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“Because I’m awesome—” words we will never again hear our precious Collin say—now engraved upon a headstone. Before, we’d laugh at his humor and unwavering confidence; now, we cry at the truthfulness of this statement and remembrance of what was lost.
Collin truly was AWESOME. He was talented, intelligent, fun-loving, outgoing and adored by many. He was destined for greatness with limitless potential. He was anxious to grow up, to drive, get a job, serve an LDS church mission, get his own apartment and be independent.
Collin was the oldest of five children and an incredible big brother! He would carry his sister on his shoulders when she was too tired to walk, called his one-year-old twin brothers his “babies,” and was inseparable from his younger brother, his best friend.
On the morning of November 2, 2011 (only two weeks after his 13th birthday), Collin was tragically stolen from us by a 19-year-old driver high on marijuana.
The day began as any other. Collin woke up and got himself ready for school. We lived across the street from the Jr. High, so he and his friends walked together. At 7:20 a.m., I awoke to Collin in my bedroom doorway as he said, “Bye, Mom, I’m going.” I replied, “Okay, I love you.”
About five minutes after he left, I heard a siren. My heart sank a little, but I told myself not to jump to conclusions. Upon seeing traffic backed up behind my house, I grew more concerned, and looked out a window to see an ambulance and paramedics gathered around somebody on the ground. I yelled to my husband to make sure it wasn’t Collin.
Impatiently, I ran outside praying. As I approached the scene, I saw a pair of blue and black DC shoes in the road. Collin’s shoes. My worst nightmare had come true. I ran over to my precious boy, who was unconscious and lying in a pool of blood. I couldn’t believe this was real. The officer informed us they were going to fly him to Primary Children’s. My husband and I cried and prayed harder than we ever had before.
A moment later, the officer approached us again to say they’d canceled Life Flight. Collin had gone into cardiac arrest. I ran over to the ambulance, where they were administering CPR, and yelled, “Collin, come on buddy!! You’ve gotta pull through! We need you!”
A few minutes later, the officer approached us one last time, shaking his head and saying, “I’m sorry.” I have never felt such intense, unbearable, pain, shock, disbelief and sorrow as I did in that moment. My life, as I knew it, was over.
Next came the responsibility of telling our other children that their big brother was gone. This has been incredibly hard on our family, as well as countless friends, neighbors and classmates. Many hearts were broken that day and some, like my own, will never fully heal. Collin was an indispensable part of our lives. One of the hardest things is knowing his twin brothers will never know him.
If there is any good that can come from this, I hope it will send a message to young people about the dangers of drugs and the importance of attentive driving. There are some mistakes that can’t be undone and will forever rob us of what could have been.