Speaking of Elizabeth

News | January 17, 2018

The knock on the door came at 4:15 a.m., just more than 10 years ago.

Kirby White’s beloved daughter, Elizabeth, had been killed by a person driving drunk, going the wrong way on an interstate. She was 19 years old, studying criminal justice at Des Moines Area Community College.

“It seems like it was just this morning,” Kirby said. “Time doesn’t stop, but it did for us. We’re seeing that time has moved on. That’s difficult for us.

“I don’t know how a lot of people live without faith,” he said.

Kirby is one of two parents who will present Sunday at St. Paul during the learning hour, 10:45-11:30 a.m. He and Stephanie Stebens, whose son Kaleb was critically injured by a person driving under the influence of alcohol, regularly present on victim impact panels for the Iowa Department of Correctional Services.

Kirby misses Elizabeth’s smile and spontaneity. She was extrovert, but also was a good listener, he said. She was very adamant about what she believed in, but very compassionate for other people.

Two families suffered tragedies that day, Kirby said. The driver of the other vehicle died, too. “I never forget to mention that when I talk. There are two suffering families. She didn’t do it on purpose. It was a bad choice.”

“When the coroner called me that morning…both of the girls, she had them there,” he said.

Shortly before her death, Elizabeth wrote a paper for school. “A drunk driver may not intentionally mean to hurt or kill someone in a car accident when they get into a car intoxicated, but nobody can predict the future,” she wrote. “That’s why I feel it’s best to make the law a bit extreme to see what we can prevent from happening to friends and loved ones — from potentially being involved with a drunk driving accident.”

One comment on “Speaking of Elizabeth”

  • Deb Lamp

    January 18, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Wow, this is an important topic for all. What a strong person and how therapeutic to talk of his daughter.

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