Dozens gather to remember traffic crash victims on World Day of Remembrance

More than 3,000 people have died on Kentucky Roads in the past five years, 582 of which happened in Louisville.
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 9:27 AM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Each year for the past five years, around 600 people died on Kentucky roads.

Several groups in Louisville gathered Sunday to remember the lives of those lost in traffic accidents.

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims is a global event held to honor those have lost their lives or impacted by roadway crashes and Louisville held their second annual celebration of the event Sunday afternoon.

More than 3,000 people have died on Kentucky Roads in the past five years, 582 of which happened in Louisville.

Now, several groups are teaming up to ensure that number is eventually zero.

Unfilled shoes of those that lost their lives to road traffic accidents is sometimes the only piece some have left of their loved ones but for others, it’s a heart-breaking memory.

“When I walked in this room and saw the shoes, the first thing that went through mind was I didn’t get my sons shoes,” Metro United Way CEO and President Adria Johnson said.

Johnson lost her son and his little brother in a November 2022 accident, and she says the one-year anniversary hasn’t been easy to accept.

She was just one of family victims impacted as they gathered to share their stories.

“He didn’t even have the car in his name, and he hit Matthew and kept going,” Matthew’s Bridges Inc. founder Janet Heston said. “Matthew fell off of his hood and was left disabled in the street where another driver who just didn’t see him, ran over him.”

Heston lost her son Matthew Egger almost exactly three years ago and has been fighting ever since to ensure no other family shares her fate.

“We want the people of Louisville to become more responsible with driving, with traveling to realize that automobiles weigh thousands of pounds,” shared Heston. “They are deadly weapons and they are killing people.”

Groups like Matthew’s Bridges, Vision Zero Louisville and Taylor NewCut Network say they’re working with lawmakers to create legislature to have automated speed enforcement to reduce the impact of speeding.

Without it, these groups feel families will continue to suffer.

“Sleepless nights, panic attacks, anxiety and it’s very hard for us to allow our children to walk the streets if they’re going to work or coming from work in fear of revisiting this devastating loss,” said Brandy Stafford.

Stafford had just loss her son to a hit-and-run just two months ago on Dixie Highway as he was heading home to see a friend.

Patricia Bishop lost her son, Daniel Logsdon, in November 2020 and shares what her grandchildren made to teach her about the force their father endured that fateful night.

“In Daniel’s case, the vehicle that was being driven was 4,054 pounds times sixty-one mph and he never even put a brake on,” Bishop said. “That’s 247,294 pounds on one human body.”

But with support from Louisville Metro Mayor Craig Greenberg and local representatives, these families are hopeful their work can make a difference.

“And if you hit someone immediately hit the brakes, pull the emergency brake, call 911 and stop and render aid,” Heston explained.

Zero Vision Louisville says they hope to have no traffic accidents by 2050 and say they’re looking forward to working with local government and representatives to make it happen.