FYI — Media Request (October 2019)

Hello from New York Public Radio–my name is Anabel, and I produce a podcast at our station called Death, Sex & Money. We’re an interview-based show about the things that are so hard–but so necessary–to talk about. I found this community (like others, I assume) through the 2017 New Yorker piece, and am grateful that Maryann has agreed to post this on my behalf.The topic of accidental death is something that I’d really love to talk about on our show–I’m sure there are listeners in our audience who have had this experience and would feel less alone to hear a conversation about it reflected in our programming. So I’m reaching out to see if anyone here would like to speak to our host, Anna, about their experience of becoming a CADI. Our interviews are empathetic, personal, and courageous–with the goal of bringing honest conversation to topics that are often left out of polite discussion.

If you’re interested in sharing your story or would like to know more about our program, I’d love to speak with you. You can get in touch with me at abacon@wnyc.org–and you can find out more about Death, Sex & Money and hear the kinds of conversations we have at deathsexmoney.org.

Are you interested in sharing your experience as a CADI?

Please share your answers to one or more of the following questions:

  1. What is the one piece of advice you wish you’d received after becoming a CADI?
  2. What were some of the most important ways that friends or family helped/supported you after your accident?
  3. What books, movies, websites or other resources were most helpful to you?

I will compile the responses and add them to the site. Thanks!!

*****

Personal Stories

Here is some writing that describes my experience as a CADI.
Please contact me with your own stories and responses. How was
your experience similar or different?

NPR Commentary, 2003 (after the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market
accident)

Los Angeles Times Op Ed Commentary, 2004

Jewish Journal “First Person” column, 2004

The Manifest-Station, Guest Post, March 11, 2015

Tikkun Magazine, April, 2016

New Yorker article about accidental killers by Alice Gregory, September 18, 2017

A guest blog post for LA Walks, November, 2017

Radio interview for the BBC Outlook, January 2018

Article excerpted from radio interview for BBC, January 2018

Radio interview for the BBC Ulster Sunday Sequence, January 2018

Article about accidental killing in Glamour Magazine, March 2018

Jonathan Izard’s radio documentary for BBC4, Meeting the Man I killed

Television episode (Insight) for Australia’s SBS, April 2018

Interview transcript on the Seven Ponds website, June 2019

Maryann’s TEDXUCLA talk, May 2019

First person from other CADIs:

David Peters’ article in The Guardian, November 29, 1918: What Happens to Your Life After You Accidentally Kill Someone?

Shane Snowden’s article in Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Spring/Summer 2017, No Rescue

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Thy
Thy
3 months ago

I was very, very, very lucky yesterday… My IT company bought a new Van to store equipment in and once my boss got the paper work done, I was responsible for driving it back. I put on music and drove back contently then like a shameful idiot I ran a stop light distracted by music and crashed into someone else, I felt like my heart shattered because the car flipped as I crashed into it…the force of it so great it actually flipped . I was okay but more importantly the 2 people in that car were these 2 girls… Read more »

AnM
AnM
6 months ago

I don’t know if I’m doing this format right, but I need someone to talk to. 4 days ago my family and I were involved in an accident that killed a man. We just learned of his death today. We had been out with our children taking them to see Christmas lights in a nearby state. We were at an intersection behind another car, the car turned left on a green light so we followed behind them. Out of nowhere an SUV came down the road so fast, he barley clipped us (we are all physically ok), the front of… Read more »

Jopie P
Jopie P
3 months ago
Reply to  AnM

I know it says it’s been two months but I hear you on this. I want to let you know you’re life is not forfeit and doesn’t have any less value. You were there only by circumstance, don’t use hindsight to place blame on why it happened. I went through a work related accident where a machine I was operating rolled over and crushed a co-worker. That was over 8 months ago and each day gets a little better, as I’m sure you’ve come to find out. Focus on enjoying the time you have now, you carry the memory of… Read more »

help
help
7 months ago

I was at fault for what I thought had been a pretty minor car accident. Today I got a letter from my insurance saying the other driver had 8% whole body impairment and pain in her head and neck. I have struggled with chronic pain for the past few years and it has been a very difficult battle. The thought that I have now doomed somebody else to this is completely horrifying. I had never imaged her injuries would be this significant. She was also a single mother, an immigrant and an uber driver. She already has so much to… Read more »

