Owasso Woman Widowed In Drunk Driving Crash Receives Letter From Prison

Thursday, November 14th 2013, 6:52 pm
By: News On 6

A Green Country woman got a letter recently that she never expected to receive.

It was from the man who killed her husband.

On May 20, 2011, a driver who was under the influence was driving without his headlights in the wrong direction on U.S. Highway 169.

He slammed into Iaian Bell, a man on his way to work.

The driver was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Iaian Bell's wife, Pam, was sentenced to a life of raising two boys alone.

From the time she first spotted the letter in her mailbox, Pam Bell's emotions were a roller coaster of pain, confusion and curiosity.

At first, she couldn't even open it. She just tossed it on a table and waited.

Finally, she sat down to read it.

The letter stated in part: "Pam, Aaron and Jason, the remorse I have for my actions has led me to write... No words or actions can express my sincerest apologies for taking your husband and father, Mr. Iaian Bell. Due to my destructive... and irresponsible behavior, you have lost a great piece of your heart."

Pam read the letter with tears streaming down her face.

"It took me right back to that day," she said.

Pam and Iaian met in their senior year of high school and got married that June.

They were two weeks shy of their 26th anniversary when Iaian was killed by Juan Ochoa-Ruiz, who admitted to police after smoking marijuana and drinking tequila, he blacked out and doesn't remember getting into his truck or driving until the crash.

Pam appreciates Ruiz is sorry, but it doesn't make her family whole again.

"It'll never change anything," she said. "My kids don't have a dad. I don't have a husband."

She and the boys have been in survival mode since Iaian's death, staying busy with sports. But it's not the same since Iaian coached both boys and was always there for them.

Reporter: "He says ‘I understand if you're filled with hatred and anger,' are you?"

Pam: "I can't hate, that's not me. I think about it every day -- what we've been through -- but I can't hate."

Pam told Ruiz at his sentencing that she forgives him, but she can't forget what he took from her.

She just hopes he's a changed man when he gets out.

As for Pam and the boys, they're doing their best.

"I know God's got a plan for us," she said. "Just take it day by day."

Pam doesn't think she'll write Ruiz back, at least not now while it's still so raw, but maybe someday.

She has no idea what she'd write to him, but she believes God will give her the words when the time is right.