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My Impact Statement Given at Sentencing November 4, 2010
by Nanci Hulchiy on Sunday, November 7, 2010 at 2:54pm


Good afternoon Your Honor, on behalf of the family and friends of Travis Bestwick, I would like to Thank you for giving me this opportunity to address the court this afternoon.
 
When I was told I would be given the opportunity to give a statement on how Travis, my only son's untimely death has impacted me, my family and his friends, I had a lot of thinking to do. Just how am I going to put this in words.
 
Well your Honor hold on tight you are about to go on the ride of your life and I am going to do my best to leave no stone unturned.
 
First in order for you to feel the loss of somebody I think you need to know who that somebody is. Travis was my first born and only son. Born with a birth defect Radial Hypo-plascia, a bone defect that caused the radial bone in his right arm not to grow, which made his right arm shorter than his left. Due to other possible complications the dr. told us he would need to be transferred from St. Clare's in Baraboo to St. Mary's in Madison which was 50 miles away and oh yeah by the way the ambulance that does the transfers has already left so we would have to take him ourselves. The nurse told me, after my 28 hours of labor that I could either go with or stay at St. Clare's while his dad, Aunt Kileen and Grandma Lorraine took him to Madison or I could go with. Obviously, this was a no brainer for me so with Aunt Kileen at the wheel, they wrapped my 5lb 15oz bright blue eyed baby boy in a warm blanket and off we went. Once we arrived at St. Mary's we were met at the emergency room door by a team of Doctors and nurses and Travis was whisked away for tests. The next time I saw my boy he was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, in an incubator hooked up to what seemed like 100 machines. When I went to side of his incubator he opened those big blue eyes as if to say “don't worry Mom I'll be ok”. All I could say to him was just that you're going to be ok buddy Mommy and Daddy are here with you. After a couple of days of testing, it was determined that he did not have any of the other complications that usually go with that type of birth defect which are a hole in the heart, kidneys fused together, cleft palate, or brain damage. So now it was time to call in the orthopedic surgeon to determine just what needed to be done with his arm. When Dr. Baranowski arrived he told us several things and the first and the one I remember most clearly was he said for the first 5 or so years of his life Travis' fine motor skills would probably not be good as his gross motor skills. At that time I wasn't really sure how or what that really meant. He then proceeded to put a cast, which weighed 2 oz on his little arm and said we were good to go. So after nearly a week in ICU we were finally able to take our now spoiled little boy home. He really got used to those nurses in ICU rocking him in that rocking chair when ever he was fussy.
 
Over the next several months we took him every 2 – 3 weeks for a cast change and check up with Dr. Baranowski. At nine months old he had his first corrective surgery, which was cleaning up some of the bone fragments, shortening some tendons and lengthening others. He was switched from plaster casts to plastic molded ones that were held on with velcro straps. Travis really never crawled much due to always having some type of apparatus on that arm, but he learned to walk at 10 months and after that he was off and running, I now was starting to understand the gross verses fine motor skills Dr. Baranowski talked about.
 When Travis was just 22 months old his baby sister Shawna was born and he was a very loving and caring big brother, so caring that one day I found him in her crib with her trying to give her her pacifier so she would stop crying. And fortunately for Travis, Shawna was understanding of his lack of fine motor skills and at 3 yrs old she was buttoning his shirts and tying his shoes for him because as his right arm was shorter he also didn't have a functioning thumb on that hand, and if you have ever tried to button your shirt or tie your shoes without using your thumb you would understand his frustration in trying to do it, so Shawna learned early and did it for him.
 
When Trav was nine years old, after many discussions we decided to have the corrective surgery that would remove the very small, stubby thumb he had and his index finger would also be removed, shortened and rotated so that he would have an appendage that crossed the palm of his hand. The surgery was performed by Dr. Light, who at the time was the hand surgeon for the Chicago White Sox, at Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children in Chicago.
 
After several weeks his hand was healed and Travis was ready to get back to doing the things he learned to do so well and loved; such as roller skating on quads none of those roller blades for him and Shawna, riding dirt bikes, four wheelers and snowmobiles. He also started in Karate that year and was invited to compete in a Regional tournament in Akron OH, which led him to Nationals in Jacksonville, FL. In 1995 he was chosen to represent the USA as a member of Team USA in an International karate tournament in Thessaloniki Greece where he won a Bronze medal in sparring. Two years later he was again chosen for Team USA, which took us to England, Ireland and France where he brought home the Silver medal in sparring.
 
As a teenager he still roller skated, but his love focused more on race cars, snowmobiles and motorcycles, which was no surprise to us, his dad has owned and been riding Harleys for more than 40 years.
 
By the time he got in to his 20's his love for the Ford Mustang grew so that in 2007 he purchased his very own 1985 Lime Green GT. Before he purchased his own race car Travis spent endless days and nights working on his friends race cars, setting up races at the track and in some cases even racing their cars for them.
 
