David Clark remembered his daughter, Sally, called him around 1 a.m. after the Duke-Connecticut game on Palm Sunday in 2004.
â€œShe had called me from her brotherâ€™s apartment,â€ said Clark. â€œI remember waking up about an hour later and realizing she wasnâ€™t home.â€
Clark said that Sally, along with her cousin Grace Jordan and friend Suzanne Kessler, decided to drive home that evening.
Also that evening, David Scott Shimp made a decision to drink and drive after consuming six pints of beer and three shooters in less than an hour at a bar.
â€œEveryone made decisions that night,â€ said Clark. â€œUnfortunately, some decisions were bad ones.â€
In the early morning hours, Shimp rammed the back of the girlsâ€™ Honda at a high rate of speed. Jordan and Clark died in the accident while Kessler was seriously injured and taken to Carolinas Medical Center.
Shimp, meantime, was treated and released from CMC.
Out of tragedy, comes triumph. Residents of East Lincoln may actually benefit.
The Clark family is planning on making a land and monetary donation to the YMCA of Greater Charlotte to put a YMCA in East Lincoln.
â€œMy family had been discussing this for a total of about four years,â€ said Clark. â€œIt was an evolving process.â€
Clark said after the death of his daughter and niece, the project took on a personal and special meaning.
â€œJo, my wife, and I struggled with trying to find the appropriate way to honor Sallyâ€™s memory,â€ said Clark. â€œWhat became clear to us is we felt the principles of the YMCA represented Sallyâ€™s principles of faith, family and friends. Thatâ€™s what Sally believed in.â€
The lawsuit total â€“ split between three families â€“ is around $850,000 according to Clark.
â€œWeâ€™re going to make a sizable donation about our share of $283,000,â€ said Clark.
The property the Y would be located on is property that the four jointly owned, part of the Clark family farm, which was approximately 5,000 acres.
The future Sally Clark YMCA will be located at the new intersection of new N.C. 16 and Optimist Club Road.
Another development coming to part of that farm is on N.C. 73 and Little Egypt Road, the future home of Carolina Ridge by Del-Webb at Ingleside.
â€œOur parents had a certain vision for this land and weâ€™re trying to peruse what are responsible uses and development for the land.â€
Clark did not want to speculate on the land value, choosing to wait until the donation is actually made.
According to Clark, the family has been entertaining development options on part of their familyâ€™s land for the past 10 years.
â€œWeâ€™ve turned down a lot of possibilities but found two great opportunities in Pulte Homes and a YMCA,â€ said Clark.
Clark added the community will need to step forward to help bring the YMCA into fruition.
â€œThe Mooresville YMCAâ€™s capital campaign raised $7 million, and I think thatâ€™s achievable here,â€ said Clark. â€œWe hope this will benefit people for many years to come,â€ said Clark.
He added that even though YMCA project moving towards reality, closure may not come at all in the death of his daughter.
â€œI think about what might have been with Sally and Grace,â€ said Clark. â€œThereâ€™s no guarantee when you bring a child into this world. When you see something as senseless as this tragedy, they did everything right that evening. They were just on the road at the wrong time.â€
With the death of his daughter, responsibility of the parties involved that night in 2004 is something that Clark questions to this day.
â€œFor us, relative to our lawsuit and beyond Scott Shimp that evening, heâ€™s now serving 13-15 years for two counts of second degree murder,â€ said Clark. â€œHe pleaded guilty to those two counts. I canâ€™t help but have some respect for him for pleading guilty. He will walk out of prison one day and have a life Sally and Grace will not have.â€
Clark said the bar responsible, The Graduate, could have stopped Shimp from drinking excessively.
â€œThey let him drive off,â€ said Clark. â€œThey loaded the gun and Shimp pulled the trigger. I donâ€™t see how the guy could even get up and walk. There were sober people doing this, and to us, we wanted to hold them accountable.â€
by Jon Mayhew