SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — A community is mourning the loss of 9-year-old Brayden Long, who is remembered for his sense of adventure and love for the outdoors.
"It's really hard right now because like we have known each other since we were like really little," said Baylee, 11, and Raylee, 14. Both girls were Brayden's close friends.
Long was hit by an SUV in South Jordan while riding an e-bike in the bike lane near 11400 South on Wednesday afternoon. He was taken to the hospital where he died shortly after.
Family-friend Sarah Riding said Brayden was fearless and adventurous.
"I've heard stories of him going camping and jumping off cliffs where adults who are next to them trying to muster their courage, you know, to save face in front of the younger kids and he's just like, well if you're not going to jump, I'm gonna jump and just jumps like he absolutely loved every second of his life."
"We had so much fun together," Baylee reflected.
Brayden also had a tender and sweet side, always looking out for someone who needed a friend.
"It didn't matter if he knew if he had anything in common with them or if they were a new child at school," Riding said. "He would just make friends and he accepted everyone and was friends with everyone."
This is the second child the Long family has lost this year. Brayden's 23-year-old brother died just four months ago from a sudden brain injury, Riding explained.
"To have the death of another child really compounded the emotional state that they're in," Riding said.
The Long family is struggling to comprehend this tragedy, but they're grateful for the support of the community.
"I think personally it's one of the most difficult things that someone could go through and they are really overcome by the love and support that they've received from people, from family, from strangers," Riding said."
Riding says the neighborhood is forever changed and will feel much quieter with the loss of Brayden.
Baylee and Raylee said in tears that they love their friend, and will miss him terribly.
"We know he's not in pain now, because he was in pain and we knew it," Baylee said. "We were scared for the first part though."
A Gofundme was created by family to help gather donations for funeral costs as the Long family handles the unthinkable.
According to police, a 44-year-old female driver of the SUV drifted off the side of the road and dragged the children 150-200 feet before stopping. The driver is cooperating in the investigation. Police do not suspect impairment as a factor in the crash.