Celebration turns to tragedy: Father describes moments before, after crash on Perkins

Celebration turns to tragedy: Father describes moments before, after crash on Perkins
Michael Easter (left) and Gabriel Ester (right) at their 5th grade graduation.
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Monday, May 20, 2013 - 6:51pm

It should have been a day of celebration; a family barbecue to celebrate the end of a school year. Instead, an 11-year-old boy is fighting for his life in a local hospital with his family by his side, including his twin brother.

“We were having a graduation party for the twins,” Frank Ester recalled. “Everything was finished and we were taking a little break. Michael went about a block away to go to his friend’s house to make sure he was coming to the party.”

Michael never made it home.

“We noticed that traffic was backing up and I realized something had happened,” Frank continued. “I walked towards it to see what happened and that’s when the kids ran up and said that Michael had been hit by a car.”

The crash happened as Michael tried to cross Perkins Road not too far from the Siegen intersection.

“He’s usually the most cautious of all my kids,” Frank said. “He has straight A’s and he’s in the gifted program at Woodlawn Elementary.”

The driver who hit Michael was not charged and they did stop to help the young boy.

“The couple in the truck was distraught,” Frank said. “I planned on talking to them to calm them down and let them know that we don’t put any blame on them.”

Although Frank doesn’t blame the couple for the crash, he feels that the area is too dangerous for pedestrians.

“I’ve never voiced it out loud, but it’s an awful stretch of road,” he said. “It’s a pedestrian area, but people drive too fast.

“None of the streets line up to each other, so it’s not an easy fix,” he added. “You can’t just put a light up and fix it. Also, the speed limit changes a block away from our house. It goes from 55 to 45 inbound, so people haven’t even started to decelerate if you’re coming towards the town. And if you’re leaving, it only just starts to open up.”

Although Frank hopes that his son’s story might help inspire change, if not from the city, then from drivers in the area.

“They’ve been improving roads around town and the Green Light Project has been adding things like sidewalks. The roads out there are substandard,” Frank said in a soft and calm tone. “I would also like to it slowed down a little bit. We’ve had four accidents directly in front of our house in the past month. And that’s because people are trying to find a gap in the traffic to pull out. If people would go the speed limit, the gap would be a lot better.”

But the road is not Frank’s focus. Rather, he has not left his son’s side since the crash.

“We haven’t slept yet,” he said. “The hospital has treated us very well and there has just been an incredible amount of physical support from people.”

Michael is suffering from severe injuries and is not likely to be released any time soon.

“He has a broken neck and swelling to his brain. He has damage to his liver. He’s just in really bad shape.”

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