Life for one Brooklyn family hasn't been the same after July 2nd, when 26-year-old Robert DeCarlo allegedly stole a minivan and took off speeding down the streets of Flatlands in a crazed drive that ended in a hit-and-run accident. Authorities say DeCarlo, who allegedly reached speeds of over 120 miles per hour, slammed into 38-year-old Marsha Landers and her two daughters. One of them, 9-year-old Charli, was blinded and paralyzed. The other, 12-year-old Joie Sellers, was killed.
Today the Daily News reports that Landers, who is still recovering from her injuries as a result of the accident, had to be pushed in a wheelchair to her young daughter's wake. At the funeral home in Marine Park, Brooklyn, Joie's grandmother set a pair of ballet slippers below a life-sized picture of the girl, who had been an avid dancer.
Joie's sister Charli has undergone brain surgery, but doctors have been unable to restore her sight and the girl remains paralyzed in all but her right arm.
“It’s a tragic, tragic situation. The family is torn apart,” Councilman Jumaane Williams told the News. “The mom had to be wheeled in here tonight. The daughter is paralyzed and blind. It’s complete devastation."
DeCarlo had fled the scene of the crime, which took place in broad daylight in the late afternoon, on foot but has been since apprehended by police. Prosecutors have charged him with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and leaving the scene of an accident.
Despite the tragic occasion, Joie's uncle offered words of gratitude and hope at the wake, telling attendees that the family feels "blessed beyond measure for the support received thus far. Although (Marcia and Charli) have made remarkable progress, the journey ahead will be difficult."
A web page for online donations toward the family's expenses has been set up here.