For Reasons Unknown

Dana Wells' family and friends believe his death was no accident. The truth might have died with him.

This mystery begins with the five known, credible witnesses to a car crash. The scene was north Phoenix. The time was 1:43 in the morning.

Robert Nettles was on his back patio, facing Cactus Road, when he heard the chilling scream of tires on pavement. Nettles told police he looked east and saw a green car, sliding sideways, going too fast for a happy ending. Nettles watched as the car struck, hopped and flew down a curb, then hit a mesquite tree and flipped over.

Carl Jones was driving westbound on Cactus Road at 50 mph, when two cars blew past him. Jones stopped for a red light at 24th Street. He told police he saw the cars swerving toward one another, then he saw the car in the curb lane slide sideways, hit a tree, and flip over. Jones said the other car stopped for a moment, then fled west on Cactus.

Aimee Nichols and Lorie Spellman were leaving T's Billiards, on the southeast corner of Cactus and Cave Creek. Nichols was driving. She looked east as she turned out of the parking lot and saw two vehicles racing toward her on Cactus--a green car in the curb lane, and a white car beside it, in the center. She saw the green car slide sideways, hit a tree, and flip over.

She drove toward the accident, and saw three people jumbled inside the overturned green car. The white car, which had a black pinstripe down the side, passed them going the other way. Spellman saw a Hispanic male driving and a Hispanic male in the passenger seat.

After studying tire residue and curb strikes, police estimated that the green car--a four-door, 1995 Hyundai Accent--was traveling at least 86 miles per hour before it bounced up and onto the curb of a median dividing Cactus from a residential access road. The speed limit on Cactus is 40.

Once the Hyundai was on the median, the driver was helpless, like a skateboarder sliding down a rail, one set of wheels on either side. The car hit the mesquite tree driver's door first. The collision destroyed the tree, and the Hyundai.

"Contact damage started approximately 6'4" back of the left front corner," Phoenix police detective Donald Ripley wrote in the accident report. "There was approximately 45 [inches] of penetration into the driver's compartment of the vehicle."

The driver was Dana Wells, 21, beloved son, and the fifth credible witness. Presuming that once the vehicle he was driving began careening down the median, Wells looked in his direction of movement, he saw the mesquite, then oblivion. The impact killed him in a snap.

What Wells witnessed in the last minutes of life is a question that has taunted investigators and tortured his family since the night he died: August 16, 1996.

His parents believe Wells was murdered, for no good reason, the victim of a botched attempt by gang members to kill or frighten his two passengers, Shawn Thomas, then 21, and Miles Graci, then 20, both of whom survived the wreck.

After the wreck, Thomas and Graci claimed--and continue to claim, even under oath--simultaneous amnesia.

Both say they can't remember the accident, or why and how it happened. Their blackouts begin at precisely the same moment--as they come out of a bar after playing pool, 30 minutes before Wells died.

Dana Wells' mother, Gloria Cavalera, has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Shawn Thomas and Miles Graci, and the teenager she believes was driving the white car, which might have been light blue.

The deposition of the alleged driver of the white car--and of a teen he says was in the passenger seat--became a seminar on hostile witnesses and conflicting testimony.

A police investigation of the accident remains open, but not active.
The official report states: "On 8-16-96 at approximately 0143 hours, Dana Wells was driving a 1995 Hyundai westbound on Cactus when, for reasons unknown, he lost control of the vehicle and collided into a tree."

Gloria Cavalera wants the reasons known.
"The last thing I can give my son is the truth," she says.

The marble slab lies in close-cropped grass, near a lake with swans.
Cristina Newport crosses herself, then kneels down to kiss a picture of her half-brother, younger by four years. Cut in stone near the embossed photo is a famous line of lyrics Wells penned for the speed-metal anthem "Attitude" recorded on the 1995 gold album Roots by his stepfather's band Sepultura:

"Live your life not how they taught you/Do what you feel."
The lyric is credited to "D-Low." Wells got the nickname from his penchant for C-Low, an East Coast variation of the dice game craps. His grave is surrounded with figurines, votive candles and decorative boxes full of trinkets, talismans and memorial notes.

Wells' friends visit his grave weekly, to party, meditate and roll dice.
"You want to know how good Dana was?" says Mark Corona, 24, one of his best friends. "Dana was even nice to the fat, ugly girls in high school. Most guys aren't close to that good."

Wells loved aggressive music--Sepultura, the Deftones, Clutch, Biohazard--and liked to stage dive, but his friends and family all say those tastes are misleading. Wells was mellow to the point where one word becomes two, as in mell-oooow, dude.

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2 comments
mgibbons8019
mgibbons8019

A friend forwarded me this.... Gloria Cavalera

November 29, 2014 at 11:22am · Edited ·

18 years ago, I had a loving son who was chased like a dog and run off the road by gang members and high school wanna-be's hoodies who had never met him. He was killed. The detective on the scene changed the police report and 5 DA's since then have concealed his death. They chose to let the gang STILL walk the streets in our neighborhood. They allowed them to become cartel...to sell drugs here, to murder and get away with it. 18 years later, these people are now heroin dealers. Do you know how many kids got popped for a joint in that time, in those 18 long years? Are the cartel paying off the cops? Do you think the police don't know they are here, right under our noses? Is this right? I solved the case with one other young woman. I wore a Halloween Cleopatra wig to cover my green hair, and went in the gang areas. I stood next to them as they fired their guns in the air. I did not call for protests. I did not call for marches that would definitely cause looting and violence. I did not encourage violence to cure violence. I asked for help from every law enforcement agency there was. I was turned away by all....to save the detective's reputation. I am fighting still to this day to inform people. It is wrong that in Ferguson people use Michael Brown's death to act like criminals who should be in jail. There is a right way and wrong way. I am sorry to say. Gloria Cavalera is nothing but a storyteller and a psycho - pathological liar. Enough is enough. I am not going to be silent any longer. Unfortunately, Dana Wells was the one who pulled a gun on me and my passenger Elijah Miller. Dana Wells was the aggressor. Dana Wells gave chase and chased my passenger Elijah Miller. He will vouch to what happened on August 16th, 1996.. Dana Wells caught up to us and threw an object. Not sure what the object was, but it was loud. Moments after Dana Wells tossing the object. He started fishtailing and eventually lost control causing his death. Elijah Miller and I escaped with our lives. It is unfortunate that Dana Wells was killed. I or Elijah Miller have never been members or actively involved in gangs!. Elijah and I have never sold drugs. Contrary to whatever New Times says. I was never asked by David Holthouse for an interview. Elijah Miller at the time of this article was under age. Not even 18 yet..Gloria Cavalera sued Liberty Mutual which was my auto insurance company.. They offered her 100 thousand dollars. It was pure business on their part because it was cheaper to make all this go away rather than going to trial AND Gloria Cavalera signed off that I had no responsibilities towards her son's death. I have the documents stating the amount and the agreement in which Gloria Cavalera signed. Gloria Cavalera is nothing short of a liar and a story teller, and likes to put a major spin in the media. I strongly believe She concocted the story about gang bangers and murder so people actually feel bad for her and rather to face the shitstorm coming because she disbanded Sepultura. I'm still wondering why Iggor Cavalera did not speak to Max for 10 years and yet Iggor ramianed with Sepultura during that time. Also Dana Wells was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana. Don't believe it. Readers can find out from the Maricopa County's Coroner Office or documents from myself personally. Under Arizona law. That's considered driving under the influence. No matter how you slice and dice it. Its driving under the influence and no matter how you slice and dice it. The accident was purely 100% Dana Wells fault. Thank God the Phoenix Police and Detective Donald Ripley did their jobs and determined Dana Wells was at fault. The Phoenix Police department is not corrupt as Gloria Cavalera claims. Dana Wells was NOT murdered, was NOT chased, And definitely NOT ran off the road. He was the AGRESSOR, the one who pulled a gun on myself and Elijah Miller.. End of story. I have no problems providing proof. No problems providing my witness Elijah Miller. Who can vouch for himself in his own words. And We both never have been part of a gang or members of a street gang!

loriann.witte
loriann.witte

A Abundant life

"Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death." Auntie Mame.  - Ego is not your friend. I have been taught to be grateful, not proud. How do we shift from 'sacred city' to lavish abundance. Go beyond thoughts of scarcity to know prosperity. Basis universal laws of being. Open your eyes, attract ideas of well being and fruit filled opportunities. Clean the filter through which you see. Clean just a little spot and see what happens. Come to the fountain of abundance driving a double semi truck, not with a teaspoon.  http://get.wirecovery.com/2010/10/forgivness-is-all-ways-answer.html

 
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