ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar) – An Odessa mother is making a plea to local families as we approach high school graduations.
“I didn’t realize until after he died, that his purpose was just being there for people,” Bryn Dodd said.
Bryn is talking about her son, 18-year-old Evan Hill. He was an elite soccer player, someone that Bryn described as a person always looking after others.
In September of last year, Police said Evan was in the back seat of a truck traveling on Clover in Odessa. Two of his friends were in the front seat.
It was just before 3 in the morning. Their truck missed a stop sign and was hit by another car, that we’re told, was moving at a fast speed on 52nd. Evan and both drivers lost their lives. Two others survived.
“I’m living with a different life forever because of poor choices,” said Dodd.
Police said alcohol was a possible factor in the deadly crash.
“Graduation makes me feel very empty inside because my son didn’t get to experience life after graduation,” Dodd said.
Top law enforcement officers joined Bryn at Odessa Police headquarters to talk about “Project Graduation.” Local agencies are stepping up patrols for the next two weekends to stop underage drinking, parties, and drug use. They’re asking local parents to talk to their graduating seniors about making good choices on a night that will undoubtedly be filled with celebrations.
“Kids, I believe, are looking for safe places to spend time. If more parents opened their doors and allowed kids to come in, we can get kids off of the street,” Dodd said.
Odessa Police Chief Mike Gerke says parents have done so much for their kids. So, why stop the responsibility now?
The biggest way to move forward is to not buy alcohol for minors, or even to provide a place for them to drink.
“Plan activities that don’t revolve around alcohol. It doesn’t always have to be around alcohol,” said Chief Gerke. “Some of our best times are spent with our family and friends — without alcohol.”
Chief Gerke says the burden is on graduating seniors too, as they become adults, and that their bad decisions could still change the lives of those they love.
As for Bryn, she says that if she could tell Evan one thing now, it would be this:
“I love and miss him. Our life is incomplete without him… I’m going to make him proud.”