by his brother, Randy DeVecchi
The brutal act of murder was committed and it was witnessed by our family. The incident happened in late December 1998, and the murderer is still at large. Thus far, the reward money is at $35,000 and we are hoping for any leads which may help us find this animal.
It was early morning on December 17, 1998 when the entire DeVecchi family was already busy working at our family trucking company in Berkeley, California. My brother Rick was informed that a person was seen prowling in the back of his pickup truck parked across the street from our trucking company. Rick thought nothing of this and finished the tasks he was doing. After a few minutes, Rick and a co-worker walked out of the gate and began to walk toward his pickup truck. Unbeknownst to Rick, the suspect had gotten into his own car and began to drive toward Rick. Without warning, the suspect accelerated his car and swerved to intentionally and maliciously run over Rick. Rick was thrown up and over the car. My Dad was inside the fence, heard the acceleration of the car and turned his head only to see his son flying like a rag doll through the air. A frantic scene for anyone, much less a Dad witnessing the death of his firstborn.
As Dad called 911, my brother Rob laid in the street with Rick, talking to him and trying to keep him concious. Rob gently stroked his face and kept reassuring him that everything would be okay. All the while, Rob was listening and engraving on his own memory the sound of each and every last gasps of air Rick was trying to breathe.
A mad rush to the hospital could not save Rick. As my Mom, Rick’s wife and children, myself, and countless others arrived at the hospital, we were informed that all we could do was hope and pray. For three long days, we prayed and prayed, hoping that somehow, Rick could pull through. Unfortunately for us, he was pronounced dead three days later from severe head trauma.
Needless to say, our holiday season as well as our lives will never be the same.
Rick was such a strong person, we could not believe this could happen to him. Not only was he strong physically, but spiritually and emotionally. He was strong physically beyond belief. He was our mechanic at work. His physical stature was that of a bodybuilder, but without having to life weights. He was thrown over the car and suffered no broken bones or bruises, only the head trauma.
His spiritual self was one of contentment and giving. He was so sure of himself that he never tried to be something he was not. Even when he was gone, he was still looking after others. Rick had decided years ago that he wanted to be a donor. Numerous people in the Easy Bay are living today because Rick gave his organs and heart to the needy.
Emotionally, he and my Mom are like the glue that holds our family together. In the face of adversity, Rick seemed to know just the right words to make the situation bearable again. Often he didn’t even need words, just his simple look or smile and the problem would dissipate.
Brief as was Rick’s life, he touched the lives of so many people. He acted on an inner urge that drove him to help people. He would assess the needs of others and sought to fulfill those needs. There were times when Rick would volunteer his expertise to a stranded motorist, fix a neighbor’s sink or simply give away his lunch to a homeless individual. These were some of the things he did for people he didn’t even know. You can imagine what he did for his friends and family.
His immediate family was his life. His wife and children were the recipients of so much love and admiration. I was blessed by his wholeheartedness endless times, as well as others in my family.
The trucking company, which was started over fifty years ago by my grandpa, had always been the focal point of our family. We all work at the business and we all commute together to get to work. Although our family has grown, we bought homes within a few blocks of each other. Our family is seen by others as a “typical family from the past” – – conservative, hard working, family oriented, and loving.
Now there is a huge void in our lives. Somehow, our family and our family business will try to move forward without Rick. This, obviously, is easier said than done. With the scene of the crime staring at us each and every day and the suspect still on the loose, trying to move forward will be extremely difficult.
Having no choice, we hope Rick will rest in peace and know that we will miss him terribly and we love him so much that it actually hurts.
Case Update: February 2000
CAH has heard from Detective Sergeant Cary Kent of the Berkeley Police Department who informed us that he has been assigned to work exclusively on the DeVecchi homicide. The Berkeley police have released a composite sketch of the suspect and they have also obtained a partial license plate. In January, the DeVecchi billboard, featuring a $35,000 reward posted from the Berkeley Police Department and Governor Davis, went up in Berkeley. Now that Det. Kent has been assigned to the case, we hope and pray the DeVecchi family will soon have a solution to this nightmare.