Posted at: 07/11/2012 11:31 PM
| Updated at: 07/12/2012 10:01 AM
By: Dan Levy
BALLSTON SPA - For some reason that no one will ever know why, Kari Liedel got to live only 14 years here on earth. Wednesday night, less than a month after her 8th grade graduation, and five days after being struck and killed by a suspected drunken driver, the village of Ballston Spa said goodbye to Kari.
The book of Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for every purpose under heaven. Wednesday night, it was a time of sorrow and grief, and of mourning and remembrance for 14-year old Kari Liedel.
"There's some anger not being expressed because that's not what we're here for," said Nicola Cottone, Kari's cousin. "Right now we're here to honor her and her memory."
Kari Liedel was walking home with a friend Saturday night along West Milton Road, when a car swerved on the narrow country road, striking her head-on, and killing her instantly.
Twenty-one year old Gavin Staulters, a member of the Air National Guard and former wrestler at Ballston Spa High School, has been charged with drunken driving.
"I am mad at Gavin Staulters for hitting her and for driving drunk," said Sydney Liedel, 11, Kari's cousin. "I'm more sad than mad."
Sydney says her cousin loved to sing and perform, hoping some day to make it on to American Idol or America's Got Talent.
"She was a diva," said Dottie Smith, a family friend. "She wanted to be the center of attraction, sparkly, a bright girl, everybody loved her."
That everybody loved Kari was apparent by the long line of mourners that filed through the Armer Funeral Home Wednesday night. And that people want to see justice was also quite apparent.
"Of course it's tragic," said family friend Danielle Saunders. "He does deserve consequences but the one thing, there's this quote that said: Forgiving sometimes helps the forgiver more than i does the forgiven."
"He knows right from wrong," Smith stated. "He shouldn't have drank that alcohol and then drove because not only did he take a beautiful girl's life, he's ruined a lot of others, plus his own."
Gavin Staulters is due back in court on August 14th. Between now and then toxicology reports are expected. So too is grand jury action.
Charges are likely to be upgraded to vehicular manslaughter.