A billboard unveiled in Tallahassee today features the faces of two young men who’ve lost their lives in motorcycle crashes.
Sunday marks the anniversary of Kris McElhenny’s death. This year, that anniversary falls on Mother’s Day.
McElhenny’s mother is hoping to spare other mothers and fathers the pain of losing a child on a motorcycle.
“He shouldn’t be up there… “
Tina McElhenny fought back tears as two workers high above the ground unveiled a billboard with her son’s face on it.
“I always said, it’s not you that I’m worried about driving it. It’s the other people driving, not paying attention to you and then, unfortunately, 13 days later, that’s what happened,” McElhenny said.
Kris McElhenny died May 8, 2002 in a collision at the corner of Centerville Road and Capital Circle. He was just 18 years old.
His name and face loom large on this billboard on Capital Circle Southwest right next to the name and face of 19 year old Dylan Corbin. Corbin is a Panama City teen who lost his life in a motorcycle crash in October.
His dad and cousin were there for the unveiling, but say Dylan’s loss is still to fresh and too painful to talk about on camera. The same billboard will go up in Panama City on Friday.
“We’re two parents that are now living through pictures,” McElhenny said. “We’re not living with our child. We’re not growing old with our child.”
Two families brought together by tragedy are hoping drivers passing by this billboard will remember to look twice for motorcycles on the road.
“I want them to see two handsome, young men on this board and I want them to realize that they’re gone – that they are not coming back, and that’s why we want them to pay attention while they are driving,” McElhenny said.
Florida leads the nation in deadly motorcycle crashes according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The numbers in Tallahassee and Leon County are staggering too.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles – in 2015 alone – there were 111 motorcycle crashes in Leon County. Five people died and 22 more were hurt.