California limo crash brings back painful memories for Piedmont father

Posted on: 10:25 pm, May 6, 2013, by , updated on: 04:01pm, May 8, 2013

DAVIE COUNTY, N.C.– The deadly, fiery limo crash in California brings back painful memories for a Davie County family.

Ricky Howell lost his three daughters in a limo fire in 2003.

“They were fun-loving girls and they loved their mom and dad,” explained Howell.

Tara, Mysti and Megan were in the limo on their way home from a Fleetwood Mac concert at the Greensboro Coliseum. It was the first night the three of them were able to go out together. A driver rear ended their limo and it caught on fire. All three girls were unable to escape.

Ricky Howell said hearing about the limo crash in California is tough.

“Being girls close to the same age, it’s suppose to be a special time, like our girls and to turn into something like that it’s just hard to imagine. People can’t imagine what it’s like,” he said.

Ironically, the limo in the California crash was a 1999 Lincoln; the limo in the Greensboro crash was a 1998 Lincoln.

“I’m wondering what other problems they had or have with them, maybe some people need to look at them a little closer especially getting them out them being trapped, maybe a better exit,” explained Howell.

Howell’s heart goes out to the victims’ families in California.

“Oh, it’s sickening. It brings back memories too. You know the families are hurting too. We’ve just been praying for them ever since we found about it.”

The Howell family sued Ford Motor Company and settled the dispute out of court. The driver who hit the limo Howell’s daughters will spend five to six years in prison. Police say his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.