Lucy
Lucy
6 months ago
Reply to  help

As we read again and again here. your guilt and remorse show that you are NOT a horrible person, but a caring and kind one who made a mistake. Also you have turned your own difficult experience with pain into a capacity for empathy, which is something to be admired, not everyone would. I hope 12 days later your anguish has eased a little, and you have been able to find some help and comfort. I am 57, and after my recent accident I still felt like an awful dumb kid! The lady I hurt was also a working mother… Read more »

Lucy
Lucy
7 months ago

Ten days ago I reversed into a young woman in the car park of the town in Brittany where I live.  It was a stupid, needless accident; I approached the ticket barrier awkwardly, and reversed to come at it at a better angle. I’m pretty sure I did look in my windscreen rear view mirror, but she was somewhat to my right, perhaps in my blind spot, and I didn’t see her. I could blame other things, the low winter light and patchy shade, the fact that she was hurrying and maybe not looking or whatever, but essentially if I… Read more »

Joelle
Joelle
9 months ago

I was just in an accident two days ago and the guilt is eating me alive. I came to a complete stop at a stop sign and looked to my left to try to turn right, saw what I thought was an empty road, and went. A car coming straight slammed into the front left of my car, ripping off my front bumper and scratching up their car pretty bad. No one was hurt, but their car was brand new, and no matter how many times I think over the incident I can’t for the life of me believe I… Read more »

Angela
Angela
1 year ago

It’s been almost a year since I was in a bad car accident that I survived but someone else was killed. I got done work and headed out to meet friends at their family cabin for my best friends birthday. I was so close, maybe less than 30 minutes from arriving and my next memory is waking up in a hospital. I had no real memory but I think I knew a deer was involved or maybe I just heard doctors and nurses talking about it so it imprinted. I had shards of glass embedded in my forehead and hand.… Read more »

Liam Harney
Liam Harney
1 year ago
Reply to  Angela

You write beautifully. I’m so sorry that you went through that horrible experience. I think people like to believe they have control. Control over what they do, control over what others do to them. It’s why loss of control is often one of the worst things that happen to us, and why, I hypothesize, people like to victim blame. If it only happened because the person did something wrong, they don’t have to worry about horrible things happening out of the blue. We like to say that people who got cancer probably smoked too much, that people with mental illness… Read more »

Susan Osborn
Susan Osborn
1 year ago

My niece died by suicide a month ago. When we were told that she had made two suicide attempts within weeks, without any previous attempts, we were concerned that she needed in-patient psychiatric care. Her husband was looking for a family member to provide a place for her to stay to keep her out of the family home. It was agreed that anyone who took her into their home would immediately have her placed in an in-patient psychiatric unit. This did not take place. I feel guilt that I didn’t fly to her and personally commit her when the plan… Read more »

William Glover
William Glover
1 year ago

My post seems like it will be the odd man out, and I beleive my story will be ostracized. The morning of July 5th 2018, i took my boyfriend to work. We had our best friend chanel(a pomeranian/chihuahua mix) with us. A normal day. We dropped him off and drove around to do errands before returning home. I need everyone to know that I beleived she had gotten out of the car, but she hadn’t. I returned home at about 12:30 and began my daily chores…by 2:30pm i realized the mistake i had made and ran as fast as i… Read more »

Silvia Rodarte
Silvia Rodarte
1 year ago
Reply to  William Glover

Omg I feel for you so much! I am sending you a huge hug & kiss. Please talk to someone about your guilt, be kind to yourself. Chantel has already forgiven you. ♡♡♡♡♡♡

Althena
Althena
1 year ago
Reply to  William Glover

Wlliam, you are not alone, and it is devastating. I packed a suitcase the night before I was going away for the night. I was going to be staying with my mother in another city to help her out with some things. I had packed everything, but had left it unzipped. The next morning, I zipped it up, put it in my car, and went to work. Afterwards, I drove to my mother’s. When I went to open it, I realized that my cat, Duchess, had been trapped inside the suitcase all day, and had died due to the heat.… Read more »

Liz
Liz
2 years ago

At the age of 17 (38 years ago) I let my boyfriend drive my car. He had no license, we were smoking pot driving around – skipping school. At some point he crossed the line and hit an on coming car. My boyfriend died and the young man in the other card died two weeks later. I’ve never made a distinction between who was driving. I always have felt the responsibilities of both deaths and all the ensuing misery are on me – 100% on me. At the time my mother called me a murderer. I managed to carve a… Read more »

Todd W
Todd W
2 years ago

I found this website about a month ago, but decided to write today as today its been 38 years since I ran over a little boy. I was 17 and he was my next door neighbor, 6 years old at the time, and the little brother of my best friend. I was driving home from work and was 3 houses from my house when I stopped as a large group of kids was playing in the street. I was irritated, yelled at them to move, they moved, I took off fast, as I was mad at the kids for blocking… Read more »

Silvia Rodarte
Silvia Rodarte
1 year ago
Reply to  Todd W

Hoping that you heal. I’ve never run over anyone but I had some pretty horrific trauma as a kid and I am o.k. My favorite part of your story is when you said that you saw him and he said to you “remember when you ran me over”? Take care!

S. Smith
S. Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  Todd W

What a terrible thing to endure. I was also 17 when I became a CADI and caused the death of one person and injured another with my car. It is too much for a teenager to go through. I also am haunted by PTSD. Until I found this site, I really didn’t feel like there was a “place” to turn to for people like us.

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 years ago

I found this site hoping that I would find someone who messed up as badly as I have. In December, I fell asleep at the wheel with my 24-year old daughter in the car with me. I was fine except for being bruised up and a few knots on my head. However, the seat belt caused severe internal injuries to our daughter that required two surgeries and 14 days in the hospital. She is still suffering from the after effects. She had gotten engaged two months earlier, and the fall out and stress from the accident and her PTSD from… Read more »

Ariel
Ariel
2 years ago

Last month I was on my way to work. I was going a little fast and got pulled over. As I was pulling onto the shoulder, I hit a pedestrian. She was wearing black and walking on the wrong side of the road. I have accepted that this was no one’s fault but was a horrible accident, though I still wish I could undo it. I’m sure I always will.

Amanda
Amanda
2 years ago

This is the first time in nearly 19 years that I am sharing my story. It was the late 1990s, I was approximately 8 years old and my brother had just turned one. He needed a bottle warmed up and I wanted to do it myself therefore I didn’t alert my aunt. I proceeded to place his bottle in a cup of hot water and set it on a nearby table. I turned around for literally 3 seconds, but that was enough time for him to roll over to the table in his walker and pull the table down. In… Read more »

Beanie
Beanie
2 years ago

I am someone who did not kill someone else, yet I hurt them gravely in an accident. Last year I hit a pedestrian with my car – I was distracted and at fault. I learned from my insurance she is still recovering from some pretty major injuries, and is suffering severe emotional trauma. I feel absolutely responsible for the accident and want to talk to her to express my sorrow and apologize, and yet I also dread the possibility of this conversation. Would she yell at me, tell me how hard her suffering has been? Does she know how horrible… Read more »

pam magney
2 years ago
Reply to  Beanie

i hope that for you too, my friend.

Rebecca Bailey
Rebecca Bailey
6 months ago
Reply to  Beanie

Hi my name is Rebecca.I was 10 years old when my friend cheryl age 7 & I were coming back from tobogganing We should of had our parents with us .We were alone and using a crosswalk ,the kind where you stick your finger out and wait for the cars to stop. Cheryl was pulling the toboggan I had carried it to the park.We were crossing the street, all the cars had stopped,,We thought, there was a streetcar that was blocking one lane .The other drivers started to honk theire horns to try and warn us and the driver.The driver… Read more »

John Schimmel
John Schimmel
2 years ago

I hit and killed a 16 year old in 2002. He pulled out in front of me while riding his bicycle. I remember the ER as if it were yesterday. I kept asking about the boy. When they finally told me that he passed away, I screamed as if he were my own kid. I went to counseling for two years. I was on anti-anxiety meds, struggled with PTSD, I blamed myself for killing a kid even though the state police determined that I was not speeding, and I know that I was not distracted. Doesn’t matter. I killed a… Read more »

Heather Stansfield
Heather Stansfield
2 years ago

My Name is Heather. I was involved in a car accident this early morning at 4am as I went to pick up my son from his work at UPS. While driving down a highway I hit and killed a women who walked out in front of the car in dark clothing on a dark street I did not see her at all until I felt and heard a thump and saw her body crash into my windshield. I screamed and stopped the car and got out and tried to call 911. The women was unconcious crumpled on the ground with… Read more »

Kim DeMent
Kim DeMent
2 years ago

Oh, Heather. That is so sad. I live in Kirkland, and I know it gets so dark around Avondale and I, too, have a hard time knowing the cross streets – so much so that I choose to go Willows when I head over to Redmond from Kirkland. I hope you are able to talk with family and friends about your feelings. The person that died was a victim and you were too. It’s okay for you to go through a grieving process for the event and your own loss of equilibrium. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Heather Stansfield
Heather Stansfield
2 years ago
Reply to  Kim DeMent

Thank you Kim. I called the Chaplain 3 days after the accident to ask for help from a therapist and I had my first appointment the next day. The thereapist is in redmond and runs the trauma unit for the police and fire units in the area. She knew of the women killed as well. The chaplian knew her too as she was a person who went to her same church. She was 70 years old and walking to work as she was a Janitor at the PCC market. Her name was Toni Haley and I say a prayer for… Read more »

Greg serna
2 years ago

Hi I’m Greg on dec7 2017.i hit and killed a jaywalker dark out dark clothes. He died instantly. I’m having a tuff time dealing with this. I can’t find a support group for this do you know any

Erin
Erin
2 years ago

17 days ago while driving along a familiar route, a man was pulled over on the shoulder of the road and standing on the outside of his vehicle. Somehow, I struck him and his car. I can’t remember the moments before the impact. His leg was severed in the accident, and he has also suffered injuries to two of his remaining 3 limbs. I’m suffering from not only physical injuries from the accident, but from emotional ones. Most days I feel like a monster that has destroyed someone’s life. Even when the feeling isn’t that intense, I suffer tremendous guilt… Read more »

Kat
Kat
2 years ago

This past summer my husband was coming home from work as always on his bike. I had texted him to hurry. He had bought me tickets to a concert I wanted to see and I wanted him to have dinner with the kids before we went out. I was dressed up and excited. Then I received a text – “There’s been an accident.” My first thought was that someone had hit him and taken his phone to tell me. But then he wrote more and told me he had hit a pedestrian. The pedestrian had ran across the crosswalk on… Read more »

Jennifer
Jennifer
2 years ago
Reply to  Kat

Hi Kat! I have started an interactive support group through FaceBook and an online blog about my experiences. I am a CADI. It may help you understand. This is such a complicated mix of emotion like none that I ever could have imagined. I do believe there is hope and we (CADI’s) can find peace with our circumstance. https://www.facebook.com/groups/353510278125610/?ref=bookmarks

EH
EH
2 years ago
Reply to  Kat

It must be very hard supporting a loved one who has accidentally caused the death of another person. 5 years ago, almost to the day, I hit and killed a 3 year old child who ran on the street in front of me. All I saw was dark hair over the bonnet of my 4wd and I swerved, but there was no way to avoid him. His mother ran into the street and grabbed him up, then ran home to the bottom of her home’s stairs. She waited for a blanket before putting him down. She didn’t know CPR. I… Read more »

James Provencher
James Provencher
2 years ago

I come to this site because I just finished reading an article in the 18 Sept. ’17 issue of the ‘New Yorker’ magazine, ‘Accidental Killers’ by Alice Gregory–this piece hit a nerve and pierced a heart–mine. Ten years ago I went through a red light signal because I believe I experienced a micro sleep. My only memory is driving along slowly, thinking this street is very dark, then suddenly I seem to come awake from traffic noise: I am in the middle of an intersection with cars and a motorbike whizzing in my field of vision, then braking, turning, just… Read more »

Jennifer
Jennifer
2 years ago

We are starting a private Facebook support group and youtube channel. I am so sorry for this difficult journey! You can contact me at jenn.eikenhorst@gmail.com

James
James
2 years ago

After becoming addicted to pills, my girlfriend and I quickly moved on to heroin. A few years ago, we decided to get clean after a friend of ours overdosed and died. About a week before we planned to come home to get help I fixed myself a shot and blacked out, which happened to me frequently on heroin. It’s a very jarring experience, as if my consciousness were a television that turned on and off whenever it pleased. It could be in the middle of a conversation or while standing at a bus stop. On that night the black out… Read more »

