The Story of How He Died

Dec 27, 1953 - Aug 14, 2008


"Five years ago Faith Quick,
 hit my dad from behind in her pickup, 
and ran over him.
He died at the scene, 
in the arms of a bystander, 
while asking the bystander to call his wife.
Faith Quick received a sentence 
of five days in jail
and one year of probation 
to one count of misdemeanor DUI,
for being under the influence of marijuana 
while driving.
I do not know if 
14/08 means anything to her,
but to me 
its the day 
my dad 
was taken away."

Faith Quick Tucson Arizona
Faith Quick
I still vividly remember getting that phone call  on August 14th, 2008.  My heart had broken earlier that day due to another unrelated matter and I had no idea that my world would then go on to be shattered into pieces. It was my husband’s cell phone that rang and he who took the call from my mother.  From my husband’s military way of taking the call I had no idea what she could have possibly been telling him on the phone.  My head was already whirling around other problems in my life.  When Ryan got off the phone and told me that there had been an accident and my father had been killed it was as if he was speaking a foreign language.  My dad? No. No, certainly not. My mind could not even begin to accept it.  I actually thought he had said his dad had died and had corrected him.  He told me again and it cracked through my defenses.  It all hit me at once and I broke out in a fit of tears speaking out loudly ‘no, no, no, no’ until my voice shook so much that my voice broke and I was full on crying in a way I had never experienced before.


I remember my sons laughing.  They were only three and and one years old at the time and not understanding the type of reaction coming from their mum.  Ryan had to explain to them that I had just received some very bad news, but how do you tell your sons their grandfather was killed?  I made two  phone calls once I could speak again.  Once to call my mum back who seemed way more in control of the situation than I was and one to my best friend  Tammy to let her know and tell her I would be going to the mainland immediately for the funeral preparations. Everything else is a blur.  I remember vaguely sitting on a plane wearing sunglasses and sobbing during most of the six hours of flight travel from Hawaii to Arizona.


There was a lot of silence during the drive from the Tucson airport to my parent’s house across town.  When we reached the gated community it all hit me and I started crying again and then again when I got inside and found my mum’s arms to run into. There was a lot more crying to happen during those first weeks from the three of us Nystrom women who had lost our father, our husband, our friend.  We would not be alone in our grief as their were many others who would be pained and in tears.  His friends, his church family, his coworkers, and all his students from the school where he taught after retiring from the USAF.  We never got a chance to say goodbye.  He was ripped from our lives so fast and so unfairly.  All it takes is a moment.  That moment happened five years ago today.


This is my story.
I tell it because you never know how much time you have with those you love.  My father served as an officer in the USAF since the age of seventeen, was the navigator and bombardier on the F-111 fighter jet during the first Gulf War, and stayed in the military for over thirty years.  As a military spouse my mum had prepared herself over the years for that official visit, if perchance something were to have happened to my dad.  Who would have thought that it would not be a man in a military uniform at her door, but a man in a police uniform and a matter that would have taken place on US soil that would have claimed his life?


I tell this story because I would not wish this on anyone else.  Sadly my story is so similar to many stories out there. Stories of families broken up because their loved one was killed on their bicycle by someone driving a car, a truck, or a bus.  My dad is not the only one to have the local police department fail to do their job correctly.  Every year more die.


This is a story of a girl named Faith Quick, who lived in Tucson, Arizona.  Faith Quick had been charged twice by the police department.  The first a drunk and disorderly charge and the second for narcotics possession.  Faith Quick had been able to go through Diversion for both cases, something that should only ever happen once. Diversion provides many first-time offenders of specified categories of misdemeanors an opportunity to participate in relevant counseling rather than proceeding through the court system and establishing a criminal record.  To be fair, Faith Quick should have only gone through Diversion once and had had a criminal record with the narcotics charge.  On August 14th, 2008 Faith Quick was driving in a truck with her boyfriend while under the influence of drugs. Sadly like her name, Quick, she was too much in a hurry and driving too quick to observe what the other drivers around her were doing or notice the man with his bicycle.