Travis made friends in many places and kept them his whole life, he might not have talked to them all on a regular basis, but would remember to call them occasionally or maybe on their birthday even if they were at Mardi Gras or in Florida without him. He would call them if he was going to be near their house to see if he could stop by or meet them somewhere to catch up. When I would get the $500.00 a month cell phone bills, he would bat those baby blues and say but Mom I had to call ….... and then he would rattle off about 20 peoples names he had to call cause he hadn't talked to them is so long. He would also call me, his sister and his dad each at least 10 times a day to say nothing but what are you doing or “how bout those 24's for my truck”. He had a smile that would light up a room and brightest blue eyes you had ever seen, he could annoy the hell out of you with those phone calls yet we all loved him to pieces.
 
This is just a bit of who Travis, the son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin and friend was but I felt it necessary to give you this insight in order for you to get to know him somewhat.
 No matter what any one tells you, short of hypnosis, there is no way anyone could explain in words to someone else the affect of losing a child has on your life. It is that horrible, but as I said in the beginning hang on tight you are going on the ride of your life, well now you are going on the ride of my life or as I prefer to call it now my existence. While you sit and just imagine, remember this is my reality.....
 
It's 2 a.m. June 22, 2008 after a 12 hour day at work I am awoken by a frantic phone call from my daughter telling me Travis was just in an accident on Curtis' bike, it takes a bit, but I finally get it out of her where he is and I wake up my husband, who has been home less than a week, after a six week near death hospital stay with MRSA, to tell him I need to go Travis was just in an accident.
 
I get to the site to be rudely told by the officer directing traffic to pull in the parking lot cause he doesn't have time for me, after I told him that my son was the person on motorcycle and I just needed to know where I could find my daughter. I parked my car and found Shawna and Curtis frantically pacing on the east side of Greenbay road, we know it's Travis we see the bike. We ask where they will be taking him and no one seems to know, finally we find an officer who radios in and the dispatcher tells him the driver of the car is going to St. Cat's and that Flight for Life has been called for the motorcycle driver, that would be the first of many times over the next several days that I literally have to pick my daughter up off of the ground and carry her away. her and Curtis had just spent the better part of the day riding, eating, laughing and enjoying the day with Travis and now he's being flighted to Froedtert. I watch, from across the street, as the paramedics work on my boy, but I am told we can't be with him, the last thing I see is his head strapped to the gurney, the black socks on his feet and then him being lifted into the ambulance . We are told the ambulance will take him to Aurora and Flight for Life will meet them there and take him to Froedtert.
 
We get back in our cars and drive to Aurora to wait for the helicopter, once it arrives, for the second time in his life a team of doctors and nurses swarm over him but this time they rush him into the helicopter and moments later they take off for Milwaukee, we drive off after them. Once we reach Froedtert we are met by two Kenosha Police officers who ask us some questions, take his drivers license and off they go, we are told Travis is being evaluated and we are taken to an area in the hospital to wait. As we wait, cell phones are ringing, messages are being sent and people are being told what happened and where we are and soon the room is filling up with friends, mind you it's like 4 in the morning. We ask probably 100 times if we can see him yet and we are told he is still being worked on. I have been on the phone with his dad who is still at home in Kenosha about 20 times keeping him updated and I finally have to start calling family. I call my sister and brother-in-law first, who just lost their son, my godson in December of 2007 to tell them the news of the accident, they of coarse are immediately on there way to Milwaukee from Illinois, by now there are at least 20 people there waiting to hear any news on his condition. Sitting in that waiting room was where I first heard about this guy in the Taurus that hit Travis, and the altercation that started near Coins, with him almost hitting Shawna and Curtis. I told them, when we got home we would go to the police station and fill out a report, not ever thinking someone could have done this on purpose.
 
 
Finally at about 6 a.m. I see 2 Duggie Howser looking doctors solemnly walking down the hall and I know this is not a good sign, they come into the room and want me to talk to me privately, I politely tell them they can say what they have to in front of all of us, that these are just some of Travis' closest friends. They proceed to tell us that the injuries are severe, he has irreversible brain damage and that he has been revived numerous times and I need to decide if I want to sign the DNR papers. I, for the second time, picked my daughter up off the ground and set her in a chair, we now have heard the worst, Travis is going to die. So while the actions of Mr. Rocha-Mayo caused the damage, I was left with the decision to let him die, I had to sign the papers not to resuscitate my only son, how would you like that on your shoulders for the rest of your life? Pretty hard to imagine I'm guessing, but remember for me this is reality. I signed the papers.
 
