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Family of man killed in reckless driving crash remember him at Summerfest

Posted at 10:05 AM, Sep 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-17 12:28:53-04

MILWAUKEE — Jerrold Wellinger's sisters are living for their brother.

"I'm like a big personality, but he's like ten times me. We have to bring it out of each other. We gotta be him," said Mariah Johnson at the entrance of American Family Insurance Amphitheater.

Visiting Summerfest is one the many ways Mariah and her sister, Kasondra Gasparo, are honoring the life of their brother. The three siblings had planned to see Megan Thee Stallion together. They bought tickets early. Jerrold, they say, made sure no one was going to back out.

"I think he was more excited than everybody. I totally forgot about it and he got mad," said Kasondra.

But Jerrold was the one who couldn't make it. A small piece of him now hangs around Kasondra's neck, in a small urn.

"So he's with us. He's always with us," said Kasondra.

On August 7th, Jerrold was driving home after buying snacks when he and his childhood pal, Divante Gaines, were struck by a car and killed at 60th and Hampton. The vehicle that hit Jerrold's car was speeding through an intersection during an illegal street race.

According to Milwaukee's Traffic Safety Unit, 44 people have been killed in the city this year in car crashes. The city has issued more than 14,000 traffic citations since February.

Mariah and Kasondra will soon meet city officials to share their concerns about reckless driving -- another way they're trying to honor Jerrold's life.

"It's out of control. It's absolutely out of control. And I feel like the only way we can change, is us. We need to make a change," said Mariah.

After Megan Thee Stallion's marketing team heard about the family's story, they offered the sisters some merchandise -- they chose shirts -- at the concert.

Mariah and Kasondra returned to the stands, to do what they say Jerrold would've done best: enjoy the moment. Loudly.

"We're going to turn up to the fullest. We're going to scream as loud as we can for Meg," said Mariah. "We know he [Jerrold] wouldn't want us to not have fun. Long live my brother."

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