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Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Updated: October 15, 9:47 AM ET
Sorrow expressed for Snyder, family news services

ATLANTA -- Atlanta Thrashers star Dany Heatley expressed sadness Tuesday night for the car wreck that killed teammate Dan Snyder, saying he was "very sorry over the loss of my close friend."

In his first public comments since he crashed his Ferrari into a wall, Heatley issued a statement before the Thrashers played the New York Islanders.

Heatley was charged with vehicular homicide after Snyder died last week of injuries sustained in the Sept. 29 crash. Snyder fractured his skull in the wreck and never regained consciousness. Heatley was also injured and might miss the entire season following knee surgery.

Last Friday, Heatley joined the rest of the team in Elmira, Ontario, for Snyder's funeral.

"I am deeply saddened and very sorry over the loss of my close friend and teammate, Dan Snyder," Heatley said. "I am deeply moved by the strong show of support his family and I have received from the town of Elmira and sincerely thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers.

"The entire Snyder family ... have demonstrated amazing strength and compassion during this very painful time."

Test results showed Heatley consumed a small amount of alcohol before the crash. His blood alcohol content was less than 0.015, far below the state's legal limit of 0.08.

Because Heatley wasn't drunk and Snyder's relatives say they forgive him, prosecutors could decide the car crash was just an accident, with no need to pursue felony charges and sentences ranging from three to 15 years.

Heatley, the MVP of last season's All-Star game, broke his jaw and tore two ligaments in his knee. He had surgery to repair the knee, and the Thrashers said they expect him to play this season.

"The accident has taken a huge emotional toll on me, and of course, my family as well," Heatley said. "At this time, my focus is on the Snyder family and my rehabilitation from the injuries that I sustained in the accident.

"I am working hard with my rehabilitation and will return to the ice as soon as is medically possible. I will continue to support the Snyder family and my team in every possible way. I sincerely thank you for your understanding."

Heatley's family also released a statement Tuesday, thanking the Snyder family for its "incredible support and love they have shown us."

"We all feel so terrible about this accident," the Heatley family stated. "They are remarkable human beings and will remain in our hearts all of our lives. In their time of sorrow, they have shown us so much compassion and given us strength."

"Dan and Dany were very good friends and no one meant for this to happen. We are so saddened by this loss of a young life. We shall never forget Dan Snyder and he will be in our hearts forever."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.