HOUSTON – Last Wednesday, the Brown family was driving down the Grand Parkway when a pickup truck going the opposite direction lost control, crossed the median, went airborne and slammed head on into their Chevy station wagon.
“It looked like it had been shot out of a cannon and it was coming straight at us,” said Charlotte Brown, who was in the passenger seat. “We couldn’t stop, we couldn’t swerve, we couldn’t speed up.”
Brown’s sister-in-law Mary Shallowhorn was in the back seat. She survived with several head injuries, including lacerations that needed stitches.
“And I was calling, 'Mike, Mike! Mike!'” Brown said of her husband, who was driving. “I said, 'Is there a pulse? Is there a pulse?!'”
Michael Brown, a 73-year-old Vietnam vet, father to four and grandfather of nine, was one of two people who did not survive the horrific crash that day. Several others were injured.
“Words can’t describe it but I’m just going to miss the hell outta him,” said Charlotte Brown, his widow. They would have celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary next year.
“My dad was my hero,” said Michael Brown Jr., Brown’s youngest son. “My dad knew that I loved him and I know he loved us, and so that’s something we should be very sure about as a family.”
Michael Brown was described by several family members as “always there,” including in daily phone calls to his children.
Michael Brown Jr. said he spoke to his father by phone from California every day for as long as he can remember. His sister, Lavonda, sometimes spoke to him by phone twice per day.
“Sometimes we didn’t talk, we just held the phone,” Lavonda Floyd said through tears. “He always told me he loved me at the end of our phone calls.”
There are a lot of questions about what happened that day. The driver at fault, who says he doesn’t remember what happened, has not been charged, pending an investigation.
“It’s like you’re waking up from this nightmare,” daughter Jeanne Smith said. “We just need answers. That’s all. We just need answers.”
Here’s a link to the family’s GoFundMe account if you’d like to help the Browns with funeral expenses.