Danelle Atwood

100 Deadliest Days of Summer
May 18, 2023
Gracie James
January 20, 2023

Danelle Atwood

On the evening of November 20th, 2023, my family’s lives were changed forever when a drunk and high driver attempted to complete the second of two illegal right-hand passes and struck my son’s father head-on, who was bicycling home from work at the time of his death.

My son’s father was struck at between 55mph and 70mph on a road that only allowed traffic at 30mph, and he was struck so hard that he flew across the rest of the road. Emergency services quickly arrived at the scene and, within about a minute, declared that attempts at resuscitation would be futile due to the severity of trauma to his chest and torso, electing to withhold CPR as a result. He was transported directly to the morgue, at which point the coroner’s office began to attempt to contact family members.

In a matter of seconds, because of someone’s awful decision, I lost someone that I’d grown up with since the age of seven. I lost someone who I’d known nearly my entire life. My son lost his father shortly before his seventeenth birthday. I lost my Person.

Although my son is eligible for survivor’s benefits off of his father’s Social Security record (and, at that, for the rest of his life due to the severity of his disabilities) and is meaningfully supported in his father’s absence, none of this will bring him back to life. I now have to live the next thirty-seven years of my life, or more, without him. My son has to live nearly the rest of his life without him.

No one deserves to have to die on the side of the road because of someone else’s foolish, awful actions. I will never stop advocating against drunk and impaired driving and I will never forget my son’s father, who had to die at the age of thirty-seven due to a drunk driver.

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