More than 200 friends and family members turned out Friday afternoon to mourn the death and celebrate the life of a 19-year-old La Crescenta man who died in a motorcycle accident late May.
Packed into the pews at Montrose Church’s Pasadena-Bresee campus, many in attendance were wearing clothing with floral patterns in tribute to Michael Nelson. Montrose Church Lead Pastor Dave Roberts said they weren’t in attendance to make sense of what happened, but to celebrate Nelson’s life.
“We’re not going to try to pacify what happened, we’re not going to try to tell you it’s OK — it’s not OK,” he said.
On May 30, around 6 p.m., Nelson was riding his motorcycle near the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and New York Avenue in north Glendale when he collided with a car driven by a 60-year-old woman.
According to the Glendale Police Department, Nelson suffered significant injuries and was transported to a nearby trauma center where he later died.
Nelson’s death was ruled and accident but it is unknown what caused the collision or who was at fault, according to Glendale Police Sgt. Robert William.
Many at the service regarded Nelson as a peacemaker among his friends and that he would help anyone in need.
John Harvey, a family friend, said Nelson was also fiercely protective of those close to him.
“As part of such a big family Michael was always very protective of his family members and people he loved,” he said. “Whenever someone tried to hurt or threaten his younger brother Zack, he would put a stop to it.”
In addition to Zack, Nelson is also survived by his other brothers Duane and Brian, his sisters Erika and Nicole and his parents Debbie and Ray.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help pay for expenses, including Nelson’s funeral, and has collected over $15,500.
Several local restaurants have held or are scheduled to hold fundraisers on the family’s behalf.
On June 19, Blaze Pizza in La Cañada Flintridge will donate 20% of its sales that day while the Black Cow Café and Star Café will donate 15% of their proceeds on June 21.