Council OKs proclamation in memory of car accident victim

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – The Columbiana City Council approved a proclamation July 2 honoring the memory of a local family’s son and warning of the dangerous circumstances that led to his death.

Christy Davis Patterson and her husband, Michael, sat in the front row of the Council Chambers as Mayor Stancil Handley read the proclamation about car surfing, defined as “riding on the outside of a moving vehicle being driven by another person,” and how the couple’s son, Chase Davis, 22, died on July 1, 2017, after an accident involving car surfing.

“I actually had talked to my son about this, and I’m sure he just wanted to be cool, and it took his life,” Patterson said. “My son made a terrible choice.”

The proclamation reads, in part, “That in memory of the life of Chase Davis, as a continuing memorial to the many other loved ones who have suffered the same fate, and as an annual reminder of the tragic consequences of car surfing, that the week of July 1 each year is hereby designated as Car Surfing Death Awareness Week in Columbiana, Alabama in hopes of increasing the public’s awareness of the dangers of car surfing and preventing injuries and deaths caused by this dangerous behavior.”

Patterson said she has started to contact local legislators about working to pass what she called a “direct law” against car surfing.

“I’m willing to do whatever it takes,” she said. ““I’ve got to do this for Chase. I’ve got to save others.”

Councilwoman Ouida Mayfield suggested Patterson speak to the city’s civic clubs in her efforts to educate the public about the consequences of car surfing.

“If you can get something good to come from the tragedy, it makes the tragedy a little bit less,” Handley said. “My heart is with you.”

Patterson said about 10 days before his accident, Davis had gotten his driver’s license and elected to be an organ donor—a decision that has benefited multiple people, according to letters Patterson has received from recipients.

“This is the one thing that gives me drive to keep going every day,” Patterson said. “He always wanted to be a hero, and now he is a hero.”