On July 16, 2015, Teresa Savaikie looked up at a helicopter hovering low in the sky near her house and she said she knew. Her two sons had only left the house five minutes apart from each other.
She heard the helicopters, and she immediately felt shaky, she said.
“I just knew,” Savaikie said.
She would soon find out that her fears and motherly instinct had been correct. Her 14-year-old son Wyatt had been struck and killed by a speeding driver at the intersection of Seco Canyon and Bouquet Canyon roads.
“It was just that quick and he was gone,” said Savaikie.
Now five years later, as she has done on every July 16, Savaikie returned with her boyfriend, Patrick Burrous, and laid flowers at the site where her son had been killed.
In August 2016, 74-year-old Ralph Steger was sentenced to 60 days in Los Angeles County jail after pleading no contest to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, speeding and running a red light.
Steger struck and killed Wyatt with his car heading 68 mph through the intersection while the boy was crossing the street in a marked crosswalk.
Savaikie says the monument she returns to year after year, now marked with a purple cross on the side of the road, is spreading awareness.
“My hope is that people will remember my son and, while they’re doing that, they’re a little bit more careful as they’re learning to drive or driving,” said Savaikie. “It just doesn’t go away, because you watch his friends reach their dreams and their milestones, learn how to drive … and my son doesn’t get to experience that, and it was all because they just couldn’t wait at a red light.”
“The biggest thing is to remember Wyatt and, in his memory, drive safely,” Savaikie added.