Stephen Jackson, Online News Editor
Posted: May 07, 2010 4:51 PM
LAS VEGAS — Paul Maidman sat at a stoplight in his Buick Century. It was 3:15 a.m. on a Friday. He had been up all night studying, and had to leave his house to fax his professor a paper. On the way home, he stopped at a convenience store — on the seat next to him sat two Rockstar energy drinks and a snack. One hour later he was dead.
When the police arrived at the accident, the Buick was unrecognizable. A car had failed to slow down for the red light and slammed into the back of Maidman’s car. According to a police report, the car’s driver, Miranda Dalton, admitted to spending the evening at Stoney’s, a bar on Las Vegas Blvd.
In the report, an officer wrote Dalton’s “speech was so slurred, I thought she had a foreign object in her mouth.”
She failed a field sobriety test and was booked for DUI causing death.
Maidman was rushed to University Medical Center, but died in the ambulance. He had big plans for the future — a girlfriend in Florida he planned to marry, a college degree to finish, a contracting company with his sister, maybe a future in politics.
“He was the most upstanding person,” said his sister, Dawn Buist.
Maidman’s girlfriend Kerri Green lives in Tampa. When she awoke that Friday morning, Maidman was already gone and she had no idea. She spent the day wondering why he hadn’t called, but chalked it up to his late night study session. Her plans revolved around a future with Maidman — a future that is now completely uncertain.
“We’re young. We’re happy. We planned on getting married and having a family,” she said.
When Green tells the story of their relationship, there’s joy in her voice. The pair met in high school and dated, but as fleeting young love goes, theirs came to an end. Maidman joined the Air Force, but the pair stayed in touch. After Maidman was discharged, he moved to Las Vegas and Green came for a visit. They started dating again, and were inseparable. They talked of getting married, but the proposal never came.
“I’m devastated that I never got that chance,” she said. “I would have said yes.”
For the families of fatal DUI accident victims, the pain is often repeated several times. For Buist, her brother was gone in the blink of an eye. But knowing the person allegedly responsible for his death was out on bail hit her hard. She got the call that Dalton was released while she was attending her brother’s wake.
“She took away my mother’s baby,” she said. “She had no right to take my brother’s life.”
Dalton’s attorney James Gallo says his client is upset that the accident happened. “DUI destroys lives. It’s torn up their family and my client’s,” he said.
This isn’t the first time Miranda Dalton has been in trouble. In 2001, she was arrested for DUI. When police arrested her in the latest accident, they found four pills in her purse — three hydrocodone and one darvocet. Police say Dalton didn’t have a prescription for either.
TEAM Paul was born as a joke. Long before he died, Maidman found a portrait of himself, tweaked it in Photoshop and put it on a t-shirt with the words “Team Paul” featured prominently. He wore the shirt out with friends when he wanted to get a laugh. He later registered the domain name TeamPaul.org, and planned to turn the joke into an organization to help others.
“Team Paul is something that Paul created when he was alive and we’ve used it to come together,” said Green. “I’m just amazed at all the people he’s touched.” ….
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