"I wanted him to be in his bed. He would normally be in his bed. And he wasn’t.”
To say it’s been an emotional couple of weeks for Donna and Roger Stief would be an understatement.
“Grieving is a really strange thing. There’s times where you couldn’t pick me up off the floor if you tried, and there’s other times where we’re just acting normal. Doing dishes. Laughing,” said Donna.
Their son, 16 year-old Jack Nicholson, was driving with his friends Meghan Keeney and Rylan Beebe late last month.
It was Meghan’s 17th birthday, and the three were going to get something to eat to celebrate when their car was one of seven stuck by an erratic driver.
Jack and Meghan both died from injuries sustained in the crash. Rylan is still recovering.
At last report, the woman responsible, 62 year-old Debra Slaymaker-Walker, was unconscious in the hospital.
“She didn’t wake up saying, 'What’s on the checklist today? Let’s kill two kids.' An accident happened. It could happen to you, it could happen to anyone in this county," said Roger.
They say they hold no anger towards Slaymaker-Walker, instead offering sympathy knowing she will have to live with this for the rest of her life.
They are also choosing to remember the bright soul that Jack was, and to celebrate the legacy he’s left behind…a legacy they’re learning about for the first time.
“One of the things we’re finding out since he passed is he really was an advocate for the underdog or anybody that was struggling or being picked on. But we had no idea the extent that he carried that out," said Donna.
They’re choosing to celebrate the community and the incredible outpouring of support they’ve received.
“We just want to thank people and let them know, you really matter to us. Every single word meant so much to us and is embedded in our hearts forever,” said Donna.
And choosing to be happy for Jack, because they say he is now living his best life in heaven.
“Jack is alive. He went from life to life. And he’s doing good. Jack’s doing good,” said Donna.
So far no charges have been filed in the crash.
The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office is working with police to investigate.
They would not comment on the condition of Slaymaker-Walker, or if they have been able to speak with her yet.