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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 , 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 , Dale Audet, lost control of the vehicle and crashed. Deckman and Giles died instantly.

Giles graduated from  in 2011 and Deckman graduated from  in 2010.

"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 , 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,  (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.

Charnell Parthemore January 03, 2012 at 07:21 PM
I don't know which sources have said the families are not pursuing charges against the driver. I am Jon's mother and I am waiting to hear what the police and DA's office are doing as far as charges and punishment for his actions that night which caused the accident. If the driver was not speeding which caused him to lose control of his vehicle, my son would be here today. I would like to have the last paragraph of the article to be corrected as we have never said we were not planning on pressing charges.
John Thomas January 03, 2012 at 08:35 PM
I wonder how Patch managed to get that last paragraph wrong ? Charnell : Did you know Mr. Audet personally ?
Maya T. Prabhu January 03, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Thanks Charnell for letting us know. That was the information that was given to us. I apologize if it was inaccurate. The article has been updated.
Karen Cole January 03, 2012 at 10:01 PM
I am Jeff's mom and I think this whole article should be removed. Some of this may be true, but most of this is incorrect information (before it was re-edited and published on the internet). There is no mention of our church family, Lighthouse in Glen Burnie who has been a huge support and comfort to us specifically. There is no mention of Jeff's friends outside of the church, in the community, or his family. No mention of the benefit concert from Shelby Blondell who wrote the most beautiful song in his memory. The author and the Severn Patch would do well to make more than one attempt to get our view before this article went out. This is more about the viewpoint of one youth worker and three friends from HCC, hardly capitalizing on Jeff's circle of friends and the full community outreach. I really would like to put this behind us and have this article removed until properly reported. It is hard enough to go through something like this. I pray for healing for our family and the Deckmans/Parthemore's.
Karen Cole January 03, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Mr. Thomas- This is Karen Cole. My husband and I were friends with Dale long before the accident. Prayers also are requested for his recovery.
Brad Gerick January 03, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Hi, Karen, I'm very sorry for the loss you and your family have suffered. Please accept our deepest condolences. We did our absolute best to contact all parties involved in the incident, including your family, multiple times before this article was posted, but unfortunately could not reach everyone. We would be more than happy to speak to you and anyone else you would like us to and do another story about Jeff and all those who have helped you since the tragedy. Again, I'm sorry for your loss, and please feel free to contact Maya or me at anytime. Brad Gerick Regional Editor Brad@Patch.com – 443-621-3056
Jennifer Giles January 11, 2012 at 02:37 PM
How about mention his REAL FATHER KEVIN GILES!!! This is insulting that another article is published forgetting Jeff had a side of loving relatives including a real father and step mother and siblings!!!
Jennifer Giles January 11, 2012 at 02:37 PM
David Cole us not his father
Ashley johnson July 23, 2012 at 12:57 AM
I'm very sorry to hear about the loss that both families have suffered. However making the driver, dale, suffer even more than he already has is selfish and dragging this out so much longer. Both boys were old enough to know the consequences of not wearing seat belts and they choose not too. It was an ACCIDENT. Dale never mean to hurt anyone. Kids will be kids. That doesn't mean he needs to suffer even more for your loss. He's suffering as well. Not only physically but mentally he will never be the same. I'm sorry for your loss but pressing charges is putting another family through as much as you have been through.
Caleb April 01, 2013 at 02:30 AM
Jennifer Giles, its Jeffs little brother Caleb. Where was Kevin Jeffs last 10 years of his life. Tell me, how was he a father to Jeff. My dad raised him into a great man.

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