Benefit Concert History Page


The 2016 Amy Memorial Benefit Concert
with Mike's special guest



with
The Bonfire Poets
five miles more, and
Patti and the Pick Ups

July 9, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
at Green Wood, 1001 Green Road, Ann Arbor, Mich

Click here for details.

Proceeds from this concert go to MADD and the Brain Injury Association of Michigan. Please help us spread the word about this show by clicking here.


2010 - Lisa's Senior Picture
May 22, 1997 - One of mom and dad's favorite photos of Amy. The chalk says "I (heart) my bike / I try hard / I don't quit / I know I can DO IT / who am I? AMY"

News

  • Lisa graduated from Adrian College in December of 2015 and is now pursuing ASL certification. Congratulations!

    Old News


    Photos

    Click any of the photos below to jump (some jump to pages, some to larger photo)

    Click the image below to see Amy's notes about drinking and drugs


    What Happened

    Amy Fedel was killed by a drunk driver on August 1, 1998, four days after her eighth birthday. Her little sister Lisa (5) was seriously injured and was in a coma for several weeks.

    Our Story

    At around 6 p.m. on Friday night, July 31, our family headed to northern Michigan for a weekend. Dad was planning to play the guitar with a church band at a service in Alpena on Sunday. We'd decided to go a day early so the girls would get to see the Mackinaw Bridge and play on the shores nearby.

    We stopped for dinner at a Big Boy restaurant. Amy and Lisa were excited to see a hot air balloon that dipped down to fifty feet or so across the street. We talked about maybe taking a hot air balloon ride next summer.

    Amy was her usual self during dinner: enthusiastic, funny, curious, playing with her sister. She had crab for dinner and ordered the hot fudge cake for dessert. She let it melt down a bit, then stirred together the fudge, the cake, and the melted ice cream. She said she was making a "soup" and invited the rest of the family to taste it.

    When we left the restaurant, Lisa and Mom had to use the girl's room, so Dad and Amy took a walk to the gas station next door. Dad bought himself a candy bar. As we walked back across the deserted yard between the restaurant, Amy commented on all the broken bottles, small car parts, and various other litter. (That was an ongoing subject for her. She'd often pick up bits of trash and throw them away if there a nearby trash can. She didn't understand why people wanted to "ruin the planet" as she said.)

    We got back into the Aerostar and started north again on I-75.

    At about the same time, there was a drunk driver coming north on the same road.

    The drive was uneventful. Amy spent most of the time in the back seat playing with Lisa and a new doll they'd got earlier.

    As it got later, Amy lost herself in a book. She'd brought several even though we were going to be gone only 2 days. She loved reading and often went through several books in one day. This might have been a Bailey School book or a Babysitter's Club book. (We still haven't determined exactly which book it was or whether it was recovered from the crash.)

    She was reading in the back seat using her flashlight for quite a while after dark. She finally proudly announced "I'm done now!", closed the book, put her head back against the seat, and fell asleep.

    Dad noticed a string of tail lights in the road ahead. In front of them was a double row of yellow lights. A semi truck had turned over on its side and traffic was stopped. There were a handful of cars already stopped. We slowed down, eventually stopped at the end of the line.

    The other driver didn't.

    From his report, he had his cruise control set at 70 M.P.H. By the time he noticed that the cars were not moving, it was too late to brake. There were no skid marks, he hit the back of our van at his full running speed.

    We would later learn that our beloved Amy was killed instantly.

    Lisa's injuries were also classified as severe but she survived. She was in a coma for several weeks and in hospital for several more. Lisa's treatment while in Petoskey was handled by a wonderful doctor named Dr. David Morris at Northern Michigan Hospital. She was transferred to Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor on August 20, then released for outpatient rehabilitation services on September 18.

    Mom and Dad were also taken to hospital. Jean suffered a tibial head fracture (a nasty type of broken leg) and three broken ribs. Mike had a broken scapula and cuts on the forehead.

    The driver pleaded guilty to 2 counts of OUIL, one causing death and one causing injury. (These were the charges for Amy and Lisa.) Similar charges for Mike and Jean were dropped in exchange for the plea.

    The driver was sentenced on February 2, 1999 to serve 4-to-15 years for OUIL causing Death (Amy) and 3-to-5 years for OUIL causing Injury (Lisa). In Michigan, these sentence are served concurrently. The actual time served will probably be less than 3 years.

    Announcements and other relevant links

    Link to MADD National Home Page

    MADD is the well-known national organization which does constant work to make people aware of the impact of drunk driving, to encourage legislative change.

    Link to The Compassionate Friends Home Page

    This is an organization for people who have lost childen. They are there to help people who are caught in this nightmare make it through the next day, the next week, the next year.

    Link to The Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan Home Page

    Lisa's injuries from the car crash have left her epilepsy to control for the rest of her life. The folks at this organization have been very helpful both in terms of education and advocacy.

    Link to The Brain Injury Association of Michigan Home Page

    This group is also very helpful in terms of advocacy and education for people with closed head injuries.

    Link to SAMHSA

    SAMHSA is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration webiste. This is the government-sponsored search engine of more than 20,000 drug and alcohol treatment providers, offering different methods and levels of care across the country.

    Link to Recovery First

    This is the most comprehensive overview of current research and statistics on drunk driving and DUIs that we could find on the web. The page includes more than 20 citations over governmental and academic authorities on the issue, as well as a discussion of prevention and treatment.

    Link to American Addiction Centers

    This is an excellent overview of the many types of legal consequences one must face for a DUI, aside from the obvious of jail, suspension and fines. Another good means of deterrence.