One year ago today our community lost one of its own.
Wyatt was my brother's friend. I never knew him like those in my inner circle. Wyatt’s life has forever changed mine and those closest to me.
Wyatt used to spend days at a time at our house. When he wasn’t here, my brother was at his house. The boys had such an adventurous childhood. They did everything from riding pigs, to monster truck rides, riding dirt bikes, and even raising a baby coyote. Wyatt was always smiling in a way that made you uncontrollably smile back. He was adventurous, spontaneous, fearless, and unbreakable. Despite all the high-risk activities he partook in, he never broke a bone.
Wyatt was born and raised in the backcountry. He knew the road. He knew how to ride. He knew how to bail off his bike.
As Wyatt entered town, he stopped to talk to a few friends before heading out of town on what was supposed to be a short joy ride. He was a few minutes into the ride on a somewhat straightaway when all his knowledge wasn’t enough to save himself. We will never know what went terribly wrong at 5:15 pm on October 9th, 2019.
I do know how I felt when I heard the news. I saw his truck right where he left it on my way to the scene. I saw the accident scene. I saw the ambulance with Wyatt in it waiting for the coroner and all his friends surrounding it. I know his friends who spoke to him moments before the crash. I know the people who saw him crash. I know the people who held him as he took his last breath. I cried with his friends as we planned his memorial instead of planning our next adventure together. I remember the anxiety I felt for months every time I heard sirens or a motorcycle. I know the pain we all still feel. I am reminded all of this constantly and every time I drive past Wyatt’s cross.
Wyatt is just one of many who lost their life on the backcountry roads of San Diego. A month after he died, another motorcyclist died just down the road from him. One night when we were mourning at the site of Wyatt’s accident, we found another cross. A few years back my mom was second on scene to a four-person fatal crash, two of whom were children. When I was a kid we lost Ian, Sarah, and Nick. Just two weeks ago we had three fatalities in five days. Many people have lost their lives on Highway 78 and 79. Only a few are marked by crosses.
This is why I drive the speed limit. This is why I don’t pass cars. This is why I wait for the extra second for a better time to turn. This is why I honk at reckless drivers. This is why I answer the phone in the middle of the night to be the designated driver. This is why I ask you to PLEASE DRIVE RESPONSIBLY.
Rest in peace Wyatt Young Jones. We love you.
“I shall not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8