Please Help A Fellow Carrier In Need
Ventnor, NJ Letter Carrier Maureen DePrince (shown above with her husband Troy) is in need of our help.
Maureen, 38, a Letter Carrier for 13 years, was delivering her route in Ventnor, NJ (a shore town adjacent to Atlantic City) on July 24, 2006 when the unimaginable happened. She had just finished a relay and was behind her Postal mini van waiting for traffic to clear so she could enter the vehicle when she was struck by an "alleged" drunk driver. He hit her with such force that the van was pushed up onto the sidewalk, with Maureen pinned between the vehicles. The impact severed one leg, the other had to be taken later at the hospital. Off duty fire fighter Kevin Howarth happened to be passing by on his way to the beach when the accident occurred and was able to immediately start first aid and most likely he saved Maureen's life.
The driver of the car, Allan Miller fled the scene of the accident on foot but was quickly apprehended and has been charged with assault with a motor vehicle, vehicular assault while under the influence within 1,000 feet of a school zone, leaving the scene of an accident in which there is serious bodily injury, DWI, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report an accident. He was lodged in Atlantic County jail in lieu of $50,000 cash bail, a judge later raised it to $100,000.
***Latest Update (8/26/06)***
Maureen is not yet fully awake. She suffered several small strokes as a result of a rush of blood to her head from the trauma. She is able to follow small, simple directions, squeezing your hand (barely), she can nod her head, and stick out her tongue on command. She still has a trachea tube in her throat. That's all the progress for now. Her legs are healing well, but now the main problems are neurological. The doctors don't know how far she can recover. She could stay the same, or completely recover, but no one knows. Her recovery is measured in very small baby steps. She will be moved to rehab next week if all goes well. All told, doctors predict that it will be a year before she goes home.
Maureen is now at the Magee Rehab Center in Philadelphia. They are the best suited for all of her many needs and will provide a well-rounded program for the entire family. They will start with her neurological issues and then work on her limbs. The vision issue may be related to optical nerve damage but hopefully that can be surgically corrected.
I am writing with wonderful and positive news about Maureen! She was moved on Monday afternoon to Magee Rehab in Philly. A team of 12 wonderful therapists/doctors/case managers are responsible for her for the whole time she is in the rehab hospital. Yesterday was her first full day and she got a lot accomplished. Troy told us that she was dressed in regular clothes, sitting up in a wheelchair for most of the day, the trachea tube was made smaller so she could learn how to talk, her limb pumps were removed, she moved her left arm to commands, right arm is able to do some regular physical therapy, she spoke her first words "I need a glass of water" and "when can I go home?", she knew how many brothers and sisters she has! The team told Troy that she is a very determined woman who did everything that she was able to do. They feel with the progress that she showed today that a future home time would be in about 12 weeks. ONLY 3 months!!! We know not to get overly excited because all rehabs show some type of relapse but it was excellent news!!!
The Surf game was a big hit, with about 2,000 people in attendance. Through ticket and wristband sales, raffles and a bunch of mail carriers and clerks working a concession stand ( we got 10% of the concession profits if there were at least 5 people in the kitchen or on a register), we were able to raise about $7,900 for Maureen. At the end of the ceremonies, GM Greg Lynch of the Surf announced that he would like to make this a yearly event at Bernie Robbins Stadium! So stay tuned because the next Maureen DePrince Night at the Surf will be bigger and better and we'll raise even more money for her and her family.
Maureen continues to recover at Magee Rehab in Philly. She is awake and talking and taking visitors. She will have many months of physical therapy ahead of her, to adjust to her new life.
-Allan Miller was indicted on all charges and remains in the Atlantic County Jail.
Update from Troy DePrince
Maureen is still having a hard time remembering things, she recently had the trachea removed and is on normal food. She is given many kinds of medications to help her recover, she sleeps a lot now. She takes meds for anxiety, and other related medications that are used for Parkinson's and Alzheimer disease. She is very talkative when she's awake, all the wounds are healing well and she is scheduled for 10/10/06 at Wills eye for an exam. Hopefully we will have more news in the future. the therapy is going very good she is up to an hour of PT and OT along with speech therapy.
I would like to take a moment and say THANK YOU :-) all for keeping us in your prayers and all the support that everyone has given to the family. I would like to also say thank you to C&T, J, B, M, T, G, Ct, Jw, Mk, R, Hh, K&B, MK, for your support.
When I know more I will write.
Click Here for an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Update from Troy DePrince
Sorry it has been a while since I have written to you. Things have been the same lately, she has what they refer to as socks on the stumps. These help with blood flow and strengthening the tissue. She is doing really well with OT and PT, the only major problem is neurological, short term memory is weak and she is confuses. Anxiety, memory loose, and sight are the priority now. Tom McClain, Ray Miller, and two other co-workers saw her last Wednesday, and had a great visit according to Christine (Toms Wife). Other than that, that's it.
I would like to thank you for keeping this site up, also for the tremendous support we still receive. I have talked to reen (Moe) about what people are doing, she always says " why are they doing this, I need to thank them". She misses all her co-workers and especially the residents that are her customers, she misses them so much and can not wait to get back.
