Mar8

Remembering Olivia.

10 comments
March 8, 2013 |  by  |  12-24 Months, 3-6 Months, 6-12 Months, My Stories

For those of you that follow me, you’ll remember two stories that I recently wrote entitled 1 Year, 1 Month, 1 Day and Two Young To Go.  A little over a year ago, I lost my niece and my brother-in-law & sister-in-law lost their 13-month old daughter to a reckless and negligent driver in a parking lot at Lenora Park, in a suburb outside of Atlanta.

olivia at piano

If you read that story, you’ll know that Brooke and Olivia had entered a crosswalk after a driver had passed through it.  The driver then decided to put her car in reverse and back up at a high rate of speed in the wrong lane, presumably to catch a parking spot.  She knocked Brooke to the ground and took Olivia and the stroller with her.  For reasons unknown, she proceeded to drive forward and back again over the stroller, ultimately killing Olivia.

In the weeks and months following, Brad & Brooke created The Olivia Anne Hellwig Foundation in honor of their daughter.  They’re working to improve driver awareness in regard to pedestrian safety and recently met with their state senator to see what more they could do.  This past Tuesday, senate bill 116 was passed and is now in committee in the Georgia House.  It proposes stiffer penalties for those found guilty of vehicular negligence.  I’ve attached an interview they just did with CBS Atlanta and as I was about to post it this morning, I started to read the comments on both pages.

CBS Atlanta 46

Since I started writing three years ago, I’ve built a thick skin and normally let negativity slide off my shoulders.  Today feels different.  Perhaps it’s because the comments are aimed at my family and it’s my instinct to rise up and protect them.  If those comments had any validity, maybe I’d feel less angry than I am.  The truth is that this could’ve happened to ANY pedestrian.  It very well could’ve been me or you.  This wasn’t a normal ‘let’s cross the street’ moment.  It was a reckless act.  Let’s not forget that in almost ALL circumstances, pedestrians have the right of way.  When not handled in a responsible manner, a vehicle is a weapon.  There’s no fight when you put a car up against a person.

I’ll assume that the negative comments I read were from those misinformed about the details of this event, even if that’s not the case.  Even if it means that people can be so cold, callous and ignorant that it makes my skin crawl.  I refuse to lose faith in humanity.

I can’t even begin to relate with what Brad and Brooke have gone through since September of 2011, but I stand behind them with every fiber of my being and I hope, in honor of my niece, that more lives are saved because of their actions.

If you take anything away from this post – I hope it’s a lingering reminder that we need to take a minute, slow down and make sure that you aren’t about to do something that could forever change the lives of those around you.

Rest in peace sweet Liv, we love you.

 
10 comments
Voltron88
Voltron88

I'm new to the site land expected lots of funny stories but this I wasn't expecting. This story is devastating. I'm a stay at home dad who often walks my kids around the neighborhood and have had so many close calls that on the occasions when a sitter watches my kids for a day I actually tell them not to take the kids for a walk because they might not be as cautious as me because of all my close calls. Anyone who'd be stupid enough to comment negatively about a parent who lost a child isn't worth a shit. Not so eloquent I realize but I'm so angry reading that idiots left negative comments toward the family. Awful. You have my condolences and I admire the strength of your in laws greatly!

AndreaMiller
AndreaMiller

I think you all are honoring her in a beautiful way, working to make things a little safer for others. 


UpsidedownDiane
UpsidedownDiane

Adrian, I am so sorry for your family's loss. My heart goes out to all of you.

Oren
Oren

Just found the article and the comments. It's crazy that people would leave comments like that, but what can you do... Every ass with a keyboard thinks his opinion needs to be heard. Sorry for your family's loss.

Cristy
Cristy

I read four comments on the CBS Atlanta article and then had to close the website because I was absolutely disgusted and enraged. It's not just you, believe me. I am horrified by how disgusting some people are.

Gwen
Gwen

I'm so sorry, not only to read that a beautiful baby girl lost her life, but that people are actually leaving negative comments, that's disgraceful. I hope that many more innocent lives are protected by your brother and sister-in laws crusade to raise awareness. What incredible strength you all have and I hope that the pain and loss you all feel heals with time. Our deepest sympathy to you all.

Fayanne Kanner
Fayanne Kanner

Forget the fine...that means nothing to people...keep them in jail longer and let them feel the pain that they caused. Just awful...My heart breaks when I read your stories of Olivia. How beautiful that her parents are trying to turn her short life into something no one should ever forget. Honoring Olivia with a Bill like this is wonderful. I hope it passes...though I still think the time served should be way more than they are asking for. An accident is one thing...running someone over 3 times is another. My sympathy goes out to you all.

Julie Sparks
Julie Sparks

Wow. Like Pharaba, I cannot believe anyone could be so cold as to leave a negative comment when a child is killed in such a tragic way. A car can be a weapon and until people pay attention to all their surroundings when they are behind the wheel tragedies will continue to occur. No phone call, nice parking space or dropped item is worth not paying attention when driving. My sympathy to you and your family.

Pharaba Hacker-Witt
Pharaba Hacker-Witt

Adrian, I cannot believe people would leave negative comments. Parking lots are incredibly dangerous places and unfortunately they are the places where people are going slower so they feel they can break the normal laws and just drive however they like and use their cell phones. The bottom line in all of it is awareness. Driving used to be about driving and it needs to be again. Awareness of people around you is imperative for everyone's safety. Instead of thinking about the two seconds you will save parking closer, think about the potential lifelong ramifications of a preventable accident that alters lives forever. As much as you see it from the side of a broken hearted uncle, I cannot imagine that there is anything but a deep pain in the heart of the person responsible as well. Knowing you have done something like that changes everything and it cannot possibly be worth the closer parking spot. I remain so sorry for your loss and I hope this law will help people be more aware.