Community surrounds Joey Zeller’s family after his death


by Michelle Arnold

Posted on January 28, 2014 at 6:10 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 28 at 6:26 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The community has surrounded the family of Joey Zeller and after a month of support his loved ones are saying goodbye.

"His smile made everyone smile," Zeller's friend, Cage Hooker, said.

Download WHAS11 News app: iPhone | Android

There are some things about a person you can never forget.

“He walked into the room; he had the biggest smile," Brent Drewery said.

"He definitely always had a smile on his face; it's hard not to know someone like that," his friend, Ricky Depass, said.

Joey Zeller's family and friends all said the same thing about him right off the bat.

"He was a great person with a big heart and big smile," his father, Mark Zeller, said. 

Zeller was headed to his grandparents' house in Jeffersontown in the wee hours of the morning on Christmas day in 2013. Police say his car veered off Routt Road and slammed into a tree. The car burst into flames immediately after Zeller was pulled out. He survived but was given a 50/50 chance of living.

"We just still had hope the whole time, even though he kept going up and down that he was going to make it," Zeller Sr.'s girlfriend Sharon Scholl said.

After 34 days in a medically induced coma, 25-year-old Zeller passed away on Monday, Jan. 27. After a month of uncertainty, his loved ones are now coping with his death.

"We do know that there was speed involved and no seat belt," Mark Zeller said.

According to police Joey Zeller was driving drunk. His father wants people to learn from this tragedy.

"Sometimes you do stupid things; you get stupid results. Unfortunately he paid the ultimate price. I want people to be more cautious," Mark Zeller said. 

There's a benefit concert planned this Thursday, Jan. 30, at Diamond's Billiard and Pub on Barret Avenue where Zeller was a bouncer and often DJ'd.

"He brought a lot of people together because of this. Some good did come out of this," Hooker said. 

A fundraiser is set up in his name.

"We are going to help each other and there's going to be positive things from this. I hate it, that it was my baby that was lost," Mark Zeller said.

Zeller’s funeral is this Saturday, Feb. 1, at Ratterman’s in Middletown at 2 p.m.