This Has Happened is a collaboration between two people joined by one event – a horrific collision that killed Alexander Chappell, Jeannine’s son and David’s close friend and band mate. The crash was caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol.
On April 18th, 2011, the driver responsible for the collision was arraigned in Alameda County Court on charges of Gross Vehicular Manslaughter, Felony Driving While Intoxicated and Felony Driving While Intoxicated Causing Great Bodily Injury. In May of 2011, he faced the Superior Judge for the first time, entering a plea of “not guilty.” His bond was set at $300,000 and he remained at Santa Rita County Jail in Oakland, California until he was sentenced in January of 2012.
News Articles about the Collision on April 14th, 2011
This is Alex. He was a son – the only child of his parents Sean and Jeannine, a friend, a confidant, a blacksmith, an artist, a musician, and a million other things.
He was twenty-six years old.
He is missed every minute of every day.
A Few Snippets of Alex’s Life
A Day at Bella Ironworks - VIDEO
Alex met David the same way so many musicians meet each other – through Craigslist, of course! They initially bonded over their music with fellow band mate, Brian, a guitar player and friend of Alex’s, forming the band, Thea. Over the course of time, however, Alex and David found that they had much in common and a strong friendship grew between them.
Thea’s second (one of two) show! 2011 From left to right: Alex, David and Brian.
The crash that killed Alex also critically injured David – and David is incredibly lucky to have his life.
Following the collision, David underwent an emergency exploratory laparotomy to find and repair the source of internal bleeding. He suffered a break to his left tibular plateau, requiring a plate and pins to be inserted, and breaks to his right tibia and fibula. Additionally, David suffered other less serious injuries, including a severe ankle sprain, torn ACL and MCL, and a bruised lung and rib.
He spent two and a half weeks hospitalized and completely immobile. Once David was stabilized he was moved to an Acute Rehabilitation Center where he underwent physical and occupational therapy as doctors continued to tend to his severe injuries.
After a week and a half at rehab David’s family brought him home in a wheelchair. Over the following months he re-learned to walk with the aid of crutches and a cane. Today he can walk on his own, but nearly a year after his hospitalization, David continues physical therapy to regain full use of his legs.
David finally on crutches! -Video
Over twenty witnesses stopped along the side of Interstate 880 on the night of April 14th. Two of them were off-duty EMTs who became the first responders on the scene of the accident, stabilizing David and working to save Alex until police and ambulance could reach the scene.
The California Highway Patrol and Alameda County Police Department collected witness statements from those who stopped and more from those who didn’t stop but called 911 as they passed the scene. Each account echoed the next – the defendant caused the crash by recklessly changing several lanes at high speed.
On December 12th, 2011 – almost 8 months after the crash, the defendant changed his plea from “not guilty” to “no contest”. He accepted that he would be sentenced to state prison time in the amount of anywhere from 4 years, 8 months to 6 years, 8 months.
On January 9th, 2012, following the consideration of many written statements, spoken statements from Jeannine, Alex’s boss and close friend Jill, Alex’s Godmother, Liebe, and a statement from the defendant himself, the Judge sentenced the defendant to a State Prison sentence of 4 years, 8 months.