For Abby Pollak, the mother of Elie Israel, every morning requires a conscious decision to get out of bed. She makes the decision to get up, but not without thinking about what Elie will miss in life, like getting married.
“There is the constant reminder of what might have been that is very, very painful,” Pollak said.
In the courtyard of downtown Santa Barbara’s Upham Hotel, Pollak and the parents of Nicholas Bourdakis sat together at a table last week, several hours before a candlelight ceremony in Isla Vista would mark the fifth anniversary of the crash on Sabado Tarde Road that claimed their children’s lives.
Joined by Nicholas’ sister, Lindsey, the family members talked about grief, blame and injustice in the wake of the Feb. 23, 2001 vehicular rampage perpetrated by David Attias. A Santa Barbara jury would later find Attias, then an 18-year-old UCSB freshman, legally insane at the time he drove his car into five people on the 6500 block of Sabado Tarde Rd.
The high-speed crash killed 20-year-old UCSB students Nicholas Bourdakis and Christopher Divis, 27-year-old San Francisco resident Elie Israel and 20-year-old Santa Barbara City College student Ruth Levy, and left Ruth’s brother, Albert Levy, critically injured.
For Nicholas’ parents, Tony and Tricia Bourdakis, time has not dulled the pain.
“I feel the same stress – depression that I felt five years ago when they told us our son had died,” Tony Bourdakis said. “You just get better at covering it up.”
Tricia Bourdakis said the clich