As per reports, 25-year-old driver Jessica Zamora also lost her life, leaving behind a daughter aged just 5-years-old.
The tragedy sent waves of shock through the community as it tried to process the aftermath, but it was the words of Police Officer Tori DelliCarpini that garnered perhaps the most attention. She was one of the first on scene December 25, and wanted to spread awareness of the potential damage driving drunk can do …
DelliCarpini also wanted to send out a poignant message about the true hearts of the officers at the San Jose Police Department. She put together a basket of flowers and a card for the grieving family, and all 11 officers who were at the scene drove over to the house to deliver the token of kindness.
Yet it was DelliCarpini’s retrospective words that did the most to stir the soul. Her account of the accident, as well as her warning for others who might drink and drive, rightly achieved internet fame.
**Tonight I was a part of being the REAL San Jose Police Department, the human behind the badge, and here’s why.We all handle things differently and most often see the worst in people,” she wrote.
“We responded on Christmas morning to a double fatal collision where an innocent 14-year old boy lost his life at the hands of a drunk driver with an outstanding warrant for a prior drunk driving incident.
We saw the wreckage…the car parts…the struggle of medics and fire personnel to save the lives of those involved.
We saw the conscious, breathing, albeit sore, parents and had to move them away from their child so he could get medical attention.Sadly we are the first to know when someone succumbs to their injuries.
No parent should ever have to bury their child.This collision bothered me.
All collisions and loss of life calls bother me, but this in particular made my heart ache.
This family lost their son on Christmas morning to something that NEVER should have happened.
Tonight, before shift, I bought a simple basket of white flowers and a card for the family.Every officer who was on scene that night signed the card and rallied together to offer support for the family.Why?Because we felt their loss.We care.
All 11 of us drove in a group to the family’s house, lined our cars up down the street, and then went to the door and rang the bell.
A family member hesitantly answered the door because they’ve been hounded by the media since the incident occurred.He was speechless and invited us into the family’s home, quickly closing the door behind us.
Giving the flowers
As we all crowded around the living room table, the boy’s father came down the stairs, obviously sore from his injuries.
His wife remained upstairs, still in too much pain to be mobile.We presented the flower basket and card to the father and uncle.They couldn’t believe we came to see them, let alone so many of us.
And as we stood there, I noticed one thing… All of the boy’s Christmas presents were in a pile on the coffee table.Presents that I’m sure were hard-earned and deserved, and supposed to be opened just several hours after the accident.
The father and uncle insisted we stay for a picture. I know I stood in the living room wishing I didn’t have to be in the picture, but I did… And so did the rest of my teammates. I hope that picture remains private.
I also hope it doesn’t remind the family of pain and loss and grief, but of love and support and comfort.
As we left their home to go to our respective beats all over the city, the father and uncle shook all of our hands and thanked us repeatedly.
I’m not posting this for attention or for recognition, but to simply say this: It’s not just other drivers and passengers that are affected, it’s not just friends and family, it’s not just mothers/daughters/fathers/sons… It’s everyone.Medics. Fire. Police. Dispatchers.
Don’t drink and drive.The devastation felt has a ripple effect. Have a designated driver, call an Uber, call a taxi, sleep in your car, stay at a friend’s place, call your mother, hell, call the police.
Have that talk with your kids and family members. No age is “too old” or “too young.”
I’d rather take you home than have to feel how my team and I felt on Christmas morning.
That family will never be whole again. I can only hope they have an outpouring of love and support from friends and family to help them through this tragedy.
Rest in peace, sweet boy. You will not be forgotten.***
—Officer Tori DelliCarpini
Our thanks to Officer Tori DelliCarpini, both for not shirking when she had to do the unthinkable, but also for sending a message afterwards.
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