(Fort Worth, TX)
Ryan Douglas Topper ~ April 29.1976 - April 21, 1995
As the 14th anniversery of my cousin's death approaches, my heart aches for everything in life he lost out on. This was due to a driver who thought it was ok to drown his life's sorrows in jack.
Ryan was heading to Fort Worth TX from Houston on I 45N on April 21, 1995. It was a sunny day and we were going to celebrate his birthday. We had the entire weekend planned and it was going to be spectacular.
Unfortunately, Ryan never made it to Fort Worth, around Huntsville, a dd was heading south bound in the north bound lanes of I45 at speed in excess of 75 mph. Ryan didn't have a chance, the driver hit him head on killing himself and Ryan instantly. Ryan's car was hit so hard, the drivers seat and engine ended up in the trunk. The dd's car held 4 empty bottles of JD and he had one that was half empty between his legs.
A few weeks after burying my favorite cousin, we found out the man who killed Ryan had 5 prior DWI's. It disgusts me that the state of Texas allows people like him who are habitual offenders to even be out in society. They ignore the warnings that their licenses are suspended, and think they will not get caught again. The drivers family defended him saying he had just lost his daughter and turned to alcohol as a defense against his grief. Well, he caused a great sadness in our family that will go on for the rest of our lives. We are now experiencing the grief that he had, he caused a greater grief than what we ever wanted.
He didn't get to meet his sister in law, he didn't get to meet his nieces, he didn't get to serve his country as he wanted to in the Air Force, he didn't get to meet that special girl and marry, he didn't get to have children, he didn't get to meet all the cousins that have come after his death. I grieve for him, I grieve for my aunt who misses her child everyday.
I hope one day, drunk driving will become punishable by jail for first time offenders and not just a year or less but by at least 10 years. I also hope that drunk driving manslaughter will be punishable by death and be considered capitol murder.