EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The parents of Drew Watters are speaking only to 14 News for the first time since the report of their son’s death was released last week.
A year ago, Scott and Karen Watters visited Drew, who was on base in Tacoma, Washington.
“It was just a really, really, nice day," Karen recalls. "And looking back, you almost wonder, was that part of God’s plan? You know?”
Three weeks later Sgt. Drew Watters was killed in a training accident, pinned under a large armored vehicle.
“It was clearly an accident, I don’t think there is any doubt about that but, again, the penalty was so, so immense for what happened,” explains Scott.
The News Tribune in Washington recently received the Army’s investigation into Sgt. Watters death. The report revealed the vehicle was operated without ground guides, and without a walk around, which are procedures designed to prevent accidents like this one.
“They’re there for a reason, if you don’t follow them, bad things can happen and unfortunately that is what happened in this instance," Scott says. "Drew paid a very steep price for people not doing what they were supposed to do.”
Now almost a year removed the family says the emotions are still raw.
“Just accepting the fact that it happened," says Colleen Watters, Drew’s sister. "You can’t really change it so, just trying to deal with it the way you can and the best we know how.”
That way is to push for changes to the protocol, and not let her son’s death be in vain.
“I have plans to take it to the state representatives, take it national, do whatever we need to do to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Karen explains.
And although there was only one, true Drew Watters, his father hopes that others like him will not face a similar fate.
“He really was a person that had a chance to make an impact on the world," Scott says. "And I know there is a lot of other people like that. Unfortunately he’s not here, but hopefully, the others that have those capabilities will get those chances and that there won’t be anything that gets in the way like it did for Drew.”
Watters’s death is one of more than 5,000 blamed on military accidents since 2006. A congressional report shows in that time nearly twice as many American Service Members have been killed in accidents compared to those killed in action.