Utah father reaches out to driver with forgiveness after crash that killed his son

Posted at 9:24 PM, Mar 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-03 00:24:55-05

BOX ELDER COUNTY - Thephakone Phetsysouk said losing his 14-year old son was heartbreaking, but he didn't hesitate to reach out to the driver who hit him.


Braxton Phetsysouk

Braxton Phetsysouk was leaving a friend's home in Brigham City Saturday night around 7 p.m. when he tried crossing the street at a place where police say there are no crosswalks and the lighting is bad. The result put Braxton in Primary Children's Hospital, where he passed away just hours later.

"Like any other parent, I'm waiting for my kid still to call me," Phetsysouk said.

He said he got word that his son had been hit just minutes after the fact, and by the time they got to the hospital, things were dire.

"Doctors came out and told us he's pretty much gone," Phetsysouk said.

He said he took a few minutes to mourn the loss of his son, but then he started thinking about the driver who hit his son. He posted a message on Facebook in hopes that someone would pass the message on to the driver:

"I just want to know if you are OK and that you made it back to your family. I can only imagine what you may be going through and what you're thinking."

Braxton's father said he got a response from the driver within 30 minutes.

"He called me back saying 'Sorry, sorry,' and I said, 'No need to say sorry.'"

Phetsysouk said the phone call was therapeutic for both the driver and himself. The driver turned out to be an 18-year-old Utah State University student, and Phetsysouk said he could tell that the student had been struggling since the incident. But he hopes the call helped both to move on.

"I have the final pieces to get on with my grieving and so does he," he said.