On June 15th, 2007 at approximately 9:38pm Daniel John Kelsey
was taken from his family and friends by a drunk hit and run driver.
This page is dedicated to my brother Dan... his memory, his funeral and court proceedings.
"5 years ago today my life completely changed & it will never be the same again.
In honor of all of the changes in my life since I lost you, this is for you Daddy.
I miss you so much."
01.11.1965 - 06.15.2007
"Your brachial artery runs down your left arm, straight to your heart.
So all technicalities aside, since my tattoo is over my brachial artery,
you could say it's also over my heart, where he'll always be."
Lisa Kelsey -
Here's a movie of Dan doing what he liked to do best.
Please pause the current audio (above) before viewing.
Here are the picture boards from my brother's funeral. Click on each one to see the high resolution image.
OUR LAST PICTURES TOGETHER
Dan and Dave
Steve - Darin - Dan
Faith - Dave
Steven Anthony - Darin Joseph - Jacque Wayne - Daniel John - David Jacques
Donna Marie - Faith Marie
We talked, and you left us before an hour had passed... I waited. Now what I get to do is miss you. A small hour has indeed twisted and turned fate.
I relish the many memories of our times together.
A BENEFIT FOR DAN'S FAMILY
A huge THANK YOU to all who organized and participated in the auction.
$3,646.00 was raised as a result of your thoughtfulness and generosity!
A friend of Dan's, Carl Jahns, has informed me that the 7th Annual Big Woods 200 event on September 22-23. 2007 (sponsored by
Wisconsin Dual Sport Riders) is holding an auction to benefit Dan's daughter Lisa. 100% of the auction proceeds will be donated to Lisa's educational fund. The idea was inspired by Dan's buddies who attented his memorial and the entire lot of items to be auctioned are donated by his friends and co-workers.
Mark Charlton is working on some decals as a tribute.
Included in this auction are gear bags, bike accessories and a hand painted Big Woods 200 tribute poster. Plus, believed to be the top item, the design group has customized a Harley tank that's signed by Willie G himself!
The recent Big Woods newsletter reads:
"The week after the Ride for Research, a fellow long time Wabeno rider and friend to many of us was taken by a drunk driver. At Dan's memorial service a group of us came up with the idea of doing a silent auction to raise some money for Dan's twelve year old daughter's continuing education fund. Everything that will be part of this has been donated by Dan's friends, riding buddies and co-workers at Harley Davidson. Please be as generous as you always are for both raffles. In conclusion I want to say I am proud to have a helping hand in this, but I hope I never have to do another one for a friend or rider. Please Ride safe, but keep riding!" - Little John
An abbreviated itenerary of the event follows.
Friday: Registration and a free ride from the maps provided. There's usually a bonfire at the fairgrounds.
Saturday: Participants ride much of the day with a stop at one of the local communities for lunch (chili-fest). Then back to the fairgrounds for a steak dinner sponsored by one of the local organizations. Festivities include a raffle, social interaction, awards and more.
Sunday: Enjoy breakfast at the local church and some more riding. Wind down day to re-adjust to normal life.
On behalf of the entire Kelsey family I wish to extend another resounding THANK YOU for your bombarding reminders of the person that Dan was. His memory shines even more proudly by your graciousness! Even though we miss everything about him, you do realize that Dan has been equally blessed to be associated with "friends" that each of you have proven to be?! Your kinship proves that there are souls worthy of our grief, and enduring reasons to love those that are genuine and dear. We thank you, Dan's friends, for making his life more fulfilling!
The judge in this case, Ralph Ramirez, invites you to mail him regarding this tragedy. He will use your letters as insight into the terrible loss we have all suffered (read the recent decision below). Please consider sharing your thoughts with someone who cares enough to listen, and who is in the position to see that justice is served. Others should not have to endure the hardship of such an irresponsible act.
Your mail will be read by both Judge Ramirez and Dan Johnson. Your mail needs to be received before sentencing on October 15th, 2007.
You can mail him at:
Judge Ralph Ramirez District Attorneys Office Attention: Sherry Palmer
Waukesha County Courthouse
515 W. Moreland Rd. Room G72
Waukesha, WI 53188
For those who missed (or would like to revisit) the funeral, I have posted links to the entire video below.
I have also posted shorter video and audio clips of Steve's, Darin's and my dad's memories.
HERE'S DAN BY HIS BIKE ON MAY 27TH, 2007
(JUST 20 DAYS BEFORE THE ACCIDENT)
This was the shirt he was wearing at the funeral.
