Two years ago today, Bob Chisholm's world was torn apart when a drunk driver evading police during a high speed chase in Eureka slammed into the car carrying his family home from a birthday celebration.
His wife Danielle Weaver-Chisholm was killed. He was severely injured. His daughter Annabelle was left without a mother.
"I remember holding her hand as we approached the red light in front of Bed Bath and Beyond. I remember thanking her for taking me to dinner. As I let go of her grip, to hold the steering wheel with two hands, we exchanged 'love yous' as we had with every other breath for years," Chisholm said. "I saw red and blue police lights in the distance, and the thought crossed my mind to ease to the side of the road. Danielle was checking on Annabelle. All at once, I saw a flash of red and white."
The couple met during high school in Mississippi, and later moved to Humboldt County because Chisholm's father is from Eureka and they'd always talked about coming here. They were married for seven years. She was 24.
"It's hard to say what my favorite part of her was," Chisholm said. "She was really passionate and straight-forward. She was my favorite person. She was like a part of me."
Now, he wants to make sure his wife is never forgotten and that her dream of sending Annabelle to Humboldt State University becomes a reality. A college account has been set up on Danielle Weaver-Chisholm's Mothers Against Drunk Driving tribute page.
Chisholm said he's honest with their daughter about whatever she asks, but he doesn't really tell her that her mom's not coming back.
"I don't talk much about her really to Annabelle," Chisholm said. "She'll look at pictures and knows who she is. I tell her that her mama loves her, and I'm sorry she's not here. Annabelle likes puzzles and coloring a lot. She's always saying she needs to learn her numbers. She likes to read and watch things about Peter Pan. She loves the beach, and would go and stay there all day, every day if she could. She likes to ride in our kayak and play with puppies. She knows the name of every dog she's ever seen."
Chisholm said the driver, Brooke Danna Hames, was uninsured, and the injuries he sustained in the accident have left him completely disabled.
Hames, who was allegedly driving at speeds of more than 90 mph with a blood alcohol level of 0.20 percent, was sentenced to 14 years in prison in August 2012.
"Danielle was so full of life," her friend Mandy Jorgensen said. "I hope people can learn from this tragedy, that drinking and driving is serious and innocent people die everyday because of it. All I can really say is Danielle is missed so much by me and thought of daily."
Jillian Singh can be reached at 441-0509 or Jsingh@times-standard.com
On the Web: How to help
To donate to Annabelle Chisholm's student savings account, visit Danielle Weaver-Chisholm's Mothers Against Drunk Driving tribute page at http://support.madd.org/site/TR/Events/General?pxfid=90374&fr_id=2810&pg=fund