Seconds after Sam Amedeo emerged from the bathroom of his family’s home in Moravia last week, a vehicle crashed into him.
Alan McCormick said his fiancé’s 16-year-old daughter, Sam, was the only person in their home at 2228 Route 38A when a pickup truck crashed into the residence. Sam had thought about doing her hair in the bathroom mirror, but she needed to find a brush, so she decided to do it later and left the bathroom just before she got into the car, decimating the room and collapsing part of the ceiling.
“It’s like a bomb went off there,” McCormick said.
He believes that Sam’s decision to fix his hair later inadvertently saved his life.
Cayuga County 911 dispatchers previously said a call was received at 5:29 p.m. Sept. 7 for a vehicle that hit the house. A pickup truck operated by Frederick N. Kuhn, 2641 Jugg St., Moravia, was heading north on Route 38A, left the east side of the road and continued until it crashed into the building, the sheriff said last week. of Cayuga County, Brian Schenck.
Sheriff’s deputies who arrived at the scene determined that Kuhn, a corporal with the sheriff’s office custody division who was off duty at the time of the incident, was “under the influence of alcohol,” Schenck said. Kuhn, the only person in the vehicle, was charged with driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor and several citations for violations.
Kuhn was transported by ambulance to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse. Schenck said last week that the incident was under investigation and that he was limited in what he could say about possible disciplinary action, as it is a personnel matter. He said that Kuhn would be placed on administrative leave.
In an email to The Citizen on Tuesday, the sheriff said Kuhn was still in the hospital and there were no further updates on the investigation.
McCormick, who lived in the house with his fiancée, Amanda Amedeo, and their children, spoke to The Citizen on Wednesday about the incident, the GoFundMe online fundraiser he set up for his family and a video he made last week publicly forgiving Kuhn.
The house was condemned last week and the family has not been allowed to enter, McCormick said, with many of its items destroyed or inaccessible. He and Amanda have nine children, with seven currently living with them. The family found a place to stay in the first days after the incident, then moved into a rental apartment in Moravia this week that a friend helped them find.
McCormick, who is the homeless coordinator for Cayuga County, said that he and his family suddenly becoming homeless and losing their material possessions, along with the uncertainty that comes with it, has been difficult. He said the kids “don’t feel stable” and some don’t participate in extracurricular activities.
“Bringing the kids home to tell them what happened and not knowing where you’re going to lay your head that night, all the things, it’s so, so hard to get over,” she said.
Although McCormick calls the accident a tragedy “on every level,” he noted with a hint of laughter that a person from the sheriff’s office “incites the crime and then the homeless coordinator is left homeless. He has to to be the most ironic accident of the year”.
Despite the incident, McCormick said he and Amanda still plan to get married in October, but he lamented that it will be smaller, less expensive and different than they originally wanted.
“This situation just robs us on every level, you know?” he said. “It takes away from all areas of our life.”
Amanda and McCormick were on a previous date when Sam contacted them about what had happened. McCormick noted early on that he didn’t think the situation would be that bad, “because you hear a car hit a house and usually it’s like, ‘Oh, they veered off the road a little bit, they hit the corner of the house.’ “. Once he arrived, with emergency vehicles still on the scene, he realized the damage was far more significant. McCormick described what was going through his mind at the time.
“I just said, ‘I don’t know how we’re going to recover from this,'” he said.
But McCormick and his family are getting help. His friend Dave Coy created a GoFundMe page, titled “Alan & Amanda’s Rebuild.” As of Wednesday afternoon, $2,725 of a $20,000 goal has been raised in the six days since the fundraiser was created. Noting that the house’s foundation had some old supports that were destroyed, McCormick isn’t sure if the residence can be saved. People he knows and strangers alike have contributed.
“A lot of people have helped. I’ve been working in human services for almost 20 years and we’re lucky to have wonderful people in our lives that we’ve met, that we meet and strangers that have come forward,” she said. she said. “We are very grateful to everyone for helping.”
There have also been difficulties with insurance, he added. McCormick is talking to a construction company about whether the structure can be saved or rebuilt, as about half of the house was badly damaged.
McCormick added that he and Amanda put their pensions into the house “believing it was an investment, because it was the only house we could afford that would fit such a large family.”
In the face of these challenges, McCormick said he still lets forgiveness enter his life. In a video posted Sept. 9 to McCormick’s Facebook page, he discussed why he and his family have been praying for Kuhn.
“Here’s the thing, we lost a lot, we’ve been up all night crying, our kids are scared, all of that, but see, I see he’s human. He made a mistake here, drinking and driving is always a big deal.” mistake, it’s irresponsible, all the things,” McCormick said.
Saying he made “some of the biggest mistakes of my life” a couple of years ago, McCormick said the forgiveness he was honored with changed his life.
“That grace changed my life, that forgiveness that I experienced changed everything about who I am to the core, and I offer him (Kuhn) forgiveness. I offer him forgiveness, I refuse to hate him. I see his humanity and I forgive him, because when you are given a gift like that you can’t help but do it. You have to pass it on,” McCormick said. “Maybe I’ll see this one day. I hope I do. But brother, I forgive you and my family forgives you. And we lost a lot, man. This was really, really bad. But you’re forgiven and I pray your life changes too, like he did to me.”
Saying that he understands the video has received around 6,000 views, McCormick said he and his family are trying to make sense of it and find some kind of purpose to this destruction. He talked about why he wanted to post the video.
“I felt the power that (forgiveness) had in my life. I was able to change who I was at the fundamental level, the foundation of who I am changed because I experienced that forgiveness, and that is a gift,” she said. “It is a gift that you can use in your life and you can improve it.”
McCormick said he and his family are dealing with the incident and its aftermath to the best of their ability considering the circumstances.
“We are sad, we are grieving, it is a great loss for our family, but we are fine. We are surviving … we are going to stay together,” he said.