NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Dozens marched through downtown Nashville Sunday afternoon for the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, hoping to honor Tennessee crash victims and advocate for safer roadways.
Yellow ribbons, roses, and foot traffic lined the streets, eventually making their way in front of the State Capitol.
Several parents shared stories of children lost in pedestrian crashes. One of the more recent victims honored was 23-year-old Alyssa Milligan, a Belmont University grad student from Mt. Juliet who was hit and killed while riding along Highway 100 in September.
“She was a triathlete, and she was biking with a friend and she was on the side of the road and she was hit by a pickup truck and she flew 30 feet and was killed,” Alyssa’s mom, Kim Milligan, explained.
Alyssa is one of 34 pedestrians killed in Davidson County so far this year, and one of 176 across the state. Alyssa’s family, along with others, called for state leaders to take action through measures like lowering speed limits and adding more bike lanes.
“I think that we can work together, to not save my daughter, but what you can do for me is prevent it from ever happening again. It’s a brutal journey for a parent,” Kim said.
To give lawmakers a visual, yellow flags were set up outside of the State Capitol to represent the roughly 1,000 lives lost on Tennessee roadways each year.
“These aren’t just flags…It’s not just statistics and numbers. These are people, these are families that are being destroyed, and at the rate we’re going, it touches more and more people every year, it grows,” said Chuck Isbell, who lost his 13-year-old son, Nate, on Halloween night in 2020.
Since his son was hit and killed by a speeding driver in Rutherford County, Chuck has called for reducing speed limits to 25 miles an hour in all residential areas across the state, which he said gives pedestrians a 90% chance of survival, if hit. He also believes it’s a measure that could have saved his son’s life.
“Something has to change. Every family that loses somebody, they’re losing a future, they’re burying their future, they’re burying a loved one, and it’s got to stop. I mean, we have to do better as a society and understand pedestrians have a right of way and that we have to honor that,” Isbell told News 2.
At the event on Sunday, Nov. 19, a Metro Nashville crash investigator shared with News 2 that deadly crashes are way up, historically. So far this year, we’ve seen 119 fatal crashes, just shy of the 120 seen in all of 2022.