Note to readers: The following is an open letter from Patricia Schmidt, who was acquitted April 3 on charges of reckless homicide and aggravated reckless driving in a crash that killed Tim Getzelman and Lexi Weber.
To the parents of Tim
Getzelman and Lexi Weber:
All good defense attorneys will tell you, “No matter how sorry you are, do not talk to the families!”
Starting the evening of Monday, Feb. 21, 2011, I cried for the two young people who died in the accident, whose names I did not yet know.
I asked my attorney repeatedly if I could talk to someone in the young people’s families. Each time I was told, “absolutely not!” Please understand that in all my years, I have never had anything even close to this happen.
I was raised to say that I was sorry to the family of anyone who had passed on, no matter the circumstances, but especially this night and in this circumstance.
When I was finally told Tim’s and Lexi’s names and ages, my heartache for you became permanent in me. My faith teaches that souls entering Heaven are healthy, whole and worry free. I thanked God for that, however knowing their young lives were cut short made me cry more.
However, again your losses were always my concern, first and foremost. I know the pain of losing dear friends, friends’ children and my own parents, but I can’t imagine the anguish of losing a child you have loved and raised.
When you saw me sitting silently at the courthouse, it was not because I did not want to come apologize to you, but because of my attorney’s instruction. I tried to stay calm and pay attention, but I felt I was being cold and rude, not the way I was raised to behave.
Through these terrible three years, I’ve written many letters to you, but, they remained unsent. And because I felt it was unwise and perhaps you would find it disrespectful, I didn’t respond to any social media posts.
I have remained quiet publicly, but expressed all my feelings in counseling sessions, during which I learned that I needed to let my faith sustain me in my grief over Tim and Lexi. For three years I have prayed for grace and peace to enter your hearts, as well as mine.
I pray for your children every single day without fail. And on special days, like birthdays and such, I ask them to be extra close to you.
Now that I’ve explained why I have been silent and less than forthcoming about the accident with you directly, I want to tell you … I am sorry!
I don’t expect you to be able to forgive me. My remorse and regret over Tim’s and Lexi’s deaths are permanent and profound. I will not be applying for a driver’s license, ever.
Tim and Lexi, as I’ve discovered in these three years, were fantastic young people, who had wonderful plans for their futures, legions of faithful friends and proud parents and families.
I hope you don’t find it disrespectful of me to refer to them by their given names. I do so because I will be living with Tim and Lexi in my heart and mind till my last day.