The mother of OHP Trooper Nicholas Dees finally gets the chance to talk with the man who hit and killed her son. Five months after trial, she was able to read her victim impact statement to Steven Wayne Clark.
Shelley Russell said this has been bothering her since December and the recent conversation with Clark left them both in tears.
“It is heartbreaking. It is life-changing. It is painful. It is tragic,” Russell read from her statement.
Only these words can come close to describing the pain she has been put through. “Some days I do not know how I’m going to live another day,” she continued.
After her son, OHP Trooper Nicholas Dees, was killed by a man who was texting and driving last year, her grief has been unbearable - and made worse by the fact that at Steven Wayne Clark's sentencing hearings, she was not allowed to read her victim impact statement to him.
“I have learned that you can miss someone so much that it makes it hard to breathe,” she read.
Months later, Clark agreed to meet with the mother of the man he killed. So the Oklahoma Department of Corrections arranged a one-on-one conversation via Polycom.
“I think God was in the room, I really do. Because I mean we were looking eye-to-eye and it was big screens and I could see it in his eyes – he’s not a terrible person,” she said.
Russell said the meeting gave her closure as she copes with the loss of her only child.
And with each word she read from her statement, she continued to work toward forgiveness.
“My hatred and bitterness toward him was not hurting anybody but me,” she said. “I finally came to realize that he killed my son and I can’t let him kill me.”
Trooper Dees' death led to a statewide ban on texting while driving.
Clark is set to be released from prison in February 2020.