October 13, 2002 – May 5, 2005
May 5, 2005 started as a normal day. I woke hearing laughter downstairs from my two children and the sounds of little feet running on the hardwood floor. After showering, shaving and getting dressed I made my way down the steps. “”Hi, Daddy!”” my daughter Annabelle yelled from her booster seat. Both she and Drew (our youngest) were eating their breakfast while watching the Wiggles from the kitchen. I made my way over to the kids and began to give Drew a few good-bye kisses. Then Annabelle pointed to her forehead and asked for her kiss too. Of course, I obliged. I told everyone good-bye and that I loved them, and then headed out.
Around 1:45 pm I received a call on my cell phone from a female that was clearly upset. Not recognizing the number on the caller ID, I thought that it was one of my employees calling from their cell phone. I heard “”accident”” and she sounded panicked. I asked her to calm down and asked what happened. Then I recognized my wife’s voice…..””Rodney, are you there?”” I responded yes…., “”Annabelle was crushed by a car!”” she said. I asked if she was going to be ok…the answer was “”I don’t know.”” She then told me a few details which haunt me to this day.
We had a paint contractor come over to the house that day to give us a quote. He had parked in our driveway, between us and our neighbor’s house. After he was done, he went next door to our neighbor’s house to give them a quote as well. My wife and the kids came outside and began to play. Annabelle was playing with her stroller and baby doll in the driveway behind the truck while my wife stood no less than 10 feet away with my son. Not seeing my daughter behind his pickup, the contractor got in and immediately backed up. My wife screamed for him to stop as she ran towards the truck but he did not hear her. She was only an arm’s length away when Annabelle was killed.
Our lives have been forever changed. Nothing could have prepared us for such a loss. Our first born child was killed. How could this happen? How could it have been prevented? We still search for answers every day.
One thing that could have saved her is if the contractor had a rear detection device in his truck. We must continue to push our government and automobile manufacturers to make these devices mandatory on all vehicles, including large work trucks and commercial vehicles.
God Bless you.