The Truth

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Some days I struggle to stand…to open my eyes…to take a breath, without you. Some days I beg that God calls me home. I’m your mom. I need to be with you. I’m supposed to protect you, to love you, to guide you. I wasn’t there at that moment. I wasn’t there. I would have thrown myself in front of that car Cole. If only I could go back.

What really happened that day? For those who seek to know the truth…and for those who assumed they knew, here is the truth. The entire crash was captured on surveillance video from the National Geospatial Agency. We have viewed the video. Cole was traveling northbound on Vogel Road in the right lane. There was no car in front of him.  A vehicle was traveling southbound on Vogel Road turning left onto Depot Road.  As the two vehicles approached the intersection, Cole’s traffic signal was solid green.  Cole had the right of way through the intersection.  The driver turning left, who admittedly “wasn’t looking”, was obligated by law to yield to oncoming traffic.  He did not yield.  Cole did everything he could to save his life but as the driver rolled through the turn and heard my son, he looked up and stopped, subsequently blocking the intersection.  This left nowhere for my son to go and no time for him to stop. Cole was not traveling 100 mph, 90, 80, 70 mph…..and for those who passed along information that he was, I implore you to research what happens to the human body when it collides with a stopped vehicle at these speeds. I was at the crash scene. I saw my son lying in the street. He looked angelic. He was whole. There were no visible injuries except for a broken ankle.  Cole’s fatal injury was to his head.  His helmet failed him.  His other injuries were not life threatening. His eyes looked as though he was staring at something beautiful, and he undoubtedly was. Jesus carried my son home that day. God needed him. Cole now resides where I long to be.

To the two girls who claimed to be “witnesses” and in fact arrived after we left the crash scene, you should be ashamed.  You were not there out of concern but out of curiosity and you should research the definition of slander. This is what you have done.

To the police officers who dismissed, ridiculed and mocked my 17 year-old son’s death, you disgust me.  My son’s life mattered.  We lost our reason for living that day and these officers couldn’t muster the energy to perform their due diligence.  There were no life saving methods used on my son at the scene by you.  You treated his crash and his life as an inconvenience.  When I questioned why the driver’s blood had not been sent to the lab for toxicology testing after 96 DAYS in storage you stated to me that “our timeline isn’t your timeline” and “it’s not the quicky mart”.  You told me my son’s crash photos were “gross”.  You referred to his death as “crap”.  You held on to blood evidence because you were busy with “vacations” and “holidays” and because after all, “it doesn’t go bad like cottage cheese or 2% milk”.  I’m quite certain if it were your son that had died, you would have sent the blood sample within the typical 24-hour period to be tested while it was still viable.  Your lack of diligence to process evidence in a timely manner may have jeopardized the quality of the toxicology results from a repeat DWI offender with a 2 year interlock sentence and prior drug charges. You added insult to injury by citing my son for all contributing factors to the crash.  You couldn’t gather the energy to give the other driver a citation for FAILURE TO YIELD because “It would raise more questions.”  Where is the accountability? Your mishandling of evidence only magnified our grief and unnecessarily prolonged the investigation into the events that led to my son’s death.  So to the police officers involved, I will leave this justice in God’s hands. I’ve done my part and He knows the truth.

To the man who pulled in front of my son. If you “weren’t looking” because you were distracted, I need to know. If you kept going, failed to yield and stopped in the middle of the intersection because you were under the influence of something, I need to know. I know that marijuana was in your blood, but I need to know why. Do you ever think of my son? Does he ever cross your mind? Are you more attentive now? Do you still drink and drive? Do you still smoke marijuana? Do you even know who my son is? Do you know his character, his compassion, his heart? Do you know that his life mattered? I hope to meet you someday. I will be honest, I am angry. Not angry if you made a mistake, but angry if there is more to the story. I am angry if something was covered up, angry if you were under the influence and most importantly, angry if you forgot about my son. I am angry that my 17 year-old son paid the ultimate price for your mistake. I am angry that I am here and he is not, angry that I was lied to, mocked and dismissed. But you should know that my son was special. There was something that set him apart. God saw this in him too. God saw everything. 

To the off duty medics who tried to render aid to my son; thank you for doing everything in your power to keep him here with us. Thank you for rushing to my 17 year-old boy who needed someone to tend to him until EMT arrived. To the young girl who stayed with my son until we arrived, thank you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for what you did that day. God put you all there for a reason.

To the man who prayed with my husband and I, the witnesses who talked to us to tell us the truth, the nurse who made sure I got shoes on my feet, thank you. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. Because what you did that day, your small act of kindness, meant the world to us. You were also there for a reason, and we are thankful for that.

To our family, friends, and Cole’s friends; you mean the world to us. Thank you for being such an amazing part of our son’s life. Thank you for allowing his smile to brighten your day, his heart to lift your spirits, and his laughter to fill your rooms. Thank you for not judging him, for caring about him, and for loving him. You mean more to us than you’ll ever know.

To Cole, our inspiration, our hero, our son; thank you for teaching us what it means to love with our whole heart. Thank you for not laying judgment on others, even when it was laid on you. Thank you for using your own struggles to help those around you find a reason to have hope. Thank you for living your life out loud. Thank you for loving your friends and family with your whole heart. Thank you for making us laugh until we cried. Thank you for staying humble and not being prideful. Thank you for always protecting those you love. Thank you for believing in God and having no shame to say it. Thank you for being the life of our time and for giving us the time of our life. We thank God He chose us to be your family. We thank God that He set you apart. We thank God He saw in you what we did.

Until we see you again Cole, we will love and miss you with every breath we take. We will live the rest of our lives to make you proud, finish what you started, and bring glory to God. We love you Colton. Forever and always.