Kathleen A. Campion Foundation
P.O. Box 4131

Clifton Park, New York 12065

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Kathleen A. Campion Foundation
P.O. Box 4131
Clifton Park, New York 12065
Fax 518 373-1754


Victim Impact Statement

This statement was written to be read during court proceedings in April, 1990.  Victims were not guaranteed the right, by law, to speak in court but were permitted to speak at the court’s discretion.  However, permission for a family member to read this statement at a combined plea and sentencing proceeding was not granted, and the District Attorney did not offer to read the written narrative of behalf of the family.

Kathleen A. Campion
June 16 1968-March 18, 1989 

On March 18, we lost life’s most precious gift, our child.  Even though she was twenty years old, Kathleen was still our loving child.  No words can begin to describe what effect her death has had on us (my husband, and our two remaining children)  Kristine, eighteen, and Patrick, ten.  We all pray daily for the strength to go on another day because, at the end of each day, there is no remaining strength left.

My husband and I were called to the scene of the crash while our eighteen year old daughter waited at home, helplessly, watching her ten year old brother who was sleeping.  She did not know what was happening.  We stood at the crash scene with the alcohol-impaired driver in front of us on a stretcher with no visible injuries, reeking of alcohol.  Our daughter was in an upturned car, trapped, for what seemed an eternity.  Dan and I then spent twelve agonizing hours at the hospital as our beautiful, innocent daughter lay dead, but not clinically, of massive brain injuries.  The end was grotesque.  We watched Kathy’s head swell to larger proportions every hour.  We watched our beautiful daughter’s face change so that no one would ever have recognized her.  The nurse told us that this was normal in serious brain injuries.  She said, “I bet that she was a beautiful girl before this happened.”  Dan and I now have the horrifying memory imbedded in our brain.  Every minute of the day and night, it haunts us.  I cry out in agony at times, and Patrick runs to my side and asks what is wrong.  How can I describe the picture of what I am seeing?  There is no greater pain than to see your child lying in a hospital, and there is nothing you can do to help.  Why did we bring her into the world to suffer such a senseless, tragic death?  Kathy’s life flashed before us and the life that she now would never have-graduation from college, and then law school, a wedding day, the birth of a child.  Her life just snuffed out.  No one has the right to take another life like this.

Dan and I watched Kathleen grow into a mature, happy, responsible citizen.  She never gave us any trouble.  The irony of her death is that she was killed by what she hated most-drinking drivers.  Kathy was following her dream to become and attorney, hoping to one day prosecute drinking drivers.  She wanted to do her part to stop the senseless deaths and injuries on the highways.  At an early age, she saw the need for this.  Kathy was a junior at SUNY Albany, a Dean’s list student majoring in Criminal Justice and Political Science.  When asked by the priest before the funeral to describe Kathy’s childhood, I told him that Kathy was never a child.  Her maturity was always far ahead of her peers.  Her future was promising.  She was a special girl full of love and joy to share with others.  Her quick wit was enjoyed by all.  Our Kathy had a sharp and inquiring mind and was compassionate and also determined.

Her loss cannot be described in words.  If I had the choice twenty years ago of having her for twenty, wonderful, loving , fulfilling years and then tragically losing her, or never having her at all, I would have chosen not to give birth to her.  No one could have loved a child more.  I not only lost my loving daughter, but a best friend.  We were very close.  I can’t think straight anymore.  My depression is deepening. It is difficult for me to accomplish half of what I used to accomplish.  I have no more ambition.  My husband and I devoted our lives to our children.  Our children always came first.  We decided to become a one income family so I could stay home with the children.  Dan, Kathy’s father, has lost over forty pounds since her death and has suffered chest pains so severe that he has had Angioplasty.  He is barely able to sleep.  He wakes up at 1:15 every night reliving the crash.  He lays awake until 5:30 when he gets up.  His severe depression has affected his decision making ability.  His job security depends on the ability to make sound decision.  Every day when he leaves for work, I wonder if this is his last day at work, and if I’ll have to go to work to support us.  Dan suffered a heart attack fifteen ears ago, and at the time of his recent heart catheterization, was told that he probably would not survive another heart attack,  Now the stress of his daughter’s death has become a life and death situation to him.  Who takes care of us then?  Dan tells me that most of the people that he works with avoid him because they think that he looks so dazed.  Those who do stop to talk, tell him how distraught he looks.  He is truly a beaten man.  He lived and worked for his children.  They were his whole life.

Kristine, Kathy’s sister, cries herself to sleep.  I hear her sobbing every night.  She has not only lost her sister but her best friend.  I think the stress of Kathy’s death is the contributing factor to her recent stomach troubles and severe headaches.

Patrick, ten, has not only lost his sister, but his second mother and teacher as well.  I am certain he will bear emotional scars.  He now has to sleep with a light on in his room.  He has lost his chance for a normal childhood.  Kathy had come home from living at the dormitory at Christmas to commute and guided Patrick as she studied, and as he did his homework.  She was always ready to answer his questions and nurture his growth.  Now she’s gone, and no one can answer his question of why she is dead.

Kathy’s two remaining living grandparents are suffering as well.  It was as if their child had been killed.  Her grandfather is suffering with more frequent angina pains.  Her grandmother just had two serious heart attacks.  The last one was almost fatal.  When will the pain end?

Kathy’s immediate family members are not the only victims.  Her boyfriend of over four years is having great difficulty living each day.  He finds no reason to plan for the future and physically dies not feel well.  Sharon, Kathy’s best friend and the driver of the car in which Kathy was a passenger, is struggling to survive each day.

What is all this for?  No one has the right to take someone’s life.  Just because the person who killed Kathy chose to drink and then drive, our family has a sentence of daily pain that grows greater each day.  But most important, Kathy lost her life, that precious gift.  The car can be a death machine.  It is no different than a loaded gun.  When someone mixes drinking and driving, the car becomes a weapon.  Kathy was innocent.  Now she is dead.  We will never see her beautiful smile again.  The sunshine of or lives is gone.  Her photograph is all we have left.  We might appear normal, but we are no longer really alive.  We are the living dead, void of everything.  It is clear that we died with Kathy.  We are living hell on earth.

Please punish the alcohol-impaired driver to the fullest extent of the law.  He chose to drink and drive.  It was his decision.  People have to be responsible for their actions if we are to keep the scales of justice balanced.  Maybe another life can be spared, as well as a family’s agony, if one person decides not to drink and drive because of prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law.  The alcohol-impaired driver who killed Kathy will have a chance some day to follow his dream.  Kathy won’t ever have that chance now because of his irresponsible actions.

Linda Campion