:: Obituary ::
Born into Eternal Life on June 15, 2007, as a result of a motorcycle accident at the age of 42. He is survived by his wife Keri (nee Kroboth); daughter Lisa; parents Jacque and Donna Kelsey; brothers and sister David (Lena) Kelsey, Faith Kelsey, Darin (Carol) Kelsey and Steve (Linda) Kelsey; father-in-law and mother-in-law John and Geraldine Kroboth; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Vernette Kroboth, Rick (Joan) Kroboth, Sheri (Bob) Glisch, and Kelly (Rick) Bensemann. He is further survived by other relatives and friends. A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, June 21, at 6:00 PM, at FIRST ALLIANCE CHURCH (W156 N10041 Pilgrim Rd., Germantown). There will be a visitation from 3:00 PM until the time of services at the church.
WOW! The outpouring of sympathy, wishes and kindness from the "standing room only" crowd made Dan's funeral a truly special service. Our family wishes to thank each and every one of you for sharing our farewell to Dan, and for your patience waiting in line to pay your respects.
A heartfelt thanks to those of you who have already left comments!
We're looking forward to enjoying more of your special gifts.
A MESSAGE FROM DAN'S COUSIN, LIZ MARTIN
A couple of weeks ago I received a phone call from my sister telling me that one of our cousins was killed in a hit-and-run accident. Dan was riding his motorcycle and was hit by a pick-up truck. As I sat in his memorial service I was struck by all that I observed. It was obvious that Dan had touched the lives of many people. So many that they had to set up folding chairs in the narthex and the sanctuary, and still, there were many people standing along the side and back of the sanctuary. I listened as two of my cousins stood strong, reading scriptures and speaking of Dan's faith, whereby showing their faith, as well. I listened as my uncle stood and spoke the message God had given him to share specifically with the fathers. In the midst of his human loss and pain, he allowed God to use him in a powerful way. The strength of this family, to me, was a witness and testimony of the freedom of Christ in their life.
As the service continued, it was clear to me that Dan knew well the freedom of Christ. The church's worship team, of which he had been a member, played one of his favorite songs, "In Christ Alone". The last few lines of the song are "No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand. 'Till He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I'll stand." As Dan's pastor spoke he shared how he and Dan had had many deep conversations about his faith. The pastor told of how Dan's life had changed many years ago, calling it "a radical transformation". He talked about how Dan had been delivered from the hold drugs and alcohol had once had over him. One of the worship team members shared a song that was a favorite of Dan's. Every time they would warm up Dan would start to play the song, "Be Still and Know". Dan would remind him that sometimes we just need to be quiet and listen for God to speak.
As I sat through the service there was no doubt in my mind that Dan was now in a wonderful place, and the service could not have ended with anything more convincing than the song that was played as we watched pictures of Dan's life. The song was "Wish You Were Here". The chorus says, "But don't cry for me 'cause I'm finally free, to run with the angels on streets made of gold; to listen to stories of saints new and old; to worship our maker; that's where I'll be when you finally find me."
Dan received the gift that is available to us all. Jesus was his Lord and Savior and his friend. No one could have left that night without knowing how much he loved Jesus. He not only knew what it meant to be free in Christ while on earth, he now knows the ultimate freedom of an eternity in Heaven.
As we celebrate the 4th of July and the freedom we have in this country, let us also be sure of the freedom we have in Christ. That is a freedom that can't be taken from us! If you don't know that freedom, seek after it until you can say, "No power of hell, no scheme of man can every pluck me from His hand!"
May we all know freedom as Christ intended!
State of Wisconsin vs. Daniel S Johnson (DOB 02/10/1969)
Case Number: 2007CF000659
Click Here for an Overview of the Case For a summary of the court hearings, please click on theCourt Record Events
Waukesha County Courthouse
515 West Moreland Blvd
Waukesha, WI 53188
Hit and Run-Involving Death
Pieper, Thomas J.
06/28/07 - This proceeding, which was originally scheduled for 3:00pm, was to validate that Dan Johnson had waived his right to a Preliminary Hearing. He sheepishly agreed to all the questions posed by the Court Commissioner to the extent that the Commissioner asked if he really understood what he was answering to. I believe his Attorney then commented that Dan may be confused about the bail (it's difficult to hear through the speakers behind the bullet-proof glass). When asked if they were ready to enter a plea, his Attorney responded that they preferred to enter it at a later date. Apparently 13 days is not adequate time to determine your position on a crime you committed, and a person you eradicated from this earth. The next hearing date is scheduled for July 3rd at 10:00am and I will be there.
Seeing the person that killed my brother was a strange event, very un-personal and very scripted. Everything from the jolly pre-hearing official's attitudes to the confused exactness of answers provided by an irresponsible criminal left me little to wonder why our court system has failed to keep a killer off the streets. One cannot help but to fear that yet another injustice may prevail. Let's hope that this lax attitude I witnessed today is only due to the courtroom I spectated.
