Mother remembers son killed by car as intelligent, good-looking boy

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 2 2011 4:51 p.m. MDT

West Jordan Police investigate a fatal auto pedestrian accident early Wednesday morning, Nov. 2, 2011 near 5600 West 8200 South, happened just before 7:30 a.m.

Shara Park, Deseret News

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WEST JORDAN — Collin Worland told his mother "I love you" as he left for school Wednesday morning.

The Worlands live just across the street from West Hills Middle School. But just five minutes later, Colin's mother, Erin Worland, heard sirens headed her direction.

"It got louder and louder … the thought crossed my mind, but I pushed it out real quick," she said.

But when the emergency crews stopped close to her home, Worland went out to see what was happening.

"I saw his shoe on the ground, and I just knew, and I was beside myself. My worst nightmare had come true," she said in tears Wednesday afternoon.

The family of Collin Worland, 13, as well as the students and faculty of West West Hills Middle School were in shock and mourning Wednesday after the seventh-grader was struck and killed in an auto-pedestrian accident.

The accident, near 5600 West and 8200 South, happened just before 7:30 a.m. West Jordan Police Sgt. Drew Sanders said three boys were crossing 5600 West on their way to way to West Hills Middle School, 8270 S. Grizzly Way (5500 West). Two of the boys made it across the road safely, but Collin was hit in middle of street by a full-size passenger vehicle.

The boys were not crossing in a crosswalk, which is about 200 yards south of where the 19-year-old driver struck Collin.

"I was in shock. I couldn't breath. I couldn't think. I didn't know what to do. I wanted to save hi., I wanted to help him. I felt powerless to do anything, and I just prayed and hoped he would come through," Erin Worland said.

As she watched paramedics work on her son, the reports kