On June 25, 1996, Daniel Danais got good and drunk, got in his car, and plowed into David Scannell, then 39, as he rode his bike in Quincy, Mass.
Scannell suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him in a coma until last Monday, when he died at age 58.
“I did an awful thing. I can’t take it back,” Danais said last week.
He got into trouble in 2002 — drunk driving again — when Scannell’s brother met him at the courthouse and invited him to meet his family, the Boston Globe reports.
“Daniel was overwhelmed with grief and remorse,” (Scannell’s mother, Barbara) said. “I had David here, I was taking care of him. . . . He was totally hopeless and his care was 24/7 and [Danais] came into the room to see David. He just all but fell apart.”
After the meeting, Danais and Barbara Scannell said, they kept in touch. Danais spent about a decade doing community service at a head injury clinic in Plymouth as part of his probation and updated her about the patients there when they talked.
Danais now has an 18-year-old daughter entering college and he credits Barbara and her family for making him a better person. He said his bond with Barbara is “genuine.”
“It’s almost like a relationship you would have with your nana,” he said.
Daniel met Mrs. Scannell at her son’s wake on Friday night.
“I said, ‘You know David’s free, and now so are you. It’s over. You don’t have to think about it,’ ” Barbara Scannell, 88, said Saturday. “You spent 19 years thinking about it, regretting it.”