Tragedy Strikes Close to Home

Christie's friend, our next door neighbor, dies after battling injuries suffered after being struck by car while walking with Christie

For nearly two years we've been reporting on this site the status of Ali Meyer. She was a next door neighbor of ours. Christie was like a big sister to Ali. It is with great sadness that we report that Ali died suddenly in her home on the morning of November 22, 2002.

The cause of her death is not yet known. It was a shock to everyone, since she was slowly showing some signs of improvement. In fact, the Meyers were already constructing a large wing onto their home to handle Ali's special needs and equipment. Ali was 13 years old, and has one sibling, brother Greg.

Thanks of those of you who have sent cards to Ali and have prayed for her. If you wish to send condolences: Dennis and Val Meyer, 6886 West David Ave., Littleton, CO 80128

How it all began

On Saturday night, February 10, Ali and our daughter Christie were walking home together from a nearby convenience store. As they were crossing at an
intersection, Ali was struck by a hit & run driver. (Christie was just a few steps ahead of her.) Ali's body was thrown 93 feet. The driver was caught and arrested a short time later at his home. He was tracked down in part because the impact knocked the front plate off his Ford Explorer.
(See bottom for story of his day in court and sentence.)

What made the accident even more tragic was the fact that Ali's parents saw it happen! They were driving home at the time and saw a girl get hit by a car. They called 911, then went to help--and only then did they discover it was Ali.

Ali was in the intensive care unit at Childrens Hospital for five weeks, unconscious and in critical condition, with many fractures and some internal injuries. She then was moved up to the rehabilitation unit, where she officially came out of her coma, though she was barely conscious, responding occasionally by blinking her eye when asked questions..

Ali returned home

Ali came home from the hospital and had a much nicer environment for her recovery, being in familiar surroundings. She recovering very well from the physical injuries she sustained. But she still had many hurdles to overcome, including brain damage. She moved her body very little on her own; she had to be fed through a tube into her stomach; she was confined to a wheelchair; she didn't talk--she communicated by moving her head and blinking an eye for responses.

The driver was sentenced

The man who struck Ali, Dennis McNamara, lives just a quarter mile or so from us. His two children go to the same school as Ali. On that horrible night, McNamara sped from the scene and was pursued by a witness, who reported that McNamara tried to elude him by turning off his headlights and pulling down a side street.

McNamara pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and driving while impaired (DWI). (Note: a DWI is less drastic than Driving Under the Influence; but perhaps McNamara was DUI, but unfortunately the police didn't test McNamara until at least two hours after the accident.)

McNamara was sentenced to about two years in work release. That is, he works his daytime job for General Electric, then spends the rest of his time in the County Jail. After he serves his time, he'll have to do community service (in a hospital), and will be on probation for TEN years.

The sentence certainly could have been worse, with McNamara spending a year or two in state prison--but the Meyers, compassionate people that they are, didn't want to see McNamara's children suffer too much. The sentence was also a bit light when when considers that it was discovered that he had a drunk driving conviction ten years ago.
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And also keep Christie Mauser is your thoughts and prayers-she was like
a big sister to Ali, and is obviously distraught about what she witnessed. She's already been through so much pain in her life as it is...

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There was a public policy issue involved in this tragic story. It was the front license plate that helped convict this hit and run driver. Ironically, it is my own State Representative, Don Lee, who for the second time introduced a bill in the Colorado Legislature that would eliminate Colorado's front license plate. He claimed that it would save the State money, but as Ali's father Dennis Meyer says, this bill sounds "penny wise and pound foolish." Dennis Meyer asked Lee to drop his bill, but Lee would not do so.

Fortunately, Rep. Lee's bill failed. Hopefully we'll never see this foolish bill introduced again. If you live in a state with front plates, don't let them be removed! If you don't have a front plate, talk to law enforcement about the benefits of having them!

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