Close friend describes Kansas City crash victim as a kind-hearted man who put others first

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas City woman is shocked and devastated, after her best friend was killed by a driver whom prosecutors allege was both drunk and high on drugs behind the wheel.

Gabriel Cornelius, 39, is the man accused of causing the August crash that killed 72-year-old Gary Dramshek. Cornelius is now charged with involuntary manslaughter.

On Monday Dramshek’s best friend, Debbie Anderson, took FOX 4 back to the scene of the deadly wreck, near the intersection of Holmes and 115th Street on the city’s South side.

“I try to keep it as a reminder for people to slow down when they come past here,” Anderson said of a makeshift memorial that marks the crash site.

It’s a small tribute Anderson has dedicated to Dramshek, whom she describes as, “A good brother, a good son, a good friend.”

He was a Kansas City man, born and bred, who loved everything cars.

“Everything was cars and fixing things, anything mechanical,” Anderson said. “He and his brother owned this detailing shop.”

Dramshek also always put his family, friends and fellow church members first.

“I think [he was] just a good listener,” Anderson said, “and kind-hearted and you could just talk to him just about anything.”

But at 72, Dramshek's life was cut short, when prosecutors said Cornelius got behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Police said he was speeding and slammed into Dramshek's car as he tried to turn left onto 115th Street.

Anderson said Dramshek was on his way to her house to have dinner – a drive he made every night – but that night, he never made it.

“Your heart just sinks,” Anderson said of following sirens until she saw Dramshek’s crumpled car with her own eyes. “He was just so badly injured that he just didn’t stand a chance with the impact that he took.”

It's a loss that, as time goes on, grows heavier on Anderson's heart.

“It`s on your mind all the time,” she said. “It just changes your whole life, really… We`ll never see Gary again. So yeah, it`s hard not to be angry.”

It’s a tragedy that has prompted Anderson to speak out against distracted and drunk driving, so no one else has to feel the same pain of losing a loved one.

“You`ve got a responsibility when you`re a driver,” she said. “You know, you`re behind a lethal weapon. It`s just too much of a responsibility not to take seriously.”

Online records show Cornelius bonded out of jail this weekend. No one was home Monday when we stopped by his house for comment. He's due in court next week.