Update from Troy DePrince
I would like to first say Thank you for everyone's support.
Her family had put together a Thanksgiving feast that was incredible. She had a wonderful time, you could see the joy on her face. Unfortunately the evening ended with a visit to Hanaman Hospital, She had fallen out of her chair a her head hit the floor. Her brother and I immediately picked her of the floor, she hit pretty hard. After a while the Doctor on call said, she wants to get a Cat scan of her head. To make a long story short she was OK and now is doing better. Unfortunately She has not regained her sight and her anxiety seems to worsen each day. Right now the target release date is the first week in January. She was given permission to have a pass for the Christmas Holiday, but it's still pending. I would love to have all her friends and co-workers see her. We talk so much about sitting on the beach and listening to the waves crashing on the surf. "Some day". Mostly her health is improving, wounds are healing, still talking about prosthetics and preparing her legs for them. If there are any other major changes I will contact you.
On behalf of Maureen (Moe) and myself have a safe a joyful Christmas and Happy New Year. God Bless.
Click Here for an article from the Atlantic City Press
Maureen is scheduled to be released from Magee Rehab in Philly today. She will return home to be with her husband and pets - she can't wait!! She will continue Physical and occupational therapy on an outpatient basis at Betty Bacharach in Pomona.
Update from Troy DePrince
Just wanted to give a little update on Moe. She has been home for a week now and is doing well. On Monday the 15th she starts Rehab again at Bacharach, 3-4 days a week. She sees her family doctor tomorrow at noon. We had talked the other day and she is real concerned for her future. We still have no transportation but it is in the works. I have a meeting next week on the addition for the house. Takes a while but it is going good though. The Nurses at Magee said that they never saw so many cards in on room before. Thank you all for the cards, they helped tremendously while she was at Magee. We more things happen I will update you again, but thank you for the site. I will write to you soon.
Update from Troy DePrince
When we left Magee on that rainy Friday January 5, it was very quiet. I was packing up all her belongings while she hung with the nurses and staff said their goodbyes. The staff is going to miss her they said, all the cards plastered all over the walls you could not tell what the room color was. The transport arrived and we just left nothing to exciting happen at this point.
We arrived at our house early afternoon to an awaiting nurse from Bayada, no balloons or banners. We did not really expect this, I do not really know if anyone knew when she was returning home. She was kind of quiet for the first few hours, our dog was pleased to see her, the cats could care less. We settled in, I unpacked her car and ordered Chinese food for dinner.
We are from the Gloucester County area originally, towns across the river from the Navy Base in Philadelphia. Her Parents are the closest other than her brother he's pretty close also. Other than that, it's quite a ride for others. We did not get many visitors before this happened, so I do not expect that to changed. I mean people have their own lives to live and their own problems to worry about.
Reen is having problems adjusting to her new life, she definitely hates the living arrangements. Our house is very small and the Department of Labor denied her the addition needed to be somewhat comfortable for her. They do not see the need to open up my house any. My house is about 20 X 40. We had plans of expanding our house or even talked about moving, I do not know what we are going to do now, I do know that Life for us is kind of on hold now. I have gotten some good advise from The postal organization ( employees and employee reps). Reen loved her Route her customers will be greatly missed by her, she talk so generously of all her customers and co-workers. I can't tell you how Reen feels, we do not talk much about the accident nor anything else. She just sits in her chair and stares forward trying to see something. Some people she will not be quiet all depends who it is she is talking to, she gets along well with all the nurses.
Many thoughts go threw my mind all day, it is not about me, I can go when I want, do what I want, she can't and that bothers me. I feel guilty that if I do anything that it is not fair for her and my spirits are just about at its lowest point ever. I just hope I do what people expect of me, I am by far not a perfect person. I can not explain what is going threw my head, I do know that I am depressed, lonely, confused. I only wish people do not forget how this happen and use better judgment when they decide to be out all night. This accident impacted Family members as well as the surrounding towns at the shore and post offices around the world.
We would like to thank EVERYONE for their support and prayers, I wish I could thank everyone personally for all they have done for us. It was comforting knowing you where all with us. Now the real fight begins, battling the main issues of her needs and care.
Hopefully by the summer she will be in a better living conditions, till then it will be a long winter for her and myself.
Photos of Maureen at the Ventnor Post Office Christmas Party
Update From Troy DePrince
Hey Norm, and all who are following Reen's progress,
Just got off the phone with a crap load of people, its been nonstop. I was was just saying to myself, "self, you haven't updated her page lately". Well the house is being built now, coming along pretty good. Certain people are not in much of a hurry or could care less to see her back in her home, And I DON'T MEAN THE BUILDERS!!!! When the time is right I will elaborate more. Anyway Reen is doing OK, she is having some medical issues at the moment, and when we are dealing with the State, it seems like they are on vacation more than at work. The sad part is, I work with the State. I hope every one had a good summer and thanks for all your support.
Our thoughts go out to the Postal employees who where injured in some way over these past few months. If there is some way we can help, Please don't hesitate. Those from the Ventnor Post Office who are collecting donations, could you please contact me, we would like to help.
