BOISE, Idaho — November 21 is World Day of Remembrance, a day in honor of those who have been hit by cars. Throughout the country, events were held to honor those who lost their lives in car crashes, including in Idaho.
Nationwide, there was a 24% increase in the rate of traffic deaths. Idaho alone saw 336 crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists.
Dozens gathered at the Idaho State Capitol on Sunday, sharing chilling stories and memories regarding the somber day.
One of the stories recounted was that of then five-year-old Maximo Wyatt, who was hit and dragged 40 feet by a minivan six years ago. He underwent 13 surgeries and spent two and a half months in the hospital.
Although Maximo deals with lingering implications, he has not let them stop him from making sure nobody has to experience what he did.
"I can't remember at the moment what caused her to accelerate, but I can be grateful for that moment because that moment has given me a lot," Maximo said. "I know what [other victims] felt, except for the part where they died, of course. I also know what it's like to lose people because I have lost people."
The Idaho Walk Bike Alliance and street safety advocates took to the podium at the Statehouse, calling on Idaho transportation agencies to adopt a Vision Zero, a movement towards zero tolerance for deaths on Idaho roads.
"We really feel like we are the lucky ones despite how challenging what we have been through in the last six years with Max's recovery, but we still get to sit down at the dinner table with him and there's a lot of families that don't get to say the same," said Courtney Wyatt, Maximo's mother. "They've got an empty chair at their table and so this is a day for them."
Advocates also called on Idaho State Police (ISP) to replace the word 'accident' with 'crash'.
"Words matter when it comes to things," Maximo said. "That's why the word accident shouldn't be used. You should probably say crash because it could have been prevented."
Maximo takes antibiotics daily, faces mental trauma from the incident and is forced to face the past with 15% of his body still scarred from road rash. However, the Wyatts continue to make Idaho's roads safer for other cyclists and pedestrians.
"I have a treehouse in my front yard and I have some pretty good friends that I wouldn't have met if I didn't get hit," Maximo said. "It isn't all bad is what I am trying to get across."
To support or donate to the Idaho Walk Bike Alliance, click here.
Watch more Local News:
See the latest news from around the Treasure Valley and the Gem State in our YouTube playlist: