Fargo, ND (WDAY/WDAZ News) – Sunday is World Remembrance day for road traffic victims.
It’s a time where North Dakotans honor loved ones they’ve lost through the DOT’s “Virtual Crash Memorial Wall.”
One of the names listed on that wall: Allison Deutscher.
“It’s been tough, just knowing that the whole event could’ve been prevented,” said Lynn Mickelson, Allison Deutscher’s Father.
The evening of July 6th, 2012, two highway patrol officers came to the Michelson’s home to deliver a message that no parents want to receive.
His daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter, had been hit by a drunk driver on I-94.
The driver’s blood alcohol level was three times over the legal limit.
“First thing they said that Allison did not survive. Next thing, they told us Aaron didn’t. And I said I thought Brielle would’ve. But that was the hardest one. When I heard Brielle didn’t make it,” said Mickelson.
Brielle was only 18-months old, just learning to talk.
“Mac cheese, macaroni and cheese. “Mac cheese” she would say that,” said Mickelson.
They were headed to a family reunion to share some exciting news:
“They we’re going to make the announcement to the family that they we’re expecting a new baby,” said Mickelson.
Instead of celebrating a new addition, the Michelson’s instead had to make funeral arrangements for Allison, Aaron, Brielle and their unborn grandchild.
Lynn Michelson is now able to look at pictures and smile, remembering the happy memories he shared with his family, but he says the pain will never go away.
“You never are supposed to experience the death of your own children,” said Mickelson.
He now shares his tragic story with students in North Dakota and Minnesota and he says he’ll continue to channel his grief by raising awareness, exposing the dangers of drunk and distracted driving so that no other family has to experience the loss his family did.
Last year alone, 131 people died in motor vehicle crashes on North Dakota roads.