L
L
2 years ago

I read the story in the New Yorker and felt compelled to comment from a different perspective. In 1974, when I was 13, I was riding my bike home from a convenience store, frozen coke in hand, and turned off a sidewalk directly into the path of a car in a 40 mph speed zone. I smashed into the windshield and was throw over the car. By all accounts, I should have been killed, but survived with only cuts and scrapes. In the hospital, I was able to tell my parents it was all my fault and my father called… Read more »

Gregg Ward
2 years ago

2 a.m., July 2, 1978 – I was in my senior year of high school and driving my girlfriend/high school sweetheart home at after we had worked a double shift at a local restaurant. I stopped at a T-junction: if I had turned left, I would have followed a well-lit avenue all the way home. But I chose to turn right and take a winding, unlit, rural road to home. That bad choice changed everything. Halfway home, I grew more interested in talking to my sweetheart than paying attention to the road. I went off the road and hit a… Read more »

Bethany Thompson
Bethany Thompson
2 years ago
Reply to  Gregg Ward

God Bless you

Melissa Powell
Melissa Powell
2 years ago
Reply to  Gregg Ward

I would like to read your screen play and hear your songs. Our stories are similar. At age 22 I was driving my 21 yo boyfriend in my blue VW bug down an unfamiliar country road. I went through a stop sign obscured by tree branches. The oncoming driver from the highway I unknowingly crossed hit us on the passenger side. My boyfriends lungs were crushed. An ambulance came . Jaws of life pulled me out. His last words in the ambulance were ” It hurts”. I survived with a mild concussion and surface injuries. He died an hour after… Read more »

Mel Morgan
Mel Morgan
2 years ago

I did not know about this website or that there would be anyone like me out there. I know there are all kinds of accidents, but one does not stop to think that there are others out there that have experienced this same thing. I am truly not at the point where I can talk about this for any expended period of time nor can I think about it too much. If I do, I completely shut down and I cannot afford to do that. You see, I am the Superintendent of Schools for a rural school district in New… Read more »

Gregg Ward
2 years ago
Reply to  Mel Morgan

You are so very brave to talk about this here; to tell your story. Based on my experience as someone who also feels deeply responsible for another’s death, all I can say is keep talking, keep telling your story, keep trying to be the wonderful person you are and helping people as you have throughout your life. No one who truly knows will tell you will you ever totally get over this, but in time, if you give yourself permission and you get professional help, it will become easier for you to do all of the positive things that you… Read more »

Jen
Jen
2 years ago
Reply to  Mel Morgan

Mel I am also in education if you ever need an ear please reach out! Keep talking! Sharing helps with healing!

Damien Collins
Damien Collins
2 years ago

April this year, I accidentally killed a lady in her early 40’s. Her name was Melissa. We were travelling in a 100km/ph speed zone, approaching a 60km/ph speed zone. Melissa and her partner were riding their motorbikes in front of me, I had been following them for around 20km at the time of the impact. We came around a bend approaching the 60km/ph speed zone, Melissa and her partner slowed down by easing off the accelerator, I hadn’t noticed the rate they had slowed down at when I looked down to check my speedo. Then it happened, I tapped the… Read more »

Jennifer
Jennifer
2 years ago
Reply to  Damien Collins

Hello, I also had an accident with a motorcycle and was interviewed by Alice Gregory. We have started a support group on Facebook and a youtube channel. Please email me, jenn.eikenhorst@gmail.com

JoAnn W
JoAnn W
3 years ago

Almost 50 years ago my twin brother was accidentally shot and killed by my 15 year old cousin. It tore the fabric of my family. Since my family cut all contact with my cousin’s family I never knew what became of him but then, 40 years after the incident, I received an emotionally unbalanced letter from him asking me to forgive him. At the time, I still couldn’t face him. I wrote him forgiving him but an irrational fear of meeting him still nagged at me. I have since heard that he was a drug addict and homeless. Now my… Read more »

Chandra Dykshorn
3 years ago

This is my story. I was headed to New Holland to take my two children to their babysitter so I could go to work. I drive past the Dakota Christian school handfuls of times a week. That day a truck pulled out in front of me. Inside was the 14 year old driver, his 11 year old sister, and 10 year old Andrew. No one in the truck was wearing seatbelts and I T-Boned them at 65mph. I had my seatbelt on and my children were in car seats. We walked away with minor injuries. All three children in the… Read more »

Jennifer
Jennifer
3 years ago

You are not alone. I have trouble sleeping too, difficulty not letting my mind wander back to the accident. One day at a time. Find solace that you are not alone.