An Amazing Man

Andrew was a devoted son, a great friend, a terrific uncle, and a loving boyfriend. He worked hard for everything. He funded himself through Penn State, bought his own vehicle, and got his own apartment.

On October 27th, 2015, Andrew was killed in a hit and run crash.

He was never able to attend his friend’s wedding.

He will never have his own wedding.

He will never get to be a father.

His future was taken away because of someone else’s choices.

“Everyone gravitated towards him. He would do anything for you.”, his mother, Janice, recalled. He was well-liked by everyone that knew him and made life-long friendships. In high school, his home was a hub for all his friends. His mother remembers a time when she came to the basement the next morning, and discovered his friends had spent the night.  His house continued to be a hub through college. Andrew and his friends had begun celebrating “Friendsgiving” together. Their hope was to make it an annual tradition. The last time Andrew saw his friends was at a bachelor party for his friend. He planned on attending the wedding as the best man later that year; a memorial table would be set for him instead.

 

Andrew worked at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Before starting his job there, he worked trade shows. The work allowed him to travel with his girlfriend, Laila, by his side, where he intended to keep her. Around the end of every year, the two would create a list of goals they wanted to accomplish in the New Year. Her list would be long, while Andrew’s list was simple. He wanted to work out more and marry the love of his life. They gave each other their lists for Christmas. It now serves as a bittersweet memory.

He was close with his siblings, especially his sister Jamie. They were a year apart and loved to play games together. “Even if they weren’t in the same house they were gaming together,” Janice recalls. At one point, Andrew competed in tournaments and wanted to be a professional gamer. Andrew’s father, Frank recalls a time Jamie came to visit them in Florida. The two would put their toys on the ceiling fan, and watch as they were flung around the room.

When asked a favorite memory, Janice struggled. Through tears, she said, “All of them.” His father recalls a time while they were hunting. If a gunshot would go off, Andrew would exclaim, “Oh! There goes a rifle shoot!”

“He never thought he was funny despite everyone telling him he was.” His father said.

An Unjust Tragedy

Andrew was two blocks away from the train station, walking to his apartment when he was struck by an SUV going 40 miles per hour. The driver did not call 911 and fled the scene of the crash.

“Why didn’t she call the police?” Janice asks. “The worst part is not knowing if he was thinking about us or not while he was lying there dying.”

A motorist found his body the next day. After seeing a person had been killed on the news, the driver turned herself into the police. She told them she had been drinking with some friends the night before. She had taken her eyes off the road and hit a dark figure; she thought it was a deer.

The driver was sentenced to probation and community service.

This was not justice in the eyes of Janice Tillmann, Frank Miller, and the friends and loved ones left behind. They believe there should have been additional sentencing requirements and are disappointed and hurt by the judicial system.

Since the crash, Andrew’s parents continue to stay in touch with his friends and Laila. They visit his grave on his birthday and attend Walk Like MADD as a team every year.

 

They continue to share stories and live through so many memories of him like a clipping from a dream board Andrew made with aspirations. Andrew’s mom believes it was a great way to describe him:

 

I’m going to live joyful, nice, creative, healthy and kind. I will do favors for people. I will have a smile on my face, I also will be brave, handsome, sweet, funny, strong, big, interesting, and I will live in peace.

He is missed. No one should have to go through the pain of losing a loved one to a selfish choice.