Sunday, July 20, 2008

Going Home for the Playoffs

When their 16-year-old son Gabriel missed his Friday night curfew, Charles and Maureen Puccia started to fear the worst. They wouldn’t know for hours that Gabe had died with two teenage friends in a crash earlier that night.

Gabe’s night started out without much of a plan. He and some friends were supposed to meet at a pancake house, but only a few people showed up. That’s when Gabe and others headed home to watch the playoffs. None had been drinking, and they had only two miles to drive. But 17year-old Matt was going about twice the speed limit when the car veered off the road and hit a tree.

Gabe’s parents had to make several calls just to get the news.“He had one of those little earrings in his ear, and a special jacket he had bought in Italy,” Charles recalls. “And the guy at the hospital said,‘I think we have your son.’ Our grief is for Gabe’s loss, not our own — to not know what we could have done for him and to not watch him find whatever it was he wanted in life.”
Now the Puccias focus on their younger son, Emilio.“This is a case where we’re willing to go all the way, enforcing the graduated licensing law to the utmost and beyond.”

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