Carolynn Ruth Reece

"I love you and miss you, Carolynn, but thank the Lord I will see you again one day in Heaven. I pray the law can be changed so no other family has to go through the agony we endured. Our society has strict rules and expectations on when and how police officers use their weapons. A car engaged in pursuit is also a lethal weapon, and the rules and expectation should reflect that. All officers should consider the risks before they react. We all think it can't happen to us until it does."
--Debbie Reece, Carolynn's oldest sister, written 24 years after Carolynn's earthly death.

December 17, 1986

Vallejo, CA--Ten-year-old Carolynn, her family, and a neighborhood friend (also a child) were headed to church. Benicia police were engaged in an undercover operation to peacefully arrest an escaped felon (a house burglar) when he arrived at his destination.

A Vallejo police officer, overhearing the radio communication and spotting the felon's car, initiated hot pursuit of the felon at speeds up to 90 miles an hour on city streets. The felon slammed into Carolynn's family. She sustained serious brain injury and died 12 days later

Debbie and Candy shared several emails. 
Our email exchanges included information about both Carolynn and Kristie as well as their shared love for Jesus. So, I asked Debbie if I could post our emails on Carolynn's page. Debbie's response: 
"If you think it would be good to use our email exchanges, please feel free to do so." 

10/17/12 10:11 AM
From: Candy Priano
To: Deborah Reece

Hi Debbie,

I've done some soul searching, and now I remember our phone call about your sister's death in 1986. I remember this because Kristie was born in 1986. I apologize, but I don't remember your sister's name. If you would like to post a story and/or picture on the website, just send that information to me. I don't mean to pry.
It is so nice to hear from you. I've thought about our phone conversation many times. It was such a blessing to me.
In Christ, 

10/17/12 9:28:38 PM
From: Deborah Reece 
To: Candy Priano

Hi Candy, 

Our phone conversation was a blessing to me as well. My sister's name is Carolynn Reece, and it's very nice to think of Kristie and Carolynn in Heaven together.

It would mean a lot to us to have Carolynn's photo and a tribute on the website. I think the reason you called that time was because I had written and submitted a tribute, and you did ask me to send a photo of Carolynn and articles about the crash. I don't yet have scanned copies of the news articles, but I do have a digitized photo of Carolynn, which I've attached to this email.

If you happen to still have the tribute I wrote back then, that would be great to use, but I know that was a long time ago. If you no longer have it, I can work on putting something together and submitting it for the site.

It's always good to be in touch with you. Our family is very appreciative of your organization and all the work you are doing. It's exciting to see the progress made in the last year. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

In Christ,

10/17/12 10:16 PM
From: Candy Priano
To: Deborah Reece

Dear Debbie, 
When I opened Carolynn's picture, my heart jumped and holding my breath the air just went into my lungs. My, Oh My! She reminds me of Kristie ... the freckles and the smile.

Carolynn's beautiful smile.... Oh yes, they are in Heaven together. My heart cries for you and your parents. ... so precious.  
I am just going to say that I will have Carolynn's page on the websites by Saturday. I will put the full tribute on Kristie's Law and then I put a picture on the home page of PursuitSAFETY in the beige panel with pictures of other victims. 
Thank you so much for sending me Carolynn's picture.  I'm just crying ... I can see the love in your sister. I have your completed tribute form. I should have looked for it in the binder, but I didn't remember the form, just our phone conversation. Once it's posted, you and your parents can make changes, add more pictures, etc.  
What is Carolynn's favorite color ... or something she always loved? I will add clip art and color to her page.
Thank you for your prayers.
In Christ's love,

10/18/12 10:56:13 PM
From: Deborah Reece 
To: Candy Priano

Dear Candy,

Thank you, Candy. That is very sweet of you to say about Carolynn's picture. As I've read Kristie's story, I've also thought that Carolynn and Kristie share many similarities and traits.

My Mom told a reporter she was the "sparkplug" of our family at the time of the crash, and both of them being athletes and committed Christians, for instance. I'm sure they are great friends now. 

Carolynn always loved sports of any kind, especially football and riding and doing tricks on her red BMX-style bike. I would say red and blue were Carolynn's favorite colors although she didn't seem to have as strong a preference for a certain color as some people do, and her favorite dress was burgundy and gray.

It is very gracious and healing for you to provide this way for families who have suffered the tragedy of losing someone in a police pursuit a way to honor them and try to bring good from the pain and loss by working to prevent more such crashes in the future.

With gratitude,