Cyclist, who has been in a coma for NINETEEN years, dies as his family offer their forgiveness to the drunk driver, 40, who killed him

  • David Scannell, 58, died on August 17 after being in a coma for 19 years 
  • The drunk driver who hit Scannell, Daniel Danais, was at the wake on Saturday
  • Danais was charged with drunk driving a send time in 2002 and was approached by David Scannell's brother at the courthouse
  • Danais was overcome with sadness 'but became a better person' after visiting David Scannell at his family's home in 2002 

A Massachusetts man who was in a coma for over 19 years after being hit by a drunk driver as he rode his bicycle died last week at the age of 58.

At the wake for beloved street performer David Scannell on Friday evening in Weymouth was Daniel Danais, the driver who sent him into an impenetrable sleep for nearly two decades.

Scannell's mother Barbara embraced Danais in the parking lot of the ceremony and told him that both he and her son were now free.

'I said, "You know David’s free, and now so are you. It’s over. You don’t have to think about it," ' Barbara Scannell, 88, told The Boston Globe on Saturday.

David Scannell, pictured  in 1994 with his nephews Matt and Joe Stieb, died at 58 after 19 years of being in a coma. Scannell was riding his bicycle when drunk driver Daniel Danais crashed into him in 1996 

David Scannell, pictured  in 1994 with his nephews Matt and Joe Stieb, died at 58 after 19 years of being in a coma. Scannell was riding his bicycle when drunk driver Daniel Danais crashed into him in 1996 

'You spent 19 years thinking about it, regretting it.'

Danais was in his early 20s when he drunkenly hit Scannell, then 39, as he bicycled through Quincy on June 25 1996.

Danais pleaded guilty to several charges, including operating under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of personal injury, and was sentenced to jail time, court records show.

On Saturday the Norfolk District Attorney's office said they would decide if more charges were warranted following Scannell's death.

Danais, 40, said he felt he owed it to Scannell's family to attend the wake.

'I did an awful thing. I can’t take it back,' said Danais.

'It was the least I could do. It’s about Mrs. Scannell. . . . I love her for the fact that she forgave me and she’s a loving person.'

Danais' accident with Scannell was not the only time he'd gotten in trouble for drunk driving.

At the wake for beloved street performer David Scannell on Friday evening in Weymouth was Daniel Danais, the driver who sent him into an impenetrable sleep for nearly two decades. Daniel Danais, pictured here in 2011, formed a bond with Scannell's mother Barbara who he said 'made him a better person' 

At the wake for beloved street performer David Scannell on Friday evening in Weymouth was Daniel Danais, the driver who sent him into an impenetrable sleep for nearly two decades. Daniel Danais, pictured here in 2011, formed a bond with Scannell's mother Barbara who he said 'made him a better person' 

In 2002 Danais found himself in court on different drunk driving charges and got a much unexpected visit at the courthouse from Scannell's brother Chris.

He told Danais he thought it was time for him to meet Barbara Scannell at the Weymouth home where she was caring for her injured son. Danais obliged and was overcome with sadness following the meeting.

'Daniel was overwhelmed with grief and remorse,' Barbara told The Boston Globe.

'I had David here, I was taking care of him. . . . He was totally hopeless and his care was 24/7 and [Danais] came into the room to see David. He just all but fell apart.'

Danais kept in touch with Barbara after the meeting.

As part of his community service requirement, Danais worked at a head injury clinic in Plymouth and kept in touch with Barbara about his patients there.

Danais formed an unexpected friendship with Barbara and he credits her 'for making him a better person.'

Always on the move: David Scannell, pictured at his brother’s wedding in 1984, was a talented performer and artist who loved riding his bicycle everywhere he went 

Always on the move: David Scannell, pictured at his brother’s wedding in 1984, was a talented performer and artist who loved riding his bicycle everywhere he went 

Danais, who now has an 18-year-old daughter, said that his relationship with Barbara is, 'almost like a relationship you would have with your nana.'

David Scannell's brother Jeffrey said the life changing meeting between his mother and Danais is a prime example of 'God working small miracles in everyday life.'

'He’s been completely forgiven,' he said.

'It’s a testament to the power of love and forgiveness.'

The funeral mass was held on Saturday morning for David Scannell who was described by his family as being an artist and talented performer who was always on his bicycle.

'Davey’s talents seemed never ending,' said Tim Scannell, one of David's seven other siblings.

'Most of us follow the same rhythm to life: school, job, maybe marriage, family. But Davey had his own rhythm, one that constantly had him searching for adventures. His energy was endless.'

Barbara Scannell said David's life almost came to an end several times as he was in his coma and she isn't sure what caused him to die.

Barbara Scannell said her boy was in wonderful shape when he was hit due to his active lifestyle which is why he survived for so long. 

 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now