Austin Gordon Haver
December 10, 1998 – January 25, 2003
Austin Gordon Haver was born December 10, 1998. He was my 4th child and my 4th boy. I knew I was having another boy. I had to have preventive tests during my pregnancy because of my age. His father was my second marriage. His father had a daughter from a previous marriage, but not a son. Austin was born on his father’s birthday. Austin’s middle name is for the NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon. His father would have named him Jeff Gordon if he didn’t have a brother named Jeff.
Austin was a beautiful baby. He was always so happy. He was smiling & grinning all the time. He loved attention, especially from his daddy.
When Austin was 4 months old I found out I was going to have another baby. Again, I knew, I was going to have my first girl. Jessica was born 9 days after Austin’s first birthday. Jessica and Austin were inseparable. Austin was so fascinated with his baby sister. People thought they could be twins. Austin called his sister sissyca.
Austin was a very loving and a helpful child. He looked out for his sister. He knew he was the “”big brother””. He worried about her always. If she fell, he would ask her if she was all right.
At 8-months-old, Austin won a local baby contest for his age division. It was evident how beautiful our son truly was and we wanted to share him with everyone. Not to be out done by his big brother, Jessica won the same baby contest in January of 2001.
When Austin was two and Jessica was one, their father left. I gave him his divorce he wanted, but I fought for supervised visits. Their father was a drunk. The domestic judge of common pleas granted supervised visits. A niece of their father’s was to be a supervisor. He chose not to see them. Austin asked Santa Claus the month before his death for his daddy, not a toy. Austin had prayed for his dad to see him.
Austin started pre-school in September of 2002. He was very eager to learn. He was excited about school. He could not wait to grow older to be in kindergarten. He was upset the first day of school when he got home because he did not learn his ABC’s.
His father stopped paying child support in December of 2002, so I had to work outside the home. I was working a temporary service job in a factory. My oldest niece babysat for me. Austin & Jesse loved her like a second mother too.
Austin slept in the same bed with me and Jesse slept in a bed in the room too. I would have to get up at 3:30 in the morning for this job. The morning Austin was killed he woke up with me. He had given me a big hug and kiss and told me to have a good day at work. He also said I would see him with a haircut when I got home too. My niece, Beth, was taking him for a haircut while I was at work. I also wanted her to get me a gallon of milk. The beauty salon was busy and they were told to come back. Beth took them to Taco Bell for lunch and then went to the gas station for the milk. Austin never got his hair cut that day.
The accident happened at 3:05pm, January 25, 2003. I got home at 3:10pm. My niece called me at 3:15pm. She was so upset, screaming and crying. I could not understand her. She yelled Austin’s name and to get to Speedway on Harding Hwy. I got behind a semi and stopped by a red light. I could see Austin lying on the pavement covered with blood. It took all I had not to get out of my car and run across the 4-lane road. The cops grabbed me as soon as I got out of my car. The cops would not let me get near him. The ambulance never arrived on the scene; the cop transported Austin to the hospital in his car. The hospital was only 5 minutes away, if that.
Another cop transported my niece, daughter and me behind Austin. Within 20 minutes of being there I was told Austin would not make it. I found out later he had no pulse or heartbeat on the scene.
As I mentioned earlier, Austin’s father had not seen him for 15 months, or anyone else in the family.
He got to say hello and goodbye at the same time. I had walked into the emergency room after Austin was pronounced dead, and seen his dad holding him and crying. I thought at that moment Austin was smiling in heaven because he knew his daddy held him.
Austin was run over by a SUV in the parking lot of Speedway gas station. My niece had pulled in a parking space next to the SUV. Austin was in the passenger side in front. Jessica was in the back seat, driver side. Austin got himself out of the car, while my niece, Beth, was attending to Jessica. Austin’s door hit the other driver’s door too. Austin walked behind his vehicle just as he was backing up. Beth could see what was about to happen and was yelling. The driver did not stop. Austin was hit and knocked down then the SUV ran over his body from his feet to his head. By this time, a crowd had gathered and the driver stopped with the left rear tire on Austin’s head. The driver pulled forward running over Austin’s body again. The driver was a 21-year-old guy. Austin had no chance for survival.
Jessica being only 3 had seen her brother ran over. She is frantic around cars and parking lots. She’s afraid she’s going to die also. Jessica is in play therapy counseling and I see two grief counselors. Jessica’s father has not seen her since Austin’s funeral. His death has only been 2 1/2 months ago. Austin did receive his haircut by the funeral home. I vowed to Austin’s grave that I would do anything to prevent other children from dying this way. I urge others to get the word out of the dangers of kids around cars. TAKE IT SERIOUSLY. The comment “”Life’s too short””, and “”It will never happen to me””, can be learned the hard way, as with myself. Don’t let it happen to you too.
When I started to research this topic I found the web site for KidsAndCars.org. This site has so much information on it. The people are so caring and understanding. I want to thank them for helping me channel my grief positively and productively.
Please consider making a donation in honor of Austin to help KidsAndCars.org save children’s lives: