Special Report: Rinehart Legacy

Mouthpiece of Sophie Rinehart's flute was saved during after the accident(WFIE)
Mouthpiece of Sophie Rinehart's flute was saved during after the accident(WFIE)
Josie, Riley and Lucinda (WFIE)
Josie, Riley and Lucinda (WFIE)
Rinehart memories (WFIE)
Rinehart memories (WFIE)

This is a story about forgiveness, faith, and facing the unthinkable.

David, Sophie, Ruth Ann and Josie Rinehart were pulled over on the shoulder of 1-69 after their car collided with a deer.

Josie Rinehart says minutes later a drunk driver hit them from behind killing her dad, sister and grandmother. It happened last November 13, 2016 as the family was heading home from a band competition in Indianapolis.

"It feels like it happened yesterday," crash survivor Josie Rinehart recalled. "I feel like I blinked, but we are here. It's just insane that it's almost a year.

"I smile and laugh and take care of things but I do have moments where it's like a punch in the stomach like all of a sudden I realize they are not here," Sophie's Mom Lucinda Rinehart said.

Sophie Rinehart and the Castle High School Marching Knights made finals at the Grand National Championships last year.

"I didn't get to talk to Sophie on that phone that day," Lucinda said. "She was so busy. I had texted her and said Mommy loves you, can't wait to see you tomorrow. She said Mommy I love you. That was our last text was I love you, I love you."

Just minutes after that text.

"A drunk driver hit us from behind and killed my Dad, Sister and Grandmother," Josie said. "I was the only one that survived."

Sophie and Josie's Mom Lucinda was fast asleep when she got that 4 a.m. call. She tried to reach David, Sophie and Ruth Ann on the way, no one answered.

"The policemen in charge came over and put his hands on my shoulders and said ma'am I need for you to look at me because I need you to know that Josie is the only one that survived the accident," Lucinda said. "I just assumed he'd made a mistake, my mind couldn't process it. I said I think you are probably mistaken their car isn't there they have driven to the hospital. He said ma'am they are over there and I tried to get across the road and they restrained me."

"My Sophie was wrapped in a blanket in the back seat," Lucinda said. "She was fast asleep. In my mind I can see her being asleep and opening her eyes and she's in God's arms and there is no pain. She would've been so excited because that's what she wanted, even at 17 that's what my child wanted and I am so grateful to know that's where she is."

"She just had this way about her that I have never met anyone else that has it, just the kindness I think," Josie said. "My Dad was definitely my best friend, we were really close. We did a lot together. We would go to random things, antique shops, the fall festivals, a winery. I am thankful for those moments that I got to spend with him during the last few weeks. My grandma was also a very nice and kind lady."

Josie, Lucinda, and Riley say they are taking it day by day. Sophie's sister Riley wrote a song in her honor.

"I think my faith has really helped a lot with that as well as just knowing I will get to see them again, that's really helped me through this," Josie explained.

"They are going to want to know what have you been doing, and I want to be able to say we have been loving people, we have been loving louder. We have been doing all of the things that you would've done," Lucinda said.

Carrying their legacy, as they go on.

"I think some of my best memories are of her just saying hey mom can you give me tickle scratches or melting in my arms, she was always actively seeking us out and wrapping us in her arms wanting to be touched and loved," Lucinda said. "From the time she was a little baby she was like that. Wow I miss those arms around my neck and that face around my neck. I have said it so many times, but no one will love me the way that child loved me."

The family says by sharing their story they hope it will prevent someone else from getting behind the wheel drunk.

The driver, Mason Hartke, of Jasper, pleaded guilty in the case on Wednesday. He was given a 15 year sentence with 4.5 years of it on probation.

Family members showed their remarkable forgiveness in court.

1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” love is louder.

Posted by Rylie Rinehart on Wednesday, November 8, 2017

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