Eleven years ago after Tanner Jeans perished in a tragic bike accident on a quiet Snoqualmie street, one of the driving forces behind the ensuing Tanner Jean Memorial Foundation, Laurie Gibbs, set out with a mission: Bike Safety. She and the foundation partnered with the Snoqualmie Police Department in a joint effort to prevent future bike tragedies on local streets.
Laurie always persevered. She was even known to yell at kids on bikes without helmets – to put one on or she’d tell their parents. When friends asked her why she was so passionate, what kept her pushing each year to make the Tanner Jeans Bike Safety Rodeo happen, her answer was simple: If it can save even one child then it’s worth it.
I know Laurie Gibbs and I know how hard it was for her to leave Snoqualmie for the East Coast and turn over the Foundation’s work and legacy over to others…. even if it was to the trusted hands of the Snoqualmie Police Department.
Yesterday I got the opportunity to let Laurie know that it was worth it – that a child on a bike on a Snoqualmie Valley street was saved. In fact, the boy’s father, Reed Warrick, concurred, saying the Bike Rodeo saved Cade’s life.
On Sunday, July 12, 2015, Snoqualmie Police Chief Steve McCulley said SPD Officers Draveling and Vladis responded to the scene of a car and bicycle collision on SE McCullough Street in the Heights neighborhood – at an intersection with an alley way, which is always a bike safety focus of the Snoqualmie Police Department.
Warrick said, “I heard the squeal and the crash… I knew it was him.”
Six-year old Cade was riding bikes with friends in the alley behind his home. He was going too fast around the corner and ended up in the road, where he skid into the path of an oncoming car on McCullough and the two collided. Luckily, he was wearing a bike helmet received while attending the Tanner Jeans Bike Safety Rodeo – and only suffered minor injuries.
On Monday, July 13, 2015, Chief McCulley said the Warrick family stopped by the Snoqualmie Police Station with thank you cards and treats for the the Police Department, and in particular Officers Draveling and Vladis. Cade presented each with a special Hot Wheels police car from his prized collection – as a thank you for helping the family through the scary incident.
The grateful family then visited the Fall City Fire Department and the Snoqualmie Fire Department, who also responded to the accident scene. Those firefighters received fire trucks from Cade’s collection.
Reed Warrick said his family is committed to being active and to bike safety, driving home with their kids the importance of helmets, stopping, watching for vehicles. He says they now want to be ambassadors for both bike safety and driving safely so no other families have to relive their experience. Warrick said the driver wasn’t speeding, texting or talking. He said if that had been the case Cade would most likely have died.
And Laurie’s response? Feeling slightly overwhelmed and a little teary-eyed she said, “It’s nice to know that somewhere along the way we made a difference.”
Cade suffered bruises and road rash, and slight wrist injury, but his dad says he’s healing quickly. The helmet he was wearing cracked and the the interior styrofoam was indented from the force of the collision, which propelled Cade to the ground in front of the vehicle.
Happy endings are always welcomed. Thank you to the Snoqualmie Police Department and the Tanner Jeans Memorial Foundation for over a decade’s worth of work promoting bike safety, obstacle course lessons and handing out all those helmets to young Snoqualmie Valley children.
And what about Cade? According to his father, after the initial collision and when it was apparent he was going to be okay, he simply told his dad, “God saved my life.”
A message from the Warrick Family:
We are so thankful to God and to the Tanner Jeans family for saving our son’s life on Sunday night! Countless variables played into the miraculous outcome for Cade, including split-second reactions by Cade to turn his bike and by the driver to quickly brake, and the helmet he was wearing from the Tanner Jeans Bike Rodeo, which absorbed the impact when his head hit the pavement. We also thank the Snoqualmie Fire and Police Departments, plus the Fall City Fire Department, for your quick responses and faithful service to our community. You are the best!We strongly encourage parents and kids to wear a helmet when biking, skateboarding, scooting or rollerblading! One unexpected fall can forever impair or end your life. We also encourage drivers of all ages to slow down and pay better attention while driving – that text can wait; it’s not worth a life.