No charges have been filed yet in the accident, which happened as the four were driving to lunch that day.
“My brother Steve was driving,” said Michael, “and I was beside him in the passenger’s seat. His wife Mei Ling was behind him, and Kimberly was behind me.
“We entered an intersection with a green light, planning to turn left. For whatever reason, this fellow ran a red light on our left and t-boned the car.
“Nobody was speeding and there was no report of drugs or alcohol involved, and no mechanical failure.”
Mei Ling, on the left side of the vehicle, sustained the greatest injuries among the survivors. She was discharged from the hospital June 26, but faces months of recovery from punctured lungs, fractures to her ribs, pelvis and both upper and lower jaw, and a concussion.
“She’s talking now, and she’s much better,” said Michael. “Her family is in Hong Kong, and they’re still trying to get over to see her.
“Kimberly has been staying with her as much as she could, in the hospital. She’s a very self-possessed young lady, very mature for her years.”
But in the midst of this tragedy, there is still word of a gesture so generous it brings a lump to the throat. The accident, you see, happened on the very day that Kim was to receive her high school diploma from Mesa Ridge High School. For her classmates and the school administration, it was a case of ‘no graduate left behind’.
So there was only one thing to do: hold another graduation, just for Kim, as soon as she healed from her relatively minor injuries. Fellow students and staff members agreed to repeat their speeches, a music teacher played ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ and a volunteer vocalist performed the National Anthem. The school’s junior ROTC unit presented the colors. And three days after the other 253 graduates celebrated, an auditorium filled with staff, fellow track team members, teachers and friends stood and applauded as robed dignitaries from the board of education proclaimed that Kimberly Anne Haskins had earned her diploma.
Kim’s aunt, Patti Haskins had traveled to Colorado Springs after the wreck so she could oversee care for her husband, Michael, who sustained a broken collarbone (which has kept him from playing his beloved guitar with his band, ‘The Big Guns’). She attended the event, where Kim’ was lauded and celebrated. “Her track coach described her as the ‘team cheerleader’, even though she’d only been at Mesa Ridge for two years,” said Patti.
”There were more people there than I had expected. Everybody from the school, and the color guard in all their regalia. Since Steven had worked for the military, all of his peers were there, in military uniform. And a lot of kids, Kim’s friends, were there. It was very moving.
“Kimberly sat there on stage, very stoic. It was hard for me not to cry.
“Afterwards, though, it was a big hug-fest. Everybody gave her gifts, and brought her flowers. It was pretty special.”
Kimberly’s post-graduation plans are on hold until her mother fully recovers, but she intends to pursue a marketing degree, probably taking classes at a community college in nearby Greeley, CO, and then perhaps transferring to the University of Texas at Austin, where her father got his master’s degree.
Kim’s grandfather says his heart goes out to Kimberly.
“She’s an only child,” said Delbert Haskins. “So was I, growing up. I thought maybe I missed out on something, and so I always hung out with my friends with their big families.
“All four of my boys grew up here and attended Irving High School. We’ve been in Irving since 1952 and it’s been a good place to grow up. I don’t guess we were prominent – not exceptional, but not troublemakers, either.
“All my boys were Scouts in Troop 775. Michael and Doug were Eagle Scouts.
“And Steve – well, I guess he was kind of a rebel. He didn’t actually graduate – but he got his GED and then went on to do pretty well.”
Services for Steven Haskins were held June 18 at Fry and Gibbs Funeral Home in Paris, TX. He was a skilled architect who worked as a civilian contractor, most recently at Schriever Air Force Base.
“He loved film,” said Michael. “He had a huge DVD collection.
“And he had a wicked sense of humor.”