a thousand words Beyond the Hill

Wiqan Ang

Lee Gossett would have been 10 years old today. For his past four birthdays, on New Years Eve, Amy Gardner has bought presents for Lee’s birthday – just as any mother would. But Lee has not been around for his last four birthdays. He died in a car crash on Oct. 8, 1999.

“We were like best friends,” Gardner said.

Lee’s father was traveling along route 383 in Franklin when he lost control of his pickup truck. It flipped two and a half times before throwing Lee out of the cab.

Lee was not wearing a seat belt.

And a sample of Lee’s father’s blood following the crash showed the presence of cocaine in his body.

Gardner said Lee was very mature for his age, and was like an adult even at six. When Gardner delivered her second son, Lee wanted to be by her side.

“He was my little labor coach,” Gardner said.

Today, Gardner is in a civil lawsuit against her ex-husband for wrongful death. She said there should be stricter laws dealing with drivers under the influence of drugs.

“There might be a system but it doesn’t work,” Gardner said.

Gardner said seat belt laws should be enforced and there should be stricter penalty for violations, especially when it involves children under the age of 13.

“I would not have to go though the trauma of him thrown about in the vehicle,” she said.

Wiqan Ang is a senior photojournalism major from Singapore. Reach him at [email protected]