Veteran killed by drunk driver after inspiring New Year’s post

Matthew DeRemer

PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) —  A Pinellas County Iraq war veteran was killed by an alleged drunk driver while riding his motorcycle on New Year’s Eve.

Just hours before being killed, 31-year-old Matthew DeRemer of St. Petersburg, went on Facebook to reflect on 2015 and outlined his plan to better himself in the coming year.

Matthew DeRemer (Photo: Facebook/Matthew DeRemer)
Matthew DeRemer (Photo: Facebook/Matthew DeRemer)

According to Florida Highway Patrol, DeRemer was traveling west on 102nd Avenue North passing through the intersection of 98/97th Street North at 7:55 p.m. New Year’s Eve, when a vehicle traveling eastbound on 102nd Ave. N turned left, crashing into DeRemer, who died at the scene.

The driver of the vehicle, 59-year-old Steven Lee Clarke of Seminole, was arrested on scene for DUI Manslaughter and failure to yield and taken to the Pinellas County Jail.

Earlier that day, Matthew DeRemer posted a message of hope on Facebook, writing: “I look back at 2015’s huge challenges that I’ve overcome, shared with others, and have once again found myself.” He ended saying, “And I really don’t know where I’ll end up tonight but I do know where I windup is where I’m meant to be.”

Steven Clarke booking photo (Pinellas County Sheriff's Office)
Steven Clarke booking photo (Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office)

Along with his message, he posted and image that reads: “We are born in 1 day. We die in 1 day. We can change in 1 day. And we can fall in love in 1 day. Anything can happen in just 1 day.”

His New Year’s message is resonating with people around the country. As of Tuesday morning, his post has been shared more than 7,000 times, many strangers commenting that he has inspired them.

One person wrote, “Never knew you, but you just touched my heart. RIP, you are with God now.” Another wrote, “RIP, my condolences go out to his family an friends, this post is amazing an says alot, I don’t know you but this post definitely has me thinking about alot.”

DeRemer, who the Marines in 2010, had recently found a job as a surgical technician, giving him new hope for a career after several years as a physical trainer, his sister, Lynsey DeRemer, told NBC News.

Matthew DeRemer attended Seminole High School and was a USF graduate, according to his Facebook page.

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