Friends of Teens Killed in Accident Keep Memories Alive
One month after Jon Deckman and Jeff Giles were killed in a car accident in Elkridge, friends and family of the two teens speak out about their lives since the fatal accident, and the church that has helped them start to move forward.
Kaity Lindsey, a student at Towson University, lost her boyfriend, Jon Deckman, Nov. 25 when he and his best friend, Jeff Giles, died in a car accident.
Deckman, 18, and his friend, Jeff Giles, 19, were traveling on Lawyers Hill Road in Elkridge when the driver, Dale Audet, lost control of the vehicle and crashed. Deckman and Giles died instantly.
"This has been the hardest thing that has ever happened to me and I hate it," Lindsey said. "It doesn't hurt any less since the day it's happened."
Since the accident, Lindsey has returned to her college studies and embraced Facebook as a way of communicating her feelings about the loss of Deckman.
In a recent Facebook status update, Lindsey expressed the difficulty of celebrating Christmas when missing a loved one.
“I just can't make myself be happy and 'merry' today. I will never ever stop loving you, Jon. You are missed more than anything and I can't wait until I get to see you again in Heaven and finally get my forever with you back,” Lindsey wrote.
Natalie Spuler, a student at Annapolis Area Christian School, was a close friend of Giles. Spuler eulogized Giles at his funeral service, and said she spoke of the amazing friend Giles was to her and thanked him for all of the support he had shown her during their friendship.
“Since that day, I have really made it a point to tell people how much they mean to me each and every day,” Spuler said. “I don't want anyone to question whether or not I love them.”
Lindsey said that she has been amazed by the support of her church, Heritage Community Church (HCC). Deckman and Giles also attended the Severn church and is the home church of several friends of the teens and, at one point, the families.
"The HCC family has been amazing," Lindsey said. "No one knows what to say to anyone, but their support and affection have been perfect."
April Eslick, an HCC staff member and a leader within the church's youth ministry, spoke highly of church members who have supported both families throughout the last few weeks.
“I have been amazed and so proud of the HCC family for how they have stepped up to support the two families in so many special ways,” Eslick said.
Eslick explained that church members have become the backbone of the grieving families and teens within the church. According to Eslick, church attendees have made meals, offered to babysit younger children and supported the families with daily prayers.
“Some people literally showed up when they heard of the tragedy and sat by the families' sides throughout the first days,” Eslick said.
Eslick also spoke of her position working with students affected by the tragedy within the church's youth program—VERB Student Ministries. Eslick called the loss of a teen “gut-wrenching” and said that her heart still aches daily for the parents, families and friends of those who were close with Deckman and Giles.
“As youth leaders, it's important for us to pour into the lives of these teens, to do our best to lift them up, and to keep them headed down the right road as they grieve,” Eslick said.
Sources close to the families say Audet—the driver in the November accident—remains in the hospital.
CORRECTION: This article has been updated to clarify comments about Dale Audet and Jeff Giles' relationship with Jon Deckman. It also a corrected the graduation date of Jeff. He graduated in 2011. It also corrected the spelling of Kaity Lindsey's last name. Patch sincerely regrets the errors.