-Troy & Reen
Update From Troy DePrince
First things first. Reen and I want to wish Everyone who visits this site a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
A lot has happen since I last wrote. Reen is back in her house, but I think I told you that. I was having a difficult time, everything was going wrong, I needed some time off work to gather my thoughts. I was at the point that life for us really sucks, and ending it was the best possible option. Since then, I have been going with Reen to therapy and received the help I need to get myself on the right path again. Then one night, I was checking my bank statement. Reen had a debit card in her backpack, I noticed several debits for a cell phone and a storage facility. Her nighttime aide had written her credit card number down and was using it to pay for a storage unit and cell phone bills. I would keep money in her pack also, between $40 and $100 dollars. When I would check the pack, there was only $20 dollars in it. Reen said when she would ask Sharonda how much money was in the pack, she always said "there is only $20 dollars". We think the aide was stealing that too. She was immediately fired and hopefully arrested soon. So I have no nighttime aides just one that comes in Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday night. She is supposed to have 24 hour care but that's stopped and now it's just me and her at night. Don't get me wrong it's nice not having people in our house. Now, I'm back to work and to be honest, I don't get a good night sleep. Reen sleeps good, but I'm afraid to go to sleep, she might need something or need to potty.
So to sum it up, We are not getting the care that was promised to us. Reen's Credit card was stolen. The file was closed on Reen's medical because she "reached her goal". Just when that happens, her aids hours are being cut. Go Figure!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Debra, Pat and Lashea are wonderful aides, they have become part of our family in one way or another. They tell me I need to stop being nice, so when I am mean they yell at me. (LOL)
(Stop being so grumpy) they say. Things should get better, I miss hanging with our friends and going out, sometimes a night out with a friend is worth its weight in gold and really helps.
Well, Everyone have a safe Holiday, Good luck in 08.
The man who caused a crash that took a postal workers legs and her eyesight was sentenced to five years in prison this morning.
Allen Miller admitted that a mixture of alcohol and lack of sleep caused him to fall asleep behind the wheel of his car, striking Maureen Deprince as she loaded her mail truck in Ventnor on July 24, 2006. Pinned between the car and the truck, DePrince lost her legs. A stroke took her sight. Her memory suffers from a brain injury.
"Due to the carelessness of this person, I will never be able to see my loved ones again," DePrince said through a statement read by victim counselor Jackie Simonson. "Never feel the sand on my feet as I walk along the beach, hand in hand with my husband, watching our dog frolic in the water, chasing his stick."
In addition to the physical impact, DePrince has also lost her marriage.
"How do you go on with your life?" she asked in the statement. "I have been robbed of everything I held dear."
Addressing the court, Miller said he felt fine when he got behind the wheel, but began to feel tired.
"I should have pulled over, but I didn't," he said. "I fell asleep behind the wheel and changed someone's life."
Under the plea agreement, Miller must serve 85 percent of his sentence. He will receive credit for time served, which is about 31 months. That would mean he has about 20 more months before he is eligible for parole. Upon his release, Miller must have supervised parole for three years.
Maureen's Statement read in court
My name is Maureen DePrince.
On July 24, 2006, I went to work like any other day, but this one was different. My life would be changed in a way that words can’t express.
On that day in July, my life was drastically altered by the carelessness of a drunk driver. My life since then has been changed forever. This has affected so many people in my life.
My family, my mother and father, brothers and sisters, so many friends, but especially my husband.
To face each day with uncertainty, not knowing the security of the way my life used to be, has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
Due to the carelessness of this person, I will never be able to see my loved ones again. Never feel the sand on my feet as I walk along the beach with my husband, watching our dog frolic in the water chasing his stick.
My memories are all I have left, but sometimes they appear cloudy due to the brain trauma I suffered.
How do you go on with your life? I have been robbed of everything I held dear.
Now I must face the future knowing that my marriage has failed and I didn’t want to become a burden to my family and everyone I love.
All my hopes and dreams for the future have been shattered due to this random act of carelessness.
I hope you never have to feel the pain and suffering I have to endure each day of my life.
I can only hope that the courts will seek justice for the crime that was committed against me.
Delegates at the National Convention in Las Vegas took up a collection and raised about $45,000 which will be matched by the National headquarters bringing the total to; $90,667. That is a nice start, but Maureen is still going to need more help. NALC Branch 370 has set up a fund to receive direct contributions:
Maureen DePrince Benefit Fund
Atlantic City Firemen's Federal Credit Union
PO Box 413
Northfield, NJ 08225-0413
Cards and letters of support may be sent to:
Maureen DePrince Family
PO Box 2750
Ventnor, NJ 08406-2750
For Maureen Wristbands
Wristbands engraved with "For Maureen" are available for $5 each. They are Postal Blue in color.
To order: contact Christine McClain at 609-822-4511 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For Maureen T-Shirts
T-shirts are Union made in America.
Small, Medium and Large - $13
XL and above - $15
Sweatshirts - $20
Hooded Sweatshirts - $23
Shipping via Priority Mail - $4.35 per box
To order, Contact Jim Comuso at Comuso@nalcbranch908.com or 609-932-9913