Community remembers Navy veteran killed on the way to work 5 years ago

CHARLOTTE — The community gathered to remember a Navy veteran and volunteer firefighter who was hit and killed while on his way to work more than five years ago.

Channel 9′s Erika Jackson attended the vigil held for 62-year-old Daniel Wheeler, as well as spoke with his brother who hopes to prevent future tragedies like this.

On October 30, 2017, Daniel was fatally struck by a vehicle as he was crossing the street to get to his job at McDonald’s on Monroe Road.

The driver later told police that they did not see Daniel due to having ice on his windshield.

On Saturday, family and friends returned to the place where Daniel was killed to honor his memory.

Daniel’s brother, Henry Wheeler, told Channel 9 that this was the first public vigil they have held since the pandemic.

“This event is not just about Daniel. It’s about whoever is sitting out there listening to us, that you need to be safe and everything you do,” Henry said.

Last month, Charlotte leaders announced that the city will receive a federal grant for $4.4 million that will go towards increasing safety throughout intersection and pedestrian areas.

The money will be used to add crosswalks, improve lighting, and re-design intersections.

“We still have a problem as far as pedestrian deaths. And this is part of both pedestrians and drivers. We all need to be responsible,” Sgt. Ricky Robbins with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Victim Services Unit said.

Henry said he hopes the change will save another family from ever having to feel their pain.

For now, he said he plans to continue honoring his brother through song and prayer.

“I think if it was me, Daniel would be doing the same thing,” Henry told Channel 9.

The Wheeler family said they plan to continue to celebrate Daniel’s life this week, with Friday marking what would have been his 67th birthday.

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