In the early hours of Christmas morning Officer Tori DelliCarpini and her team responded to a double fatal crash on the Capitol Expressway in San Jose in which 14-year-old Andrew Nguyen, who was in the car with his parents, was killed. The crash was caused when the other driver, a 25-year-old woman who was reportedly drunk and had an outstanding warrant for a prior DUI, drifted into oncoming traffic and hit the family's car head-on.
"No parent should ever have to bury their child," Officer DelliCarpini of the San Jose Police Department wrote in a post to Facebook. "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."
Officer DelliCarpini continues her post by describing how it felt to visit the boy's family with 10 other officers after the accident.
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. 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," she wrote. "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. . . . 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."