We were given the room number of the ICU unit he is in and are told we can go see him. Shawna and I decide we will go first and as soon as we could we would send for the others that wished to see him.
Twenty five years and 24 days after I saw my son for the first time hooked up to machines in an incubator, I see him again hooked up to machines, but this time I don't see those bright blue eyes, but I see bloody mess, his head wrapped in bloody gauze and his eyes closed, for all intense and purposes I see my dead son. This time all I can say to him is it's ok buddy you can go now, I'll take care of Dad, Shawna, Curty and the kids and don't worry mom will be alright, a far cry from what I said to him 25 yrs earlier. This is what he would have expected me to say, I was the mom that could and would do anything to make everything alright, and that night the only thing I couldn't make right was him. I held his hand and at 8:08 a.m. watched him take his last breath, I knew there was nothing more I could do, I was there when he took his first breath and I was there when he took his last breath. I love that boy more anyone will ever know, but I know he knew what he meant to me and I know what I meant to him. Travis was an incredible son and friend to me, we had a relationship I wouldn't have changed for anything.
 
Now the task of going downstairs and telling all the friends and family that Travis was gone, wow how was I going to do that? How was I going to tell his Dad, who I had been on the phone with, but knowing how sick he was and that he was home alone, I was just pacifying him with the “they are still working on him”, now I had to go back to Kenosha, tell him his son was dead and bring him back to Milwaukee so he could see him one last time. So there I was trying to console 30 or more of Travis and Shawna's friends, all the while not know how I was going to be able to take my next breath. Now to figure out how I was going to go get Rick, keep an eye on Shawna & Curtis, call the rest of my family and Rick's family, because there was no way he was in any condition to call anyone, make funeral arrangements and all this with out my boy. Pretty overwhelming if I may say so myself.
 
So I decide to have Curtis drive me and my brother-in-law (yeah the one that just lost his own son six months earlier) to Kenosha to break the news to Rick and bring us back to Milwaukee. I'm sure it was one of the worst rides Curtis has ever taken, driving his now dead best friend's mom to tell his dad he's dead. My sister stays with Shawna and this increasing number of friends who just keep on coming to the hospital. Shawna, who by know is in shock, takes anyone who wants to see Travis up to his room in ICU, the staff at Froedtret is more than accommodating in helping console these kids, for some it was too overwhelming and they opted not to go, but that number was pretty low, most went and even though he lay there a cold bloody mess they still held his hand and told him how much he meant to them and how they would never forget him, they were real troopers.
 
Curtis, Mike and I arrive at my house in Kenosha around 10 a.m. That morning. It takes me a few minutes outside to get my head together to in and tell Travis' father that he's gone, but somehow I muster up the courage and go in and tell him. He has had two surgeries in the last 6 weeks and is still pretty medicated and really doesn't get what I'm saying. I get him dressed we load up and go back to Froedtert so Rick can see his son for the last time. By the time we get back to the hospital the crowd has grown to 50 – 60 people Shawna says. We wheel Rick up to ICU to see his boy, in total shock, he starts wiping what he says are tears from Travis' bloody eyes. It is now 2 p.m. And we have to leave the hospital, not so easy. Shawna doesn't want to go, she can't leave her big brother there alone, not he never left her alone, not even when she was delivering 2 of her 3 babies, he stood right outside that door when both Arianna and Jordynn were born. So yeah I have to pick her up once again and literally carry her out of his room.
 
Now comes the time to see my only son lying in a casket, the funeral director asking for sunglasses to cover his badly black and blue eyes. This was one of the hardest things I had to do. His wake and funeral were attended by 100's of heart felt family and friends all who were trying to comfort us as well as each other. I was over whelmed with emotions and yet part of me was in denial and was numb that this was actually MY SONS funeral. Countless people who don't get me wrong I know were trying to do the right thing telling me he was in a better place, NO He's NOT, THE ONLY BETTER PLACE FOR HIM WAS HOME WITH ME.
 
It was at that point that I decided that his person that took my sons life had gotten all he was getting from me and I was going to be Travis' voice on this from that day forward until today and beyond.
 
I have to be strong, like I told my son I would be, for my Rick, Shawna, Curty and Arianna and Jordynn, who had been robbed of their Uncle Travis. With Arianna asking who's gonna call me Boston now Nana? And Jordynn asking everytime he saw a helicopter if that's the one that took Uncle Travis and when it was going to bring him back so he could ride him up and down the driveway on his motorcycle. Imagine just looking into their little 6 and 3 yr. Old eyes knowing that you don't have the answer they want to hear. Knowing that you have to tell them Uncle Travis is never coming back. On Aug. 11, 2009 Shawna gave birth to Travis Austin Martin a day that should have been filled with nothing but joy, but no there was one big something missing, Uncle Travis pacing the hall waiting for his little sister to have her baby like he had done the 2 previous births.
 
The untimely death of a child doesn't just affected you on special days such as birthdays, anniversaries and holiday's, it is an everyday reality, I will never get to hear my sons voice or laugh again. The pain I feel everyday isn't one that can be managed with medication or therapy because no matter what the bottom line is still the same, I left my son in a box 6 feet underground due to the actions of one person. Call me bitter, angry or whatever other adjective comes to your head, but just remember I am the one who has to live without my son the rest of my life, that's the difference between imagining and reality – words.
 
So as you decide the sentence in this case your honor, please remember Travis, our family and friends have been given a sentence of LIFE.
 
Thank you.


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