On August 16, 2010, Susan, Peter, and Matthew Slattery were returning to Maryland from a family picnic when a trucker fell asleep at the wheel coming into a construction zone. All other traffic was merging at about 5 mph, while the trucker was going about 55 mph before slamming on his brakes way too late.
He killed Susan and seriously injured both of her boys, who were 12 and 16 at the time.
Susan was a Ph.D. mathematician and Department Head at Stevenson University in Maryland. She ran several STEM programs for girls and minorities, and was active in fundraising for her sons’ small Catholic school and for their rather large Boy Scout troop. Over her and her husband’s 18 years of marriage, she spearheaded raising nearly $250,000 for these entities that their boys were involved in. According to her husband, “Susan was serious, hard-working, disciplined, and pretty straight-laced, but she enjoyed a good beer once in a while and could cry laughing when moved to it. She was fiercely faithful and loved her boys like no one I had ever seen before.”
The Slatterys’ 16-year-old son was able to recover from his mostly orthopedic injuries, but he has metal plates in his hips and pelvis. He graduated from a prestigious art school and is now gainfully employed at a world-renowned design firm.
Their 12-year-old son was permanently disabled from his traumatic brain injury and will be forever dependent on others for much of his life. He is confined to a wheelchair, has expressive aphasia, is catheterized six times a day, is learning to read very slowly, and has difficulty processing information. He is, however, mostly happy, and enjoys movies and, most recently, adaptive snow skiing.
“All this said,” writes Susan’s husband, “we are indebted to the Truck Safety Coalition and its many members who have become dear friends and advocates with us in our efforts to prevent other families from having to suffer the same tragedies we have.”