Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 24, 2013

Forum: Do what's right for Kelly Boyce

By Rasa Baker

---- — I read your article about a community touched by the death of this young, loving soul. I never was lucky enough to meet Kelly but felt so drawn to yet another tragic death of a bicyclist. As I visited the accident site, I nearly became physically ill as I looked at the marks on the road where she was struck, then dragged to the point where she was finally free of the vehicle that trapped her. A hit-and-run-away driver, the response of a coward. My tears at this site certainly were not alone as many who knew this lovely, young bride, wept for her and her family.

As an avid biking enthusiast, I took part in a community memorial, like nothing I have ever witnessed. The love swelled within all attending, a perfect, blue sky, light breeze and yes, joy, listening to stories about a young woman many of us never met but were drawn to her just the same. As I joined the hundreds of bicyclists in the processional, I felt pride in a large community, suddenly smaller, embracing one another with renewed respect, slowing down enough in our busy lives to realize how quickly our lives can change.

My own Dad, Jack Evans, age 74, was struck and killed just outside of Bear Lake, riding his bicycle on a clear, crisp, perfect fall day in September 2002, Friday the 13th. He did everything right that day; bright, yellow shirt, orange flag, rode with traffic, a flat, straight surface, on a paved side road near a dear friend’s home. That day, an extremely visually impaired driver made the choice to take back roads to his home, perhaps believing it was “safe” to just use back roads with his comprised vision. Struck from behind, my Dad was killed instantly. The driver traveled another 250 feet before he stopped, walked back to investigate what he hit and found my Dad, crushed bicycle resting near by, crumpled in the tall grass off the road.

I was always somewhat thankful he never knew what happened. He was breathing the beauty of his beloved northern Michigan air, likely thinking of his most recent story to share or piano tune he wanted to play. More importantly, the driver, a retired physician from Frankfort, did stop to investigate. My Dad could have so easily been another victim of a cowardly driver. I find myself so deeply sad for the loved ones of Kelly Boyce-Hurlbert; no answers yet, no accountability, raw grief. As the tips continue to arrive at the police agencies I am hopeful for her family that somebody will think: this could be my sister, my daughter, my Mom, my wife, my friend.

Kelly was all of those and touched lives of those she knew and many she never met. Somebody needs to be courageous and do what is right for Kelly. As Maya Angelou says so eloquently: “Courage: the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”

About the author: Rasa Baker is a Lake Ann resident and avid bicyclist. She is a Special Education Teacher for TBAISD. Her Dad, Jack Evans was killed on his bicycle near Bear Lake in 2002 by a visually impaired driver.

About the forum: The forum is a periodic column of opinion written by Record-Eagle readers in their areas of expertise. Submissions of 500 words or less may be made by emailing to letters@record-eagle.com. Please include biographical information and a photo.