both legs in several places after being projected from the car. Later, he had to amputate one of them. His wife Denise suffered serious injuries, and little Grace was trapped in the wreckage.
Though his back was broken, Neil tried to crawl and seek help. Meanwhile, Jennifer, who had injured her foot, was desperately searching for Katie, who was in the side seat at the time of the accident. At that point, Jennifer Flynn found something no mother should witness: her daughter, Katie, had been decapitated by her own seat belt.
One of the first to get on the scene was Michael Tangney, a police officer and uncle of the bride. He also went to the wedding a few hours earlier: “I was walking to the back of the limousine when a man who was walking away from the scene said, ‘Do not go there, it’s bad,'” Michael Tangney said. “I opened the back door of the limousine and realized it was my family.”
But the worst was when Michael saw Jennifer with her daughter’s head in her hands. Katie’s body remained in the car, still in the dress she wore proudly for the wedding just a few hours earlier. Jennifer sat down by the side of the road for an hour. She kept Katie’s head on her lap as the family was rescued.
Eventually, she eventually turned her daughter’s head over to Michael. Before she did that, she kissed her cheek one last time. Martin Heidgen was sentenced to 18 years in prison on two counts of second-degree murder. Unfortunately, none of this will bring the girl or the driver back. After all these years, Jennifer and Neil chose to talk openly about their story. They hope this will prevent a similar catastrophe from happening again.
“I hope that by reading about the devastation that we experienced that night, and that we still continue to experience, people can see the gravity of the driving in a state of drunkenness.” Drinking and driving is a crime, and it can destroy not only the lives of the drunk driver, but also the lives of everyone around him.
Please share so that people understand the gravity of this irresponsible act!