Family says justice was served for 16-year-old Dale Nelson - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Family says justice was served for 16-year-old Dale Nelson

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16-year-old Dale Nelson 16-year-old Dale Nelson
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WEEK) -- -

A Bloomington mother says she has closure now, after the man who fatally hit her son while he was riding a bike was sentenced.


16-year-old Dale Nelson was left at the scene before he died. His family said during court, the driver, 32-year Steven Mccuen explained he mistook the boy for a deer and drove off after hitting him with his car.


After facing Mccuen in court Monday, the family is says they're taking it day by day to make something good out of their tragedy.

Rachel McCombs, Dale's mother wrote an open letter to the public, reliving the painful memory of losing her son, in hopes of preventing anyone else from experiencing the trauma.

"Dale was in a coma for 8 days. His brain injuries were so severe that the doctors couldn't do anything more for him." she read the letter aloud, standing only feet away from where Dale was hit. "On August the 23rd, I had to make funeral plans." she continued.

Dale was simply riding his bike to get a soda from this gas station, the family says, Mccuen, a three time DUI offender, fatally hit him.

"I'm missing his prom. I'm missing his high school graduation; him getting married, having children." said McCombs.

In the same location on Six Points Road in Bloomington where Dale spent his last moments, McCombs, Dale's great aunt, his sister, and step father gathered to remember him.


"He's up in heaven. He's a good Christian boy. He loved family reunions; anything family. " his Great Aunt Linda Cole said with a warm smile. 

Wiping tears from her face, his sister Lindsey, shared "We used to go fishing and mushroom hunting....and we used to play in the dirt."

McCombs says her son was a bright young teen who wanted to be a police officer. She even laughed as she thought about how much joy he brought to everyone. "He used to drive around college campuses hollering at all the cute girls" she joked as she flashed a bright smile reliving the memory. 

Dale's tragedy has inspired the family to get involved with 'MADD 'Mothers Against Drunk Driving' to do outreach work.


"That drink's not worth it. It's not worth a life. It's not worth anybody else's life." said Phillip Tarvin, his step father. Tarvin says he loved Dale like his own and enjoyed nothing more than spending time with him. 

McCombs hopes her letter will be a safeguard for others, reminding them never to get behind the wheel after drinking. 

Dale's memory doesn't just live on in the hearts of his family, however. 

In fact, his right kidney was donated to a man in his thirties and his eyes were given to a young boy in Michigan.

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