CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It's been almost two years since Corpus Christi Police Officer Alan McCollum was killed by a suspected drunk driver.
McCollum left behind a wife and three daughters. Picking up the pieces for them hasn't been easy.
KRIS6 News sat down with Alan's widow, Michelle McCollum, for her first sitdown interview discussing the night she learned of her husband's death and how life has changed for all of them since then.
Michelle remembers the night everything changed vividly.
"We were expecting him home and of course social media starts going on about an accident," she said. "I was home with my daughter, she was taking a shower. It was a little after 10."
That's when Michelle texted her husband Alan but he never answered. What came next, no one is ever prepared for.
Michelle says, she received a knock on the door.
It was two officers notifying her of her husband's death.
Police say, Alan and two other officers were conducting a traffic stop on South Padre Island Drive at the Carroll Lane overpass when a suspected drunk driver, 26-year-old Brandon Portillo, hit one of the police cruisers. The impact knocked Alan over the railing and on to the frontage road below, killing him.
Learning of the tragedy was hard enough, but now she had to explain it to their youngest daughter Lilly.
The days, weeks and months ahead would be the hardest to endure.
Ceremonies and memorials honoring Alan were appreciated but hard to go through. It's been the most difficult for Lilly who was only 10 at the time of the accident. Making sense of it all hasn't been easy.
Alan recently was honored in Washington D.C. for Police Week, where his name was placed on the wall of fallen officers. It offers the family some comfort knowing his legacy will endure.
Moving forward hasn't been easy but it's something Michelle says, Alan would have wanted.
When asked about what she'll miss most Michelle said, "Just how he made me feel safe. We spent 16 years in each other's lives. The memories, the good and the bad because it formed who we were as friends and as husband and wife. Just the memories, he was a beautiful person inside and out and I had front row to his life, the last 16 years, and I thank God for that."
Alan's life was one of service. He served in the United States Army for 21 years and spent seven years on the Corpus Christi Police Department force. Even though he's gone his memory lives on.
"I'm not who I used to be and I'm not going to be," Michelle said. "That Michelle died with Alan."
Brandon Portillo, the suspected drunk driver in the case, is set go before Judge Bobby Galvan.
His trial date has not been set yet.