A few months ago, after watching my youngest narrowly escape being hit by an impatient driver, I wrote a letter asking for OPRF High School parents to drive carefully as they dropped off their high-schoolers (We live right by the school). I ended the letter reminding us all that no matter who may be at fault in decision-making, when it comes to a car vs. a student, the child will always pay the painful price. 

Truly, I never imagined that only some time later I would be sitting in a waiting room as a neurosurgeon worked to save our son’s life after being hit by a car. Our middle-schooler was riding his bike to school and was hit on the sidewalk when a car neglected to yield while exiting an alley. Thankfully, he survived and is healing from his injuries well. 

I just want to say this: I know it isn’t cool to wear helmets and even though our child took his helmet as he is required by us, he didn’t put it on. As a resident who lives by OPRF, I am witness to the fact that most of the students who ride their bike to school do the same. Please remind your child to wear their helmet; our son didn’t and it almost cost him his life. 

I also want to ask again, please, please, please drive slowly and carefully as so many of the children in Oak Park walk or bike to school. Our family can now say it is a fact that the child will pay the painful price. Our village prides itself on being green and having so many walkers and bikers. Unfortunately, we don’t drive like we take their safety seriously. 

I’d also like to say this: The people of Oak Park have carried us through an incredibly scary time in our family’s life. We would like to publicly extend our deepest thanks to our wonderful neighbors; the stellar staff and families at The Children’s School; the teachers and parents at Beye Elementary and OPRF who watched out for our other children; the amazing Oak Park Fire Department and paramedics who were at the scene so quickly; the doctors as well as the trauma, PICU and pediatric nurses at Loyola; our friends in the Oak Park Runners Club and so many more — you have all been a saving grace. 

Let’s continue to look out for one another by reminding our children to wear their helmets, drive even more carefully, and always show up when our neighbor is in need.

Lisa and Drew Mullen 

Oak Park 

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