The parents of a 1-year-old boy who died Monday said they forgive the man who struck their son with a pickup truck as the boy’s father pulled him in a wagon down the Foothills Trail in Buckley.
Jason Person tried to move his son, Lincoln, out of harm’s way but was unable to dodge the truck. Lincoln was taken to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, where he died. Jason Person was not hurt.
Police estimated about 400 people attended a vigil at the accident site Tuesday night, where members of the Buckley community shared stories about the little boy. A small memorial of flowers, stuffed animals and balloons grew during the gathering.
Lincoln was always tugging at his dad’s earlobe when he was tired, sometimes aggressively, family friend Carl Erickson said with a laugh. Erickson plays Dungeons and Dragons with the boy’s father, who he said was starting Lincoln early on things such as Star Trek action figures.
“He was like a little mini-me,” Erickson said after the vigil, comparing Lincoln to his dad.
Lincoln’s sister, Ruby, was born about a week ago, according to Erickson, who said he had just come from the family’s home.
The family’s pastor, Greg Daulton, said Lincoln’s parents are grieving, but released a statement Tuesday saying they “feel no ill will towards the driver,” who has not been arrested.
At the vigil, former elementary school students of Lincoln’s mother, Robin Person, shared memories of when she brought Lincoln into the classroom.
There were many strollers and young children in the crowd Tuesday. “You’re holding my hand, we’re right next to the road,” one woman told a child.
The local man who organized the vigil, Ian Royak, said he didn’t know the family personally. He saw a photo online of Lincoln and his dad, in which the toddler had a marker beard drawn on to match dad’s.
“It made me smile, it made me laugh, and I knew I had to do something,” he said.
Police are still trying to figure out what caused the 78-year-old man to veer off state Route 410 and drive about 500 feet down the paved trail before hitting Lincoln and crashing into a utility pole.
The accident happened about 2:45 p.m. near SR 410 and Jefferson Avenue. The Foothills Trail is about 35 feet from the highway and runs adjacent to the roadway.
Police have ruled out alcohol as a cause for the wreck but are looking into whether a medical issue or prescription medication could have played a role. The man reportedly told police he doesn’t remember how he drove onto the paved trail.
“We’re starting to put the case together and put the pieces of the puzzle together,” Police Chief Jim Arsanto said.
Todd Kibbey, a former paramedic, saw the wreck and ran to perform CPR on the child. A respiratory therapist also helped try to save Lincoln.
“The boy’s father was right down next to us, holding the boy’s hand, trying to talk to his son,” Kibbey told KIRO-TV. “I mean the boy was a fighter too. Every time we’d say, ‘Come on, Lincoln, you can do this, you got it, dig deep and take a breath.’ He tried with everything he had.”
In their statement, the boy’s parents thanked the community for its support and asked “parents to treasure their time with their children and to never take that time for granted.”
Donations to support the family are being collected in Buckley at Cowboys and Angels Cafe at 691 East Main Street and at Wally’s White River Drive-in at 282 Washington 410.