My family was forever changed the late evening of September 20, 1997. Our middle son, Robert, was killed in an auto accident as a backseat passenger. There were four kids in the car, two girls up front and Robert and his female cousin in the back seat. They had just left a Dairy Queen and Robert was unbuckled to eat as they drove down the road (we always stressed seat belts). The driver lost control of her car while looking for a cassette tape when rounding a curve. She swerved to miss a mailbox, crossed the roadway and drove approximately 120 yards into a large tree.
Robert wrapped himself around his cousin to protect her. They impacted at approximately 60-65 mph. His cousin was uninjured, Robert lay on top of her bleeding from the nose. She sat him up in the backseat. After 1:45 sec the first ALS ambulance arrived. They declared my son dead from blunt force trauma to the head with little or no assessment and worked on the two females in the front seat. It took 45 min to extract the two in the front seat while my son lay in the back seat motionless.
Aside from losing our son and brother, our family has to deal with not really knowing the extent of his injuries. Nothing was documented and no autopsy was performed. Little noticeable trauma was apparent, but his head was leaned forward and to the right, unconscious. We still have his accident clothes that shows he must've been bleeding after being sat up. There is no way that the questions racing through my mind daily will ever be answered.
Robert was going to attend college in Criminal Justice. His pet peeve was "how drugs are ruining our country". He wanted to be a DEA agent. He was very patriotic and always stood up for what was right. My wife and I are very proud of the young man he had become. He always placed others before him, and this time, it cost him his life.
Robert L. Hatfield