By Noah Hubbell
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Audry maintained her relationships back in Denver, including her friendship with Derrick, and also held on to a monthly gig at the Funky Buddha Lounge. The trips home allowed her to spend time with her stepfather, William Gibson, who was ill with a rapidly progressing brain disease related to Alzheimer's. During one visit, Audry recorded vocals for Derrick's single, "That Latin Track," which became a club hit out of nowhere. Released on the United Kingdom's Loaded label, the song sold more than 10,000 copies and was played in clubs from Ibiza to London and on the airwaves in Spanish-speaking countries; last year, six compilations of electronic music featured the cut, including Darren Emerson's Underwater Episode with Tim Deluxe.
But at the same time global house-lovers were shaking on the floor to their feisty grooves, Derrick and Audry were reckoning with recovery in Denver.
Derrick hadn't been feeling well in the weeks leading up to the crash. He'd noticed shaking in his hands and experienced some trouble with his speech. Concerned, he made an appointment to see a doctor in late May.
"I had always been in perfect health my entire life, so I had no idea what was going on," he says. "Epilepsy was not something that I thought about. There's no history of it in my family, nothing like that. At the time of the accident, I hadn't seen a doctor in years."
Since he was diagnosed, Derrick's treatment for epilepsy has included monthly meetings with a neurologist, regular MRI screenings and daily medication. He doesn't drive -- instead, he opts to take the bus and walk almost everywhere he goes -- and is awaiting a judge's ruling on the citations he received after the crash, for running a red light and careless driving resulting in serious injury. He's returned to music full-time, running Colorecordings with partner Sean Biddle, with whom he also appears under the Floorfillerz handle in Denver and out of state; they're producing songs for other imprints, as well. But the effects of the accident linger.
"My career was at an all-time high at the time of the accident, and it brought it to an all-time low," Derrick says. "I had to cancel a bunch of gigs -- some overseas, some in Canada. Once gigs are canceled, it's hard to get them back. But, whatever. The big thing has been dealing with the mental stuff.
"I was seeing a psychologist for a while, and I think I need to go back," he continues. "I would say there's definitely depression. The whole thing has kind of messed with my head, and there's a lot of guilt. I know, rationally, that what happened was not my fault, but at the same time, Audry is different now. Her life is different, and its going to take a very, very long time for it to be like it was. I would do anything to have it happen to me and not to Audry. So I'm learning how to deal with that stuff while trying to figure out what it means."
For now, it means that Audry and Derrick again find their lives intertwined, but from a distance.
"We're still friends, just not like we were," Audry says. "I wouldn't say I'm angry with him. There was a period of about two weeks when I was, when I was in the hospital. I think I wasn't fully able to process what had happened or to conceptualize it. I've realized since then that it wasn't his fault at all. He's probably the last person in the world that would do anything to hurt me.
"I was hurt pretty badly, but I've learned to deal with it without getting angry or becoming frustrated," she adds. "I try not to regret what happened. I just take things as they come. There's no point in blaming anyone. It was just something that happened to both of us."
Like many of Audry's family members and other friends, Derrick visited her in the hospital again and again and again. This Audry would learn later. During the first few weeks of her hospitalization, she was so disoriented that she could barely recognize words or faces. For a while, she wasn't able to process reality or emotions -- not even when her stepfather passed away in June.
"It was an incredibly difficult period, especially for my mother," she says. "My stepfather had been ill for a long time, so it wasn't a huge shock when he passed. But here she'd had her daughter almost die, and then to lose her husband and have to continue as the caregiver for a daughter who couldn't understand what was happening? People have said that there must be some real strength inside me to have recovered as quickly as I have, but I really think it was the strength of my mother that saved me."
After nearly two months of intermittent deafness and blindness, partial paralysis and countless procedures in various clinical beds, Audry was well enough to leave the hospital. She moved in with Maria in Westminster, where she was cared for by both her mom and grandmother; she began intensive brain-rehabilitation outpatient therapy through Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital in Aurora.