A grieving mother started making plans to memorialize her son after he was killed in the line of duty.
It was a rainy night in January when Highway Patrol Trooper Nicholas Dees and his partner were investigating a tractor-trailer crash in Seminole County and a driver on Interstate 40 didn't move over.
Dees died at the scene, and then the devastation and deep grief began for his mother, Shelley Russell.
“When I got the knock on the door, it was (12:10 a.m.),” Russell said. “As soon I as I saw the trooper cars, I knew.”
Police said the man behind the wheel was on his phone when he sped through the scene.
A law against texting and driving was signed soon after and is now in effect.
“People just need to please put their phone down,” Russell said.
In the meantime, Dees’ mother is still trying to cope in a world without her only child.
“I have struggled. I mean there’s [sic] days when I don’t want to get out of bed. There’s [sic] days when I don’t want to be alive because part of me died when he was killed,” Russell said.
Her son's lifelong dream was to work for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, and she said he only got to do it for 18 months.
“He loved what he was doing. He wore that brown shirt with pride and joy,” she said.
But she has been keeping busy lately with organizing a memorial run in his honor.
It'll be 7.31 miles to represent his OHP badge number.
And it’s scheduled for what would have been his 31st birthday, January 23.
She’s shedding light on her son's ultimate sacrifice, trying to make it through the darkest days of her life.
“He’s ran [sic] his race and he’s got the medal. I’m still trying to run mine,” she said.
The money raised in the memorial run will be matched by the Chahta Foundation and awarded as a college scholarship.