SAVATAGE guitarist Chris Caffery has posted the following message regarding the death of Dawn Marae Oliva (photo collage), widow of original SAVATAGE guitarist Criss Oliva, who passed away on Tuesday (Jan. 11):
"Once again in this year of loss and sorrow I would like to express my thoughts and prayers to the close friends and family members of Dawn Oliva. Although I had not spent a tremendous amount of time with Dawn over the past 10 years we had always been friends. She had some of the most sincere and kind things to say about my guitar playing in SAVATAGE after her husband died. These were some of the most important things I had heard during this period.
I truly believe that ever since the day Criss passed away that Dawn was never really in peace...perhaps she is now...
"Rest in peace, Dawn..."
As most SAVATAGE fans know, in the early morning hours of October 17, 1993 Criss Oliva and Dawn were en route to the Livestock Festival in Zephyrhills, Florida when tragedy struck. They were hit head-on by a drunk driver. Criss was killed and Dawn suffered severe injuries.
The driver of the other car, Garth McNamee, was found to have a drunk driving record of seven prior DUIs and having a blood alcohol content of .294 percent (legal Florida limit is .10 percent) and sustained fractured left ribs, jaw, nose, right wrist, and both lower legs with lacerations to his face, legs and right hand, according to RealSavatage.com. The drunk driver was charged and convicted of DUI manslaughter, DUI serious injury, and vehicular homicide but served only 18 months jail time and had his driver's license revoked indefinitely. He was also ordered to write the Oliva family an apology letter and was said to be paying restitution of $100 a month to Dawn Oliva.