Ramirez, Ralph M.
07/03/07 - Dave and Keri attended. This proceeding involved the plea and a request for modification of bail. It was difficult to witness the person who has caused so much turmoil to so many people, but Keri and I were there to support each other.
The plea was entered as "not guilty". This was the only plea the judge would accept as this case needs to go to trial so that the evidence and details can be disclosed and analyzed.
The modification of bail was denied. The judge was not sympathetic of someone with such a long standing alcohol problem, the recurring drunk driving convictions and his eagerness to flee the scene. He determined that Dan Johnson was a threat to society and saw no responsible reason why he should be released.
Ramirez, Ralph M.
08/09/07 - Dave, Keri and Lisa attended. We were expecting a plea at this hearing but Johnson's attorney, Gerald Boyle (best known for defending killer Jeffrey Dahmer), excercised his classic courtroom demeanor. Even though documents had been made available on June 28th, there was something received on August 2nd (a picture I believe) that he hadn't had time to study... plus he apologized for not finding the time to talk with his client... plus something about his daughter was handling it initially and now he's taking over. Take your disorganized pick. Quite a bombarding slew of apologetic blubbery for such a respect-commanding individual.
He insisted that even though he was at fault for not being ready to proceed that Johnson was entitled to meet with him. He reassured the judge that he would meet with Johnson that weekend and they'd have a plea on Monday the 13th (the day before the scheduled jury trial). This was immediately before he eluded to the question of the requirement for two days notice for jail visitation (which the judge would have no knowledge of). Recognizing his theatrics, judge Ramirez immediately reaffirmed that the plea would be made on Monday, or we would be seeing jury trial on Tuesday.
He also stated more than once that this case was not going to trial as there is no defense since Johnson had admitted to everything. Even so, he needed to investigate a questionable surveillance tape and other "mitigating circumstances".
Ramirez, Ralph M.
08/13/07 - Dave, Keri and Lisa attended. Friends of Dan Johnson's father also attended. They were very kind and sincere people. It was nice to see them there.
After much questioning by the judge the plea entered was "no contest". Judge Ramirez accepted the plea and found Dan Johnson guilty of the hit and run involving death charge. This charge carries a maximum penalty of $100,000 in fines and 25 years in Prison. The next order of affairs is the pre-sentence report and investigation to determine the punishment for this crime. This is scheduled to be final no later than October 12th. Sentencing will be executed on October 15th. Attending these hearings is heartbreaking, yet necessary. It's somewhat reassuring to know that these proceedings will not be drawn out into a courtroom fiasco.
Ramirez, Ralph M.
10/15/07 -The sentence is set at 16 years. 12 years of prison time with 4 years of probation. Judge Ramirez did offer a rehabilitation program after 9 years which, based on current law, he would not qualify for due to the age he will be at that time (47).
We were initially informed that fleeing the scene of a hit and run accident incurred a stiffer penalty than a (fifth) drunk driving involving death. This seemed strange to us at the time and as the sentencing date approached we were surprisingly informed that this was not the case. Had Dan Johnson been caught and tested beyond the legal alcohol limit he would have been facing 25 years in prison and not the lesser potential penalty.
An article that I found at (LINK NO LONGER ACTIVE) reflects on this a bit. We attended court with this new realization and attempted to ready ourselves for more bad news. Our expectations have, once again, been readjusted... but ~nothing~ since Dan's passing stands a chance of being fair.
The people responsible for the presentence recommendation of 5-6 years in prison require some oversight. They are obviously incapable of determining anything near an appropriate punishment for significant criminal action. Yet another pathetic waste of our tax dollars!
We were all invited to add our thoughts to the proceedings, whether it be letters to the judge, or the emotional statements made by my father, Steve and Keri. I have made my letter available here. I commend Judge Ramirez for listening to our letters and statements. He is a judge that truly listens to the victims and weighs his decisions based on family and friend's input. He is not content with stories of little substance and is a person of genuine beliefs. I am satisfied that he was the right person to delegate justice for my brother. It appears from the sentencing that Judge Ramirez was intent on making a statement regarding this case, which was our hope. The summary from Judge Ramirez was extraordinary. He expressed the whole ordeal with great definition and passion.
My family's appreciation goes out to all those who wrote in and his friends who attended the sentencing. It is always a warm feeling to meet Dan's friends and witness their continued support. You've done him proud. He was truly honored to be associated with such fine people!
My hope is that Dan's memory is dignified by what has transpired.
Below are News Reports Regarding the Accident and Proceedings