A 5-year-old Boise boy who was hit and dragged about 40 feet Wednesday is hospitalized in Utah for multiple serious injuries, and a fundraising effort for the family raised nearly $54,000 in its first day.
Max Wyatt was riding his bicycle at the intersection of Kootenai and Owyhee streets shortly before 4:30 p.m. Wednesday when police said he was struck by a minivan that traveled for several more seconds before coming to a stop.
Boise police declined Thursday to provide additional information about the crash, including the directions the minivan and bicycle were traveling as they entered the intersection. The crash is still under investigation, and no citation or charge has been reported.
A GoFundMe page established by a family friend Thursday reported that Max is in critical condition with injuries including a collapsed left lung, bruised right lung, a chest wound and broken bones in his left leg, pelvis and ribs. He was wearing a helmet.
The boy had surgery at a local hospital to remove his spleen; after he was stable, he was flown to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, according to the GoFundMe page managed by Jackie Wilde Sorenson. A Thursday evening update noted that Max also had surgery on Thursday, and doctors pinned his broken leg.
“He has a team of doctors monitoring him closely, including a burn team and a pediatric orthopedic trauma team,” Sorenson reported on the page. Both of Max’s parents are with him.
Jimmy Hallyburton, executive director of the Boise Bicycle Project, was one of many people in the community drumming up support for the Wyatt family Thursday. He said he has worked on wildland firefighting crews with Max’s parents, Courtney and Joe Wyatt. Joe is a smoke jumper, he said.
The Wyatts have been strong supporters of the Boise Bicycle Project, Hallyburton said, and Max has gotten at least two bikes through the project.
“Between the firefighting community and the bicycling community ... I think folks reached out pretty quickly,” Hallyburton said. The GoFundMe page passed its initial goal of $15,000 within about five hours Thursday, and the goal was later increased to $100,000. As of 7:30 p.m. Friday, 586 people had contributed $53, 925.
“The first thing to do is to help the family, and the next thing is to prevent things like this from happening again,” Hallyburton said.
THE CRASH SCENE
Kootenai and Owyhee are two-lane streets with parking lanes, and Kootenai has bike lanes on both sides. The intersection where the minivan hit Max has a four-way stop with a flashing red light. There is a 25 mph speed limit sign on the west side of the intersection with Owyhee, and the speed limit also is painted on the road.
Police have not reported the minivan’s estimated speed. There are marks on the west side of the intersection indicating that the vehicle veered off to the right shoulder, and there is a deep tire mark on the other side of the curb.
People had placed stuffed animals — a bear, a bee and an owl — in a tree along Kootenai, and many bows on trees. Someone left rolls of ribbon and scissors for people to use.
A group of a half-dozen kids from South Junior High stopped at the scene after school Thursday.
Sharon Patterson, who lives a short distance from where the collision occurred, said many people came to assist the child, who was pinned under the van. She said two women grabbed jacks to help raise the vehicle just before firefighters arrived.
“The father was just frantic, just frantic,” Patterson said.
Police said a 40-year-old Boise woman was driving the minivan. Patterson said she observed young children in the vehicle.
In the past five years, there has been one other collision involving a vehicle and pedestrian or cyclist at the intersection of Kootenai and Owyhee, according to the Ada County Highway District. That happened in 2010. The driver, a woman in her 80s, was cited for failure to yield.
Nicole DuBois, a spokeswoman for ACHD, said four-way stops are believed to be among the safest intersections because “it brings traffic from all directions to a complete stop.”
“There are painted crosswalks on all legs of this intersection, and there is also a flashing beacon, which faces all directions in order to create heightened driver awareness,” DuBois said.