Brookline family of crash victim mourns amid holiday
Gaye Posey, 59, won't cry for the man everyone else called their best friend.
“How can I cry?” she said, 6 feet from the spot in the living room where she married “Mr. Ribbs” 40 years ago. “I got three kids. I got his jokes. We had Christmases. We went dancing. I was in love. That's more than most people ever get.”
James Posey, 60, of Brookline was killed Sunday night when a driver crossed the concrete median on Saw Mill Run Boulevard near Lewis Street, slamming Posey's head and torso into the steering column of his Toyota Highlander.
James Posey died while paramedics rushed his three nieces to Children's Hospital in Lawrenceville. The girls survived with minor cuts.
Police charged the driver, Robert James Freund Jr., 21, of Allentown with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, reckless endangerment, involuntary manslaughter and other crimes.
Gaye Posey got the call within minutes, but it was more than six hours before officers confirmed her husband died on the scene.
“I knew he was gone,” she said. “Everyone kept yelling at me to quit saying that. ‘Shut up Gaye. Just get in the car.' But I could tell. The connection was gone.”
Cradling his infant daughter, Shaylynn, Jason Waller, 43, paced the family room picking up photos, answering phones and explaining — again — to concerned family and friends that yes, his father was gone.
James Posey was everyone's friend, advocate and savior, Waller said.
“He was the kind of man you want to be,” he said. “When you talked to him, you knew he cared.”
The funeral service, scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at Wesley Center AME Zion Church in the Hill District, won't interrupt Christmas, his wife said Wednesday, but in 2014, the real work begins.
“I was always the pit bull,” she said, “always arguing, always fussing. And there he'd be just smiling. Well, I'm going to make a difference if I have to call everyone from Gov. (Tom) Corbett on down.”
Freund failed field sobriety tests and an initial breath test revealed a blood alcohol content of about 0.28 percent. The legal driving limit in Pennsylvania is 0.08 percent. Freund has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 3.
“Now it's up to me, up to all of us, to speak out and make sure everyone who thinks about driving drunk sees what can happen, hears the kind of pain it can cause,” she said.
Alcohol-impaired driving claimed 10,322 lives nationwide last year, an increase of 4.6 percent compared with 2011, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Pennsylvania's Operation Safe Holiday yielded 190 DUI and 201 speeding citations in 2012. This year, it includes all state police officers and at least 600 municipal officers.
“No, I won't cry for me. I got 40 years,” Gaye Posey said, thumbing her ring and smiling. “And I won't be fighting because he was mine. I'll do it because he belonged to everyone else.”
Megan Harris is a Trib Total Media staff writer. She can be reached at 412-388-5815 or email@example.com.
Add Megan Harris to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh police officers reprimanded in Banksville restaurant robbery
- Transplant patients in limbo over coverage under UPMC-Highmark pact
- Residents, search panel refine sketch of Pittsburgh police chief
- $24M water filter project at Aspinwall treatment plant nears kickoff
- Newsmaker: Charles H. “Chip” Dougherty Jr.
- Black leaders back developer’s offer, say it could save August Wilson Center
- Kaufman Foundation awards research grants to schools, including Pitt, CMU
- Fitzgerald stacks legislative wins as Allegheny council members struggle
- United States proposes tougher rules for moving crude oil, ethanol by rail
- Moon school closing fought
- Moon Area board reconfigures elementary buildings, votes again to close school and explore merging with Cornell