Family, friends remember Kevin Culpepper

Witnesses to accident asked to come forward
By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
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Kevin and Kelly Culpepper’s love story didn’t end with his tragic death earlier this month. “I loved Kevin with all of my heart. Kevin loved me with all of his,” said his grieving widow. “I believe that love can do powerful things, so I have faith that Kevin and I will see each other again.” Details from the California Highway Patrol report are that Kevin Culpepper died in the early morning hours of June 7 in a single-car accident on Taylor Road. The 23-year-old Loomis resident was driving a 2004 Chevy 2500 utility pickup that overturned .6 miles south of Callison Road, according to officer Mark Williams of the Newcastle CHP office. When fire and rescue units arrived, the truck was “completely engulfed in flames with the driver solo occupant still inside the vehicle,” said Williams. Chief Dave Ebert of the Penryn Fire District said two units from Penryn and one from Newcastle Fire responded to the 2:45 a.m. accident. Ebert said that after finding the truck fully involved and quickly extinguishing the fire, “medical personnel determined that the driver was deceased.” No further fire investigation will be conducted for cause and origin, added Ebert, because it was “obvious it was a result of the traffic accident.” However, the accident is still under investigation by the CHP. While it is “unlikely there were any witnesses at that time of night, if anyone did witness (the accident), please give us a call,” said Williams. Call the CHP office at 663-3344 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. What the reports don’t tell about Culpepper’s death is the impact his life and death have had on his family and friends, and the loss to the community. Brett Lain, of Lincoln, had been a friend of Culpepper’s since they met in kindergarten at Placer Elementary School. “Kevin was the nicest guy I ever met in my entire life,” said Lain. “He’d never do anybody wrong.” Culpepper was “One of the hardest working side-by-side guys I have ever met,” said another friend, Clay Golart, of Loomis. His friend was always thinking of others, said Golart. “He was always the first one to call.” Golart also said Culpepper would want his friends and family to know how much he cared for everyone. Kelly Culpepper, 25, said her husband was a foreman at Pro-Tech Fire Protection in Sacramento. She is an emergency room nurse. They met 3-1/2 years ago at a Halloween party, were married just “seven months and four days,” and had purchased a home of their own in March. “We fixed it up as soon as we moved in. Slowly did little things, to make it a home,” said Kelly. The big back yard was perfect for Kevin’s dream dogs, Drake and Beddie, his English mastiffs, she said. “His ‘kids,’” Kelly said, were spoiled rotten. “Beddie, especially, is so sensitive. Every time I go out there (to the yard), I wear his shoes, and they smell them, and jump up and down.” Kelly said she wasn’t at all surprised that the celebration of life held for Kevin on June 12 at the Blue Goose Fruit Shed, “packed such a huge building and there were people outside who couldn’t get it.” Kevin, she said, had many really close friends. “Everybody loved him. There wasn’t anything not to love. He never told anybody ‘no.’” He was the kind of person, she said, who “would give up his entire weekend to help somebody’s grandma take care of the yard … Everyone he met, he touched them all in a special way. His smiling face and contagious laughter was something we’ll never forget.” The Culpeppers – mother Lana, dad Terry, brother Clint and sister Tara Engelbrecht – are a longtime Loomis family and comfort and support have come to them from throughout the community. “Miss Corr,” Kevin’s kindergarten teacher at Placer Elementary, called the Culpeppers to say she still remembers Kevin’s “sweet smiling face from 18 years ago,” according to Engelbrecht. Engelbrecht also wanted to express her family’s appreciation for all the kindness extended to them. “The outpouring that we had at Kevin’s memorial service from all of our friends here in the Loomis community really proved how he did make everyone he came into contact with feel so special.”