While mourning her death in a car crash, a Maine woman's family was stunned to learn the man responsible was the brother of the woman's son-in-law.
"I also felt like: 'OK, I don't understand this,'" Brooke Gardner, a local pastor, told the Bangor Daily News. "But God, you must have a plan for this, because it just doesn't make any sense [that] it was this person."
Brooke's mother, Robin Gardner, 63, was killed Nov. 24 in a head-on collision with Tyler Creighton, the half-brother of her son-in-law. Creighton told police he was texting when he struck Robin's car, pushing her into a ditch. Robin died instantly.
Creighton also told police he had left a methadone clinic just before the accident and admitted he might have marijuana in his system. According to police, Creighton was driving in the wrong lane when he struck Robin. Officers who responded to the crash noted Creighton was slurring his words and his eyes appeared glassy.
After the accident, Creighton was charged with driving to endanger and violating conditions of release from a previous operating under the influence charge, according to the Bangor Daily News.
"He was out on bail for [an] operating under the influence case out of Piscataquis County and he was recently convicted of another operating under the influence case in March of 2017," Deputy District Attorney Alice Clifford said, according to WABI.
Creighton was additionally charged with manslaughter during his first court appearance. If convicted, Creighton could face up to 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Zachary Smith, Creighton's lawyer, says the criminal manslaughter charge is excessive, calling the crash nothing more than a head-on collision caused by Creighton taking his eyes off the road, according to the Bangor Daily News.
Brooke says her family forgives Creighton and will pray for him to get help.
"My mom would have wanted that and she wouldn't have any anger," Brooke said, according to WABI. "She would sacrifice her life freely for people like that."
"I'll remember her as a kind, loving grandma and that she'd do anything for anyone even if she didn't know them," Robin's granddaughter Emily Creighton said, according to WABI.
Robin, who worked in the cafe at Brooke's church and as a YMCA instructor, will be remembered for her kindness and willingness to help strangers.
"I have so many strangers inboxing me that I've never met and they're like: 'We've met your mom once and it made such an impact,'" said Robin's daughter Celeste Creighton, according to WABI.