This is a story of  a retired  USAF officer, a school teacher, a husband, a father, and grandfather.  A man who instead of renting a car while his was down for repairs, decided to be green for the environment and take a series of buses with his bicycle every day to and from work to the other side of town.  On this day he was headed to meet my mother and sister at a restaurant just across the street from where the incident took place.  He was so close to having met them, so close to having made it safely to them.  It is a wonder they did not see my father’s mangled bicycle as they headed home another way, due to the stopped traffic, wondering where my dad was and why he did not show up to the restaurant or answer his phone.


This is a story of why you should always be present and fully aware of your surroundings when operating a motor vehicle.  Why you should never get behind the wheel if you have any drugs in your system and for good measure let me add never ever touch your phone while driving.
Five years ago today on August 14, 2008, Charles Nystrom, my father and grandfather to my kids, was struck and killed. Cars in the two right lanes had stopped to let him cross. A third vehicle, driven by Faith Quick, changed lanes to the inside lane where she hit, ran him over, and dragged him a bit further. The local media reported that “the cyclist failed to yield…”, yet did not report that the driver, Faith Quick, was arrested and later charged with DUI for marijuana. They media did care to share the truth about a man in his fifties, and instead took advantage of the students he taught to show footage of children crying over the sudden loss of their teacher because it was better for their ratings.  I believe they later apologized to my mother after being confronted about their actions.


This is a story about how the driver, Faith Quick, later was sentenced to a mere 5 days in jail for accounts of being under the influence of drugs.  She was never charged for more or a higher charge because there had been no criminal record or paper trail to build a case on her prior charges and offenses.  The two cases of Diversion had seen to that.  Had someone done their job correctly before perhaps I would be writing this story differently.


This is a story about the Tucson Police Department and how history shows they side with the drivers not the cyclists.  Due to the massively faulty police work on the scene, the insurance company USAA would not side with my father's case.  My mum went on to hire a bike lawyer and hired two professionals who highly knowledgeable in the laws of the road, cycling laws, car accidents, etc.  They both were able to determine that my father was in the clear for his actions that day and that there was no way my father could have yielded to someone behind him driving in a motor vehicle.


For such a great, kind, and giving man who served 30+ years as an officer USAF and a VFW from his time spent fighting in the Gulf War I still get very upset about how little the TPD did. Not to mention somewhere between the scene to the hospital his rings were stolen and never returned.


Faith Quick has still never been charged for my father’s death nor has she spoken any words to my family.  When her sentenced was carried out my mum was in the room.  Faith Quick had been upset that she would have to go to jail for five days and that her request to still go to work during those five days was denied.  No remorse for the bad choices made or the life that was taken, but was upset because she could not make money at work for five days.  Faith Quick now resides in Phoenix, Arizona.


My father was laid to rest at the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado where he started his career with the USAF with the class of 1975. A ghost bike was prepared and placed in the location of the scene where he died by my family as a reminder of his life that was lost and to all those who drive past to share the road.



This picture was taken in 2010, the last time I was able to visit with my dad at the USAF Academy.


SHARE THE ROAD.
Live Aloha. Remember Charles.



Please before you ever get behind the wheel make sure you are in the right state of mind to drive.  Never drive if you have drugs in your system, if you have been drinking, are sleepy, or have issues on your mind that would take away from your focus on the road.  You are sharing the road with many other lives. There is nothing so important that you have to be impatient, rush, speed, or check your phone.  All it takes is a moment.  Make good moments and good choices by being a safe driver.


