After suffering through the deaths of his five-year-old son, Carson, and his five-month-old daughter, Claire, you would expect Troy DeJoode to have trouble describing his loss.
“People oftentimes (say), ‘I don’t know how you (got through) it,” said DeJoode. Police said that a truck driven by a man named Kevin Dalasta slammed into the minivan driven by DeJoode’s wife, Heather on May 6, 2010. Heather was in a coma for one month. She is still recovering. After all he has been through you would never expect Troy DeJoode to find a reason to utter these words: “We’ve been relatively lucky.”
Despite every day of his life being changed for the worse, DeJoode has chosen to find the best in what each day has to offer. First, is son, Chase, survived the crash. So, did Heather. DeJoode explained, “Coming out of a coma does not happen like it does on Gray’s Anatomy or All My Children. I mean people just don’t wake up.” It has been a struggle, but Heather’s recovery from a traumatic brain injury is nothing short of miraculous. Troy explained, “She’s completely independent, can take care of herself, can drive herself.”
Heather can even golf. She’s the honorary chairwoman for the charity tournament that benefits the On With Life brain injury center in Ankeny. It is an avenue for the family to give back as a tribute to the people who have seen their story and supported them. Troy said, “On With Life has really given my wife her life back. It is not too much to say without going into specifics that there are people at On With Life who saved her life. She’s a lot farther (ahead in her recovery) than a lot of people get… probably than most people get.”
Most people never endure heartache like the DeJoodes. Troy said that kind words and offers of help from strangers have been overwhelming. “To this day, we get random cards in the mail from people saying, ‘We were thinking about you.’”
Troy said that they cannot escape what happened the afternoon of May 6, 2010 when heather loaded her three children into her minivan. Troy said, “We drive by the accident site. We have anniversary dates. Um, first day of kindergarten, things like that. It’s amazing what comes up in your day-to-day life.”
But Troy said that this is their new life and he and Heather are determined to live it. He added, “Things could continue to go worse. I’ve seen people with worse situations. You just learn to see what’s out there and to understand and appreciate what you do have.”
Kevin Dalasta is charged with two counts of vehicular homicide related to the crash. His trial is slated for July, 16th. It has been postponed several times due to health issues that may be linked to the accident.