The date: October 7, 2007. Place: 18th Ave. and Anson St., Marshalltown. Event: An illegal alien with a fake driver’s license ran 2 stop signs, crossed 3 lanes, and broadsided us at a high rate of speed and rolled our van over. My Mother: Dead. My husband: Broken back, broken hand, 4 broken ribs, many lacerations including glass still embedded in his face. My Dad: Eight crushed ribs, abdominal injuries and surgery, dead spouse. Myself: Dead Mother, lacerations, broken ribs. Another passenger with us — lacerations.
Now for the consequences. For the illegal alien driving — a stop sign violation. The fine—$0. Apparently when one is looking for a better life there is no money for fines! For the owner of the vehicle allowing someone to drive without a license — fines and court costs totaling $182. Apparently ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) took the driver and we assume she was deported. We have no closure as we don’t even know what happened to the woman who killed my mother. The court record states that she no longer requires supervised probation (for a prior charge) since she is out of the country. We do wonder if she is back in the US with new fake papers. We probably will never know. When others have been deported we hear wailing about families being separated. Our family was broken. In our case the illegal alien was into family disruption — our family. So we are left holding the bag — medically, emotionally and financially.
The consequences for our family have been somewhat higher! Already the medical costs are approaching a half million dollars. The amount of pain, both physical and emotional is beyond description. Family and friends have to deal with the loss of my mother — a very vibrant and active woman. My Dad has lost his soul mate and now lives with us as he recovers. Dad spent 2 weeks at the University of Iowa and endured surgery, ICU and unbelievable pain. My husband had surgery for his broken back, spent 2 weeks in the hospital and now 2 months after surgery is still working hard to recover. The lifelong implications are still unknown. I took a month off work and still provide care for my Dad and husband. As for the teen with us — who knows what the psychological consequences are? Plus the amount of paperwork for insurance is nearly a fulltime job. Another hidden cost is the disability that my husband’s employer pays while he can’t work.
So the next time you hear the phrase “they’re just looking for a better life”, you might just wonder at whose expense. We accessed the Iowa Court online public information. What a list of charges we found for the driver and the owner of the vehicle that hit us. There was a long list including but not limited to methamphetamine, OWI twice, assault causing bodily injury, child endangerment — multiple charges, passing a stopped school bus, disorderly conduct, failure to have a valid license — the driver of the vehicle (to solve that she got a fake license), failure to have a valid license (multiple charges for the owner of the vehicle), serious assault, no insurance, failure to have vehicle registration, etc. When illegal aliens break the law to get into the US why should anyone be surprised when they continue to break laws?
I do feel sorry for the families fleeing a totalitarian type of government. Our forefathers were there more than 200 years ago. Our answer was to throw off the yoke and make this country a good place to live. I suggest these illegal aliens use their energy to do the same in their home country.
At this point many yell the word “racist”. Not so. Our family understands how to legally bring someone to the US. We adopted 4 children from other countries. We followed all the rules — getting fingerprinted at the police station, filling out numerous documents, paying all fees — in other words, following the laws of the US. Our first international adoption was in 1974 and at that time all aliens had to report to the post office to show the alien registration card yearly. Of course, we did that as it was the law.
We also fostered children from other countries who came to the US for medical care. Paperwork was difficult, but again we did it. I can’t imagine trying to sneak them into the US even though some came for lifesaving open heart surgery. There is a process in place for coming to the US whether it’s for adoption, immigration or even a tourist visa.
There were some good parts in the past few bleak months. The tremendous outpouring of love, support, and prayers from many friends and relatives was unbelievable. The local police have been fantastic — they are brilliant and caring. What a comfort Marshalltown Police Officer Rick Lang was at the Emergency Room. An off duty policeman (Officer Hanken) arrived soon after the accident and was a godsend to me as he took over attending to my Mom before the EMT’s arrived. That let me help others injured in our van. The firefighters came with the “jaws of life”. So many at MMSC and the University of Iowa Hospital were wonderful. After 2 weeks in the hospital, my husband needed medical equipment — walker, wheelchair, etc. We were so surprised that we could borrow the items from Hellberg’s Jewelry Store — they store and check out the items for the American Legion Post # 46. Friends brought food and offered to help in any way they could. Many put us on prayer chains. Ladies who didn’t even know me hand made a prayer shawl. Our children appeared to do all fall yard work, firewood for the winter, etc. Neighbors tended to our home while we were gone. The list goes on and on.
As for the rest of the story — we continue to heal and grieve. We count our blessings for what we still have. As for the people responsible for our grief — you may wonder if they ever contacted us to express any sorrow. The answer is no. Perhaps they were busy “looking for a better life”.