May 18, 2016

Joie Sellers - a 12 year old victim of impaired driving in Brooklyn, New York

Joie Sellers
Joie Sellers, age 12, died on July 2, 2014, on a street in Brooklyn, New York City.

Just before 5:00 p.m. on that day in 2014, Joie was walking on the sidewalk in the Flatlands neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. She was in the company of her mother and her little sister, who was then 9 years old.

A van which had been stolen by Robert DeCarlo, then age 26, drove up onto the sidewalk and crashed into Joie and her family.

Tragically, Joie died at the scene. Her young sister underwent several operations including brain surgery and was in a coma for weeks. Their mother suffered pelvic fractures.

Robert DeCarlo fled the scene of the collision. He turned himself into the Police the following day.

He had been speeding at 50 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone when he lost control of the van. He was also high on drugs at the time. He had a lengthy prior criminal record.

Robert DeCarlo, of Brooklyn, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and assault. He was sentenced on May 16, 2016 to 5 to 15 years in prison.

Robert DeCarlo tearfully stated: "I'm so sorry for the pain I caused. I'll live with this the rest of my life. I have an addiction and will use my time to change. I hope you can
Robert DeCarlo
find it in your heart to forgive me."

Joie's grandmother graciously stated at Robert DeCarlo's sentencing: "Don’t say you’re sorry. Sorry won’t bring Joie back. You can change and become a productive member of society. Mr. DeCarlo, I want you to serve your 15 years and change for the better, don't be destructive to society."

Hindsight is 20-20. However we offer this advice to all drivers: If you find that you are drunk, wasted or doped up on street drugs or prescription drugs or if you are falling asleep on your feet, do NOT drive. Call a family member or a friend for a ride; or take a taxi or a bus; or stay where you are until you sober up; or crawl home on your hands and knees. It will be better for you and for the world if you do.

Regret can last a lifetime.

Joie was a sweet girl who was happy. She was kind in spirit. She loved ballet dancing and reading.

Joie's loved ones have suffered an unspeakable loss. Oceans of tears have been shed for this young girl who died so needlessly.

Joie is survived by many loving family members and friends who will forever miss her.

God save us from the drunk and the doped up drivers. They are killing us, Father. Amen.

Joie is with God in Heaven.

No comments: