Mishawaka, Ind. Friday marked a moment of forgiveness and incredible strength for the family of Timothy Grant, a 54-year-old Mishawaka man killed by a drunk driver on his bike ride to work last June.
A bicycle safety advocate, Grant was wearing a helmet and had red flashing lights on his bicycle when he was struck by Brandon Gonzales, 22, of Mishawaka. Police said the US Army veteran was drunk and speeding at the time of the crash.
Grant's family said they later learned that Gonzalez had been dealing with the effects of post-traumatic stress.
Today was the original sentencing date for Gonzalez and the families met for the first time in the court room. Grant's family took the opportunity to extend their forgiveness.
"We all make mistakes," said Jonathan Grant, Tim's oldest son. "We all do stupid things and it affects people differently and we all understand that it could have been any of us. So yeah, we're just releasing him from that and we just want him to be happy."
Grant said the community has provided an overwhelming amount of support in the past eight months. They came out again Friday evening to place a "ghost bike" at the scene of the accident, as a tribute to the husband, father and friend that has been so sorely missed.
"His life was very evident in his wife and his sons, especially what happened earlier in the court house today where there was a time of reconciliation and forgiveness," said Grant's friend, John Dendui. "But that's just evident of who Tim was. And I know we all miss him we will continue to miss him, but we know he's spending eternity with the Lord."
The group prayed and made a point to mention the importance of bicycle safety.
"Tonight is really about raising awareness of road safety, being careful for bikers and helping bikers also realize that it's very dangerous and a lot of cars are not aware of their actions," said Jonathan Grant.
Brandon Gonzalez's sentencing has been scheduled for March 7. He faces charges that include failure to stop after an accident resulting in death and causing death when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
"Our family just wants the best for him and we just want them to have a happy, healthy and fulfilling life," said Jonathan Grant.