Parents of soldier killed in motorcycle crash plead for attentiv - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Parents of soldier killed in motorcycle crash plead for attentive driving

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Dakota Grider Dakota Grider

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A mother and father came across a motorcycle accident to find their son fatally injured.

Army Specialist Dakota Grider passed away just before Christmas, and three days after his 19th birthday. He will be laid to rest with special honors.

"His momma asked him to follow us and he kinda gave us that smirk that he always had and he said, you know mom, I'd like to lead," Dakota's father John Grider said.

Monday afternoon 19-year old Dakota Grider left a gas station just minutes before his parents. A short time later they came upon an accident and quickly realized it was their son's bike in the middle of the highway.

"You know my wife jumps out of the truck and our son was laying over to this side and he wasn't breathing," John Grider said.

The accident happened in Bullitt County at the intersection of Preston Highway and Kentucky Highway 245.

"She put her hand on his back and grabbed his other hand, and started talking to him and I'm telling you, he drew a breath and started breathing again when he heard his momma talking to him," Grider said.

The Bullitt County Sheriff's office says a man driving a Chevy pickup was headed south on Preston Highway. He turned onto 245 but was distracted and for some reason ended up hitting Dakota Grider.

"His exact words to the lead investigator were that he was in la la land," John Grider said.

Four and a half hours later, Grider died at the hospital.

"We have a great loss and the army has a great soldier, because he would've been a great soldier, that's all he wanted to be," John Grider said.

The 19-year-old was a new soldier who recently became part of the Army's 20th Special Forces Group.

"We sent him out west to become certified as an intelligence analyst," Chief Warrant Officer 3, John Holiday, said.

He said Dakota Grider completed that and did a great job. His unit was about to send him to additional training.

"We have guys from all over the nation - they're flying in to pallbearer and perform honor guard and we spend time with the family until we inter the soldier."

Despite their loss, Dakota's parents hope drivers can take something away from their tragedy.

"Motorcyclists have the right to the road the same as everybody else, and I know that some motorcycle riders ride like idiots, but my son did not, he was a good rider," John Grider said.

As family and friends gather for his visitation, they reflect on his past and know that the future will never be the same.

"I'll be honest with you, I don't see us celebrating Christmas again," he said.

Grider's funeral is Saturday at noon. It will be at Arch L. Heady & Son funeral home at 8519 Preston Highway.

It will include full military honors, along with a 21-gun salute.

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