They came from all over on Monday night.
Friends. Family members. Loved ones. Acquaintances.
Some wore motorcycle kuttes. Others were still in their work uniforms.
But regardless of the varied walks of life that came together at the roundabout on Woodward Avenue and Al Fonseca Lane, everybody there agreed on one thing.
That David and Danny Craigg left this earth way too soon.
Late Sunday afternoon, the two brothers – David, 36, and Danny, 34 – were traveling east on Woodward Avenue when they struck the newly constructed roundabout at what witnesses say was a high rate of speed. David died at the scene after attempts to revive him failed. Danny died a short while later at an area hospital.
Between the two of them, they left seven children – five for the oldest brother, and two for the younger.
“I’m going to miss his humor,” said 16-year-old Darren Craigg – David’s oldest son. “My dad always had a story to tell and he could turn the littlest thing into the funniest thing.
“He was always the one that would bring people together, and whenever there was a problem he was always the one who could find his way out of it.”
Darren’s brother Anthony was there Monday night as well – both of them wearing coats that belonged to their father.
And his other three children – 12-year-old Abigail, 9-year-old Danny and 6-year-old TerrieAnne – were also there as people crowded around to hug their mother, Julie Graham-Craigg, as she stood just inches away from where her husband’s Harley Davidson motorcycle careened into the concrete abutment.
While their names appeared on the pages of this newspaper and on the Internet linked to the event that ended their young lives, the overwhelming sentiment amongst those in attendance was that both brothers – who were inseparable – were far more than just another statistic on paper.
And having known both of them for a number of years – more than I’d like to admit, honestly – I have to say, personally, that they’re correct.
My time with the Craigg brothers goes back to the Delta Rebels when I played with Danny.
David dated my best friend’s sister in high school, and was the father of her two children – both boys that I’ve watched grow up.
And while it’s easy to remember them for how they left us, there are other ways that those that knew them – those clutching candles around the concrete strip Monday night – preferred to focus on.
I remember the night that Darren was born – driving to Dameron Hospital with his uncle in time to catch David walking through the doors with a big cigar in his teeth and an ear-to-ear smile on his face.
He laughed his trademark laugh, hugged some of those that had gathered, and did what he always did – lit up everybody that was around him.
And while we all grew up and most went their separate ways, seeing one another only occasionally, the night that Darren’s uncle and I spent with David, Danny and their friends camping along the San Joaquin River near Stewart Tract remains one of the stories that is commonly told when reminiscing.
We were young then, and David, being two years older, was the one with the car. And for all intents and purposes, Chris (Darren’s Uncle) and I were just his girlfriend’s brother and his dorky friend that wanted to tag along for the fun.
Well, we spent a good portion of the night huddled in our tent watching the rain fall through the top and soak everything that we had brought to stay warm.
It had to have been the most miserable camping experience I’ve ever had in my entire life. But now, in looking back on it, all I can remember are the laughs of David and Danny and the rest of the “Mighty Midgets” crew that carried on until the morning hours.
What I wouldn’t give to hear those laughs one more time.
And this is coming from somebody who probably hasn’t had a conversation with them in years. So I can’t imagine what it’s like for their best friends and their loved ones – their parents, Barbara and Randy. I can’t imagine what it’s like for Tami and her two girls, Mackenzie and Hailey – who, according to those at the makeshift vigil, Danny lived for.
While it’s easy to pass judgment from afar about what happened, remember those that are left behind – the parents that lost two of their three children, and the families that will forever have a gaping hole in their hearts.
They say you can measure the quality of somebody’s life by the number of people that they touched, and if the last 24 hours has shown me anything, it’s that the brothers Craigg were quality men who left a lasting impression on nearly everybody that they came across.
May they rest in peace.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.