FERNDALE (WWJ) – Her father Ferndale Police Officer Jonathon Cleveland called three-year-old Olivia his “little princess.”
“It didn’t matter what time it was … could be 6:30 in the morning, she was always smiling. She brightened up everybody’s day,” Cleveland said
In an ironic twist of fate, Oliva was killed last June 25 when the family’s minivan was hit by a wrong-way drunk driver at 22 Mile Road and Hayes. It’s ironic because Cleveland himself was known for his record on the job of drunk-driving arrests. It was so impressive, he was honored twice by the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
The driver was killed in the crash. She was twice the legal limit, Cleveland said. The entire Cleveland family was injured.
Although physically recovered, Cleveland said his 8-year-old daughter Katie and 5-year-old son Gavin are having a tough time.
“They don’t quite grasp why she’s gone,” said Cleveland. “And it’s also taken a physical and mental toll on them. They don’t sleep well at night. They have recurring nightmares. They’re terrorized by the fact that they may be involved in another accident and they may die.”
The death has been equally difficult for Cleveland and his wife, Jodie. “I like to refer to it as better days and bad days … there’s really no good,” Cleveland said.
Cleveland’s fellow officers are holding a fundraiser for the family at Rosie O’Grady’s in Ferndale at 6 p.m. Thursday.
For a minimum $10 donation to attend, there will be strolling dinner stations and entertainment, a silent auction and raffles.
The Ferndale Police officers Association is hoping to raise $10,000, every dime of which will go to the Cleveland family.