It was just about three years ago when 17-year-old Denis Wolf, of Silver Spring, was killed while riding his bicycle.
Since then his father has blotted out memories, such as the name of the drunken driver who killed his son and served only 30 days in jail.
The man who killed Denis, and admits drinking before the fatal accident, says the memory is almost too painful to talk about. He said he can no longer drive a car: "I lost my nerve."
The memories of this tragic incident have been rekindled because a new Prince George's County bicycle - hiking-horse riding trail will be named in Denis Wolf's honor Oct. 9.
The details of Denis' death are spelled out in a police report taken August 25, 1974. According to the report, two boys were traveling on Rt. 28, just west to Germantown, when a 1970 Chevrolet sedan driven by 44-year-old Washington Giddings, of Gaithersburg approached them from the rear. It was 8:50 p.m. on a Saturday.
The car attempted to swerve around the bicycle riders, but struck one of them sending him 54 feet from the scene of the accident, police said.
According to the report, the car skidded 98 feet before coming to a stop.
Denis Martin Wolf, 17, of 10211, Portland Rd., was taken to Suburban Hospital where he died of multiple internal injuries, police said.
Giddings, according to report, was charged with driving while intoxicated and failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision.
After his conviction, Giddings served 30 days in jail the court records show.
"Of course I'm sorry about the accident, wouldn't you be? . . . I didn't mean for it to happen," said Giddings in a telephone interview. "I just can't talk about it any more . . . I tried to drive three months after the accident, but I just lost my nerve. I haven't driven since then."
Denis' father, Harvey, says it is tragically "ironic" that his son would be killed when he was so young. "He stuck to a strict vegetarian diet and he would not eat anything that was killed," he said. "Denis would rather capture and carry them outside than kill them."
Denis' friend, Glen Edwards, who was riding with him the night he was killed, said he gave up bicycles. He sold his $700 bike after the incident, he said.
"I don't ride anymore . . . I tried to get back into it . . . but I couldn't muster any enthusiasm."
Edwards, who was 16 years old at the time of the accident, said he and Denis would often ride 150 miles a day.
Denis' mother, Freeda, whose voice still quavers when she recounts the incident, said "My heart bled for the man who killed my son . . until I found out that he was drunk . . . I have mad ever since."
Mrs. Wolf, who said she had to seek psychiatric help after the incident, explained how the project to memorialize her son has been "great therapy."
The idea of naming the bike path came from a friend of the family. Since Denis loved bicycle riding, and even finished high school a year early to join his father's business - which happened to be wholesale distribution of bicycle parts - it was appropriate, the family felt.
The family then sold the idea to the Maryland National Capitol Park and Planning Commission after the family promised to raise enough money to build a rest stop on the bike path.
After raising $3,000 through donations from family and friends, the Wolfs built a rustic shelter with two benches and a water fountain located near the bike path.
The 1 1/2 mile Denis Wolf Trail will be part of a larger northeast beach bike path that runs approximately five miles, according to David P. Brassard, a park commission official.
Brassard said the Denis Wolf Trail will run between Calvert Road in Riverdale on the north, along the west side of the northeast branch of the Anacostia River and end at old Riverdale Road on the south.
"If there had been a bike path like this one, Denis might not have been killed," said his mother, who added that the 6-to-8 foot wide path was designed for the safety of bicycle riders.