Dianne Daniels and her three daughters met up March 17th, 2012 for breakfast, just as they did every Saturday.
After breakfast Dianne, her daughter, Shakeila Vickers, and her grandson Vincent Vickers decided to spend the afternoon at the park. Vincent, who was 9 years old at the time, earned straight A’s and loved to play basketball. On this day, Vincent’s basketball tournament had been cancelled, so he decided to bring his best friend Tyler Biggins with him to the park. The four of them enjoyed a relaxing time together, laughing and taking in the beautiful weather.
Ms. Daniels eventually went back home, while Shakeila, her husband Vince Vickers, and the boys went out for dinner. Later that evening, Ms. Daniels received a call from the hospital stating that Ms. Vickers, her husband, and the two boys were involved in a crash. While on their way back home from dinner, an impaired driver on the drug “spice” rear-ended their truck. Shakeila , her nine-year-old son, and his friend Tyler Biggins died in the crash. Vince Vickers was the only survivor.
Shakeila, pictured with her son, loved to volunteer and serve her community through her warm personality.
“Shakeila was loved by everyone, she had a smile that was very contagious that made everyone around her smile,” said Dianne.
After the crash, Dianne and her family connected with Florida MADD advocate Kristen Allen. Ever since then Ms. Daniels has been sharing her story at Victim Impact Panels.
“I do the things I do because I don’t want any other family to have to go through what I had to go through. I lost two members at one time…..”
Dianne and her family created the Keila & Vincent Memorial Foundation, which provides scholarships to high school students in the memory of Shakeila and Vincent.
My life changed forever one day before Valentine’s Day, four days before a trip to my future sister-in-law’s bridal shower, 11 days before a second trip to Las Vegas with my husband, and two months before my brother-in-law’s wedding.
On the afternoon of February 13, 2011, a drunk driver ran a stop sign, crashing broadside into my car, resulting in non-displaced fractures. I spent a little more than eight weeks in a neck brace 24/7. I was both angry and terrified, yet, I also felt fortunate. I survived. I “walked” away from injuries that should have killed or paralyzed me. I still suffer from changed sleep patterns and anxiety, and there are some activities I can no longer participate in.
But I survived.
The offender received a sentence of 30 days in jail, 45 days mandatory in-patient rehab and 10 years’ probation. The sentence brought me peace. At the hearing, I told him what he had done – what he’d ripped away from me. I began the healing process.
I have since come to understand that victims of violent crimes can remain stuck in that moment of confrontation. It becomes too easy to allow that moment to consume you and define you. But that’s just another victory for the drunk.
I realized, if I didn't want that moment to so completely define my life, I must move forward. That meant letting go of whatever negative emotions I held in. With the support of my victim advocate, Suzette, and by attending support groups, I’ve been able to let go and move forward. I hope that by sharing my story with others, they can do the same.