DENVER, Colo. – Residents in Denver gathered on Sunday night to remember the victims of fatal car crashes as part of an international effort. Sunday’s vigil coincides with the United Nations World Day of Remembrance which is dedicated to crash victims and their families on a global level.
At the vigil, small flames danced against the night. The flames represent the vibrant lives of 235 people killed on Denver’s streets since the city became a “Vision Zero” city in 2016. One of the flames stands for Michelle Roche’s son, Cole Sukle.
“Cole could make anybody laugh. He was such the peacekeeper. The one that brought people together,” Roche said.
Cole was standing with friends in the bike lane, just a block from home when he was hit and killed on July 13, 2016.
“An elderly, drunk woman came down Yale Boulevard and crashed into them and sped off,” Roche said.
For Matt Borutta, it was a close call on a Denver Street. The avid cyclist is now living with a plate and seven screws after his collarbone was fractured when he had the right-of-way and a car turned in front of him.
“I had my lights on my bike, as I always do at nighttime, and he didn’t see me, turned right in front of me,” Borutta said.
While people gather in remembrance on Sunday, the city and county of Denver commit to their plan to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2030 through their Vision Zero program.
“Someone loses their life every five days just trying to get around our city,” Jill Locantore, Walk Denver Executive Director said. “Safer street designs, and slower speeds will go a long way towards eliminating traffic deaths.”
While Roche is calling for action now. She said all drivers need to be aware so no one else has to lose a loved one.
“You shouldn’t have to take your life in your hands just by walking down the street.”
For more information on Denver’s Vision Zero action plan visit their website: https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/vision-zero.html