*Photographs of my father belong to my family and Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 - 2013 All rights reserved | www.bonnie-rose.co.uk 




50 comments:

  1. Bonnie, this was so sad to read as it is bad enough to lose a parent, but to have to cope with all the unfairness of what came after - I admire your honesty and strength. My husband lost his mother in much the same way (he was 14 years old). She was only 30 years old and out cycling as she normally did and was hit from behind by a truck by a driver who was known by the local police to be dangerous (drinking and health issues). They had spoken to him many times about it and then he killed her. They went to court and nothing happened to him except he had to pay just over $300. My husband was crushed that this man got away with it and her life amounted to $300. I am also so sad to hear that by the sounds of it, and what you had experienced with your father's death, that not much has changed with how they are investigated and perceived. It is heartbreaking.
    I wish you and your family well on this day as I am sure there will be moments of great sadness at remembering his paasing but also great joy at remembering his life and the impact he had. I lost my father about 8 months ago (not to an accident but a very short illness) and know that I will always remember him and it is bittersweet at the moment. Your strength gives me and others strength. Thank you xXx

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  2. It was so moving to read your post. I'm so sorry for you loss for you're so brave and candid about it. I lost both of my grandparents in a car accident 3 years ago. It was the worst phone call I've ever taken in my life. I haven't ever blogged about that day because I don't think that I have the strength to yet. I so deeply admire that you can.


    I'm sure he'd be so proud of what you've accomplished in life over the past few years and how deeply he impacted the lives of others, and with such joy! My thoughts and prayers are with you today. xx

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  3. I am so sorry for your loss. Losing him like that. I can't imagine what it must have been like for you and your family.
    And it's very brave of you to write about it on your blog.
    My thoughts are with you today. Lots of love to you and your family!

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  4. Such a tragedy, Bonnie. I'm so sorry for this loss that you must experience every day. Thank you for sharing your story. Blessings to all of you.
    xoxo
    Selena

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  5. Dear Bonnie,
    That is indeed a very sad story and it is awful how people try to evade responsibility... How they think they are alone in this world or how they think that only they are important in this world... and to think that in turn this girl will have a child and be raised by such a mother, with such standards... it is just sad :(
    I am sorry for your loss and I am sorry your children never grew up to know what an awesome grandfather they had :(
    With love,

    The LadyBug

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  6. Oh Bonnie, my darling, how brave you were to write this and it needed to be written. If even one person reading is shaken to leaving that cell phone call, or walking home from the bar, not driving, then it would be for the better. For a great man to have been lost in this was is nothing short of a tragedy, not just for you, but in many ways for the whole of the States. My thoughts are with you. I hope your blog post will bring knowledge and understanding to many., many peopl. Much love xxx

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  7. So sad, so beautifully written

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  8. So tragic- I'm sorry for your family's loss. Stay strong today and everyday, it can't be easy. How brave of you to share your story with all of us through this post, which was beautifully written.

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  9. So beautifully written and your words are so bittersweet... that while such a sad, tragic thing has happened to you, you have managed to help to teach others lessons through it. Thinking of you today :)

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  10. Gees, Bonnie. I'm crying right now for you. Of course, I knew your dear Father had passed, but I didn't know under what circumstances and reading this was like a shock to the system. I just want to grab you and give you a big hug and tell you how proud your Daddy would be of you and your beautiful family and the life you've created since he left this earth.


    My Mother's Father & unborn baby brother were killed and her Mother seriously injured by drunk driver back in 1965. My Mum was six at the time and saw the accident herself as it happened when her father was pulling into the driveway. The driver of the car simply drove away and nothing ever happened to him or her. I know those were different days but it makes me so angry for my Mum and her family and for you and your family. Drugs/Drink are dangerous things and anyone who would ever think to drive a vehicle in that situation is immediately cast out of my life.

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  11. Bonnie, I'm so sad for you. I never knew the circumstances of your father's death, and I cannot ever begin to imagine how you feel. I also want to comment on how brave and strong you are for writing about this. It's for a great cause. So many people are injured or killed because of careless, reckless, and intoxicated drivers. It's just unimaginable that a man who sounds so great can be taken from his family because of another low-life person. I know I don't know you or your family, but I know that you are a very inspiring woman and your dad would be so proud of everything that has happened since his passing. I'm keeping you in my thoughts.

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  12. This is so sad. The legal system is crap when it comes to charging drunk drivers. A guy who had TWO prior DUI's hit and killed my roommates 41 year old brother 20 days before Christmas in 2011. The guy got one year in jail with one year probation. That is it. And he has a chance to get out early on good behavior. That does not exactly discourage drunk driving. I am very sorry that your family had to go through this, it is something that no family should ever have to deal with. Thank you for writing this and bringing attention to this issue and for honoring your fathers memory. I am so sorry for you loss and am thinking of you and your family today.

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  13. I am so sorry for your loss. Laws definitely need to change int he US. I live in South Dakota and last summer a man was killed on his bike by a drunk man diving 60 MPH on a 30 MPH road. This was his FOURTH DUI and he was under the age of 25!!!!!! I remember reading that and wondering how the hell someone with that many crimes was even out of jail at this point. I really hope things change because as a God loving gal I know forgiveness is key, but I can't imagine how hard forgiveness would be if one of my loved ones was taken away in this manner! My love and prayers go out to you and your family!

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  14. This must have been a very difficult post to write! Sending you hugs!

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  15. I am so deeply sorry for your lost. As I read along it made my heart hurt for you. I too lost a parent in an accident and know the pain their absence leaves behind. Sending healing thoughts your way.

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  16. I'm so sorry for your loss. I had tears in my eyes when reading your post, that must have been a very difficult one to write. Sending you hugs through the internet.

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  17. I'm so sorry for your loss. Must have been very hard to write down x

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  18. I don't know what to say to make you feel better... Wish I could give you a big hug. Sorry for your loss, Bonnie. xoxo

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  19. i'm so sorry to hear what happened bonnie. i know it's not an easy story to write. i hope all went as best it could on the anniversary and that you were surrounded by your family. love you friend. if you need to vent, you know where to find me : )

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  20. When I saw the title of the post I wasn't sure I could read it. My Dad is the love of my life and I felt like reading about your Dad's death would just be too much for me, but I kept reading to honor your Dad. I am so sorry for your loss. I literally despise Faith. I hope someone forwards this blog post to her and she takes your words into her heart. If you ever need to talk please know that I'm here for you!!! I'm sending you HUGE hugs!

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  21. I just read this. I'm glad I am at home so I can cry. You said it all.

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  22. Thank you for opening your heart to us Bonnie and showing us how important it is to value every second we have with our loved ones. xx.

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  23. Thank you so much Andi that is so lovely, its nice to know that and thank you for the hugs! x

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  24. Thank you Chelsea, I greatly appreciate knowing that and knowing how loss can be hard, even years after. x

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  25. Thank you so much for commenting Rachel, that means a lot to me and I appreciate it! x

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  26. It is but nice to be able to open up to such lovely readers. x

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  27. It was one of the harder ones to write. Thank you so much for the internet hugs, it means so much to me. x

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  28. Thank you Nicole. It really is tough losing a parent, I am so sorry you share this same pain. Thank you for the healing thoughts. x

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  29. It was def the harder one to write. Thank you for the hugs sweet Patricia x

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  30. OMG. you have to be kidding me? It sucks to hear these stories...because they really do happen so often, and things that should never had happened. Forgivenss is def hard. I can forgive if someone wants forgiveness. So its harder for me to forgive when people dont want it or take up the blame. :( Working on it.

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  31. Really is sad because it happens so much. Oh that is so sad about your roommates brother. My heart ached reading about it in your comment. It just sucks because you wouldnt wish this on anyone. But my dad was so wonderful and so giving and so happy, to have all that taken away so soon...for that. Rubbish. x

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  32. Thank you...i wasn't sure, and it was hard to write, but once I got going I couldnt stop until I had finished the post. Its the most I've written about it since it happened. I really appreciate your sweet comment though and I really appreciate all the support. Thank you so much Samantha you are so sweet.

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  33. Thank you Casey it was tough one to write. I really do hope it helps others and reminds others as that was the purpose as you mentioned. Thank you Casey again I really appreciate your support.

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  34. Thank you Kayli. It was a tough one to write, but thank you for all your love and support.

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  35. Thank you girl. It means a lot that you commented. x

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  36. Indeed. Thank you for taking the time to share your support with me. I really appreciate it.

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  37. I hope so...so hope so. I have been in the cars where men especially drive with their phones in their pocket and while driving reach for it an then answer it and it makes me tense up so much. It really is something I wish more people were aware about. Thank you for all the love and support Holly.

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  38. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your love and support. It is such as sad thing to have happened that really should not have and how sad that just a moment is all it takes to change someones life.

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  39. Thank you for reading it and sharing your support with me. It means so much Selena. Was a tough day and week and took me a bit to go back and look through the comments I really appreciate your words! x

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  40. Thank you Susanne. It was tough post to write, but then once I got going I just wanted to share and hopefully bring about awareness. Thank you for your love and support. Sorry I didnt reply back sooner, took a bit for me to go back and read the comments on this post especially. x

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  41. Oh i bet Amanda. I couldnt imagine losing more than one person you love in a tragic event like that. It is the first time I've said so much about it, but has taken five years. I still havent heard anything from the girl who did it. Shes never mentioned a word to my mum, so I guess I felt inspired to write it so maybe she would reach out to my mum. Thank you for your love and support Amanda. x

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  42. Thank you so much Molly for such a lovely comment. How horrible that it is not a lone case and it happens so much. My heart broke reading that story...especially for the amount of money that gets put to a human life. So sad that years later it still is something not being taken seriously. I hope that if anything the post will help others and inform others to make smart choices. Thank you again Molly! x

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  43. Thank you so much Jade. It took me a bit to go back and read the comments. I kinda just posted it and then didnt want to look at it much. Looking through all the comments today brought me so much comfort. I really appreciate your love and support! That story broke my heart Jade about your Mum's family. Its sad that nothing much has changed through the years. Drugs/Drink/Emotions can be so deadly and costly when it comes to adding a vehicle to the mix. You know in Arizona where my last drivers license is from, the licenses do not expire for many many years. I mean i think mine expires in 2030 something or something insane like that. There are a lot of retirees in that state, and it seems a shame to have something like that...age, that could affect drivers too. Just so many factors that should be better regulated. :( Thank you for the comments on this. x

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  44. That is understandable. Things like these are close to your heart and that means you can take all the time you want. :)

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  45. Wow.


    My heart hearts for you, Bonnie. What a tragedy...


    I was so emotional while reading it and I could hear the emotion through your words. I hope I never have to go through anything remotely like what you experienced.


    I applaud your bravery in opening up about it and using your story to help prevent other deaths like this from happening.


    And, there was a moment when I was angry and enraged at the justice system while reading it. Here we have a kid who was wearing a hoodie who went on trial for his own murder, for doing nothing but walking down the street -- and the man who killed him -- and there is no doubt he killed him as he confessed to it -- walks free forever. And then you have your dad, who was riding his bike and being green and just going about his day, and a woman who just... gets five days, a pat on the hand, and goes free. And this is considered justice.


    But I also trust that there's a bigger story -- one much bigger than we can ever understand. And so it comforts me that as a whole, I believe everything is working out to the greater good. It's little comfort sometimes when the pain hits so closely and impacts someone so personally, but do know that your story is helping so many people.


    Thanks for your bravery and your strength. Lots of hugs dear Bonnie.

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  46. This made me tear up. I felt so much anger and sadness reading this. I can imagine it must have taken a lot of courage to write this, compile the pictures, and upload it online for everyone to read. Charging the accused appropriately for her crime wouldn't have brought you closure, but it would have brought you a little closer to it.


    What you've written is about so much more than what it seems at surface level. It's about the tragic loss of a great person, but it's also about taking responsibility for your actions, respecting others, peaceful coexistence, sturdy work ethic and so much more.

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I love to interact with my readers and I try my best to respond back to all comments.

Cheers,
Bonnie Rose

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