On May 25, 2016, a day that haunts us constantly, the unthinkable happened. Our family lost our son to a CR&R garbage truck. Brock was 8 eight years old and loved life along with all it had to offer — family, sports, friends, school, laughter, art, music and joy.
Kind, funny and wickedly athletic, Brock had all the toughness on the playground but was also happy sitting in our laps when he was done playing. He was a stand-up guy and was super-popular among his friends, a natural leader.
There was a charm in him that attracted people, and even animals, to him. Brock reciprocated by bringing joy and excitement to all the different aspects of life — big and small.
He enjoyed life and what it had to offer, especially the things you cannot refuse — in particular, cake (of any kind). I remember the first time he opened his mouth really wide at 9 months of age; he did so to devour a piece of birthday cake on his brother’s birthday, then wanted to bring a piece to his brother.
Our family tragedy cannot be adequately described by mere words. The trauma and the pain caused are immeasurable and enduring. Jack, his brother, lost his very best friend, whom he started playing with every day before 7 a.m.
His friends have written things that are so touching and revealing of the fun they would be having today if he wasn’t killed. One of his friends drew a compendium of monsters, like the ones they would draw together at school.
We cannot unwind time and undo what happened to Brock, but we can prevent other deaths from happening in our neighborhood. As awful as his death was, it can happen again — just look at the routes that kids take to school every day, where there are no places to walk other than the street.
We must embrace and understand what caused this senseless death and proactively take the following steps: install sidewalks and bike lanes throughout Newport Heights and Cliff Haven wherever kids commute to school and strongly enforce our traffic rules for drivers and bicyclists alike — including distracted driving, stop-sign enforcement and “inline” pedestrian/bike travel.
To move forward, we can take the steps we see and know are needed to prevent this from happening again. The near-misses with cars and kids in the Heights continue regularly, and each one of them could easily become another death. We can all drive safely, and we can elect City Council members who truly care about the safety of our children.
Murphy McCann lives in Newport Beach.