By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
I've enjoyed reading your newspaper for a number of years--until now. Since I do have certain firsthand knowledge regarding the accident that killed Dana Wells, I now know that innuendo and fantasy are the stuff of which some stories are made ("For Reasons Unknown," David Holthouse, February 11). I am Miles Graci's aunt. He's lived in my home for 19 years.
Miles neither owns nor has he ever carried a gun, but perhaps the constant threats would be a reason to invest in one. Miles has never done any drug stronger than marijuana, no drugs are welcome in our home, and he won't even speak to druggies on the phone. He has no patience for them.
The big car chase down Cactus Road and "fishtailing" at 24th Street and Cactus are not that mysterious. Miles' car broke down (the reason he had to buy another one) again and Dana and Shawn Thomas were giving him a ride home because he had to be at work at UPS at 3 a.m. Dana was driving in the curb lane heading west, but he had to get into the far left lane to turn onto 24th Street--south--to get Miles home so his mother could take him to work. We live south of Cactus on 24th Street. No big mystery. Actually, the "rumor" we heard was that Dana was probably trying to move over to turn left, and the car on his left wouldn't let him over. No detectives ever spoke to us--or they'd have figured this one out pretty quickly.
Our family has grieved over the tragedy of Dana's death. We've even tried to understand the two-plus years of strange behavior that tries to blame the two other victims.
We cannot speak for Mr. Thomas. He was more Dana's friend, classmate, etc., at Gold Dust Elementary. They were actually a year older than Miles, who did not attend Gold Dust Elementary and met them at Shadow Mountain High School. And as for Mike Gibbons, he was younger than these boys, he lived down the street from Shawn Thomas, and Miles never knew him--and, I'm told, he didn't even know Miles' name during the deposition. So, while it makes interesting reading, there was no drug deal and nothing going on between these people except possibly stupid young men menacing each other as young men do. And, Miles isn't so silly or stupid to ever be involved with gangs. He's a little too independent for that--and no more of a groupie than any of Dana's friends that you quoted in your article.
As for Miles, he had no medical insurance at the time of this accident in which he was not the driver. His legs were so severely broken that the paramedics who worked on him were surprised that the doctors were able to save them. The rods were just removed this past summer. He still walks with a terrible limp and a lot of pain that will remain with him throughout his life. As for the amnesia, he spent many hundreds of dollars going to a hypnotist to try to regain the memory of this accident, and regained very little. This is not unusual.
Remember Princess Diana's bodyguard? After all the money in the world being made available to regain his memory of the accident, he could not. I know people who were in accidents and they do not remember them even after 20 to 50 years. I'd be happy to give you their names.
And, in closing, this article just helps to stir the pot in these young people's memories. They think that threatening Miles or his loved ones will somehow bring Dana back--there's the tragedy. I only hope that no more tragedies and broken bodies and hearts result from all this one-sided, barely factual article.
Editor's note: New Times stands behind the story. Contrary to her claim, a detective did speak to Miles Graci within days of the wreck. As for the assertion that the piece was "one-sided," New Times made repeated efforts to contact Graci and Shawn Thomas and their attorney for comment prior to publication of the article. They chose not to.
We are writing in response to the article titled "For Reasons Unknown." We went to school with Dana Wells, and while we do not profess to be his greatest friends (because we weren't), we knew him well enough to say that he would never have gotten himself into a situation like this.
He was one of the most mellow humans we've known, and never once had we seen him be confrontational. In fact, just the opposite. He was the type to avoid a fight, if anything.
It really sucks to think that the two individuals in the car with him are still saying that they don't remember. Pretty convenient memories, if you ask us.
We feel deeply saddened for Dana's mom, Gloria, his sister Christine, his stepfather, Max, and his closest friends.
All we can hope is that maybe someday Miles and Shawn will remember, or maybe their conscience will get it out.