Twenty-four hours prior, KCTV5 reported on an accident in the northbound lanes of the 18th Street Expressway bridge over the Kansas River that claimed the life of a 69-year-old man with Alzheimer's. Now, the man's wife is speaking out, hoping to help others who love someone with Alzheimer's.
"My John was my John," Sharon Brewer said.
Brewer has a love story to tell about meeting the perfect partner a little bit later in life. She and John E. Brewer got married in 2006, after he lost his wife to cancer and Sharon Brewer had been divorced.
Two years later, John Brewer was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
"We just looked online and found it. It was the answer to what we needed, it was perfect," Sharon Brewer said.
She said the disease wasn't advanced enough for a nursing facility and found that a Garmin tracker was the best thing to help keep her husband safe. Through a little device he hooked to John Brewer's belt, Sharon Brewer, who'd just gone back to work after taking two months off to be with her husband, could log on to her computer and know exactly where he was.
After being diagnosed, John Brewer's perimeters were wide, but he'd gotten worse recently and Sharon Brewer had him stay within a block or two of home.
She got an email from Garmin Monday telling her John Brewer had stepped outside of those boundaries. Sharon Brewer immediately started calling friends who were on her emergency list, people who knew she may need their help to find John Brewer.
"They were ahead of me. I was headed home from work and they were ahead of me and called me and said he'd been hit by a car," she said.
Sharon Brewer was stuck in traffic from the wreck that happened about 3:30 p.m. and, by the time she arrived on the scene, it was too late. She then did what a lot of people may not think to do at a time like that - she comforted the driver of the car and told him she wasn't angry and that her husband suffered from Alzheimer's.
"I wiped his tears. I gave him several kisses on his forehead and talked to him," Sharon Brewer said.
She believes John Brewer was mistakenly headed toward his childhood home off Central. The Garmin program shows the path he took via GPS, through the yellow dots that followed him to where the crash happened.
Sharon Brewer said despite the way in which her husband died, she has no regrets because the GPS gave him freedom when he needed it the most.
"Every day that I'd help him with certain things he needed, he'd thank me. He'd always thank me and it was my pleasure," she said.
Kansas City, KS, police said there are no plans to charge the driver of the car that hit John Brewer, saying it was just a terrible accident.
The accident remains under investigation, which includes determining how the man was able to make it to the busy bridge.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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