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Family of late Donald Rippy still coping, even as suspect in his death gets charged

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PLATTE COUNTY, Mo -- It's been nearly three months since a now 18-year-old saw his grandfather killed right in front of him. The man investigators say is responsible, Anthony Battaglia, was charged with two felonies Friday, but the victim's family says that will never be enough.

FOX 4's Megan Brilley spoke with them Friday.

"When you lose someone, you always think if I could've said, 'I love you,' one more time," Linda Gudde said.

It's a thought Gudde has almost daily and with it, the face of her brother-in-law Donald Rippy.

"You remember things that bring a smile to your face, other things make you cry," Gudde said.

Rippy's 17-year-old grandson Parker was having car problems. He decided to follow him home on 152 Highway just to be safe. When Parker's car started to overheat, they both pulled off onto the shoulder. The two both waited in Rippy's car for help.

Within minutes, investigators say Battaglia hit their car at a speed of 78 miles per hour. Parker survived, but his grandpa who was sitting one seat over was killed.

"He's trying to cope. It's just slow and hard. He was there when the accident happened. It's just not a loss of his grandfather, it was being there when it happened. Not being able to change it, fix it," Gudde said.

Battaglia was charged with involuntary vehicular manslaughter and possession of a controlled substance. Prosecutors say he was high on prescription drugs at the time of the crash. Now, almost three months later, Gudde now knows the facts but is still left with questions.

"What were you thinking? What were you thinking?" she asked.

Though the good memories will live on in her mind, Gudde will never be able to make new ones with her brother-in-law.

That's something she doesn't know if she'll ever be able to get over.

"I don't know what justice would be. If you take someone's life, what is the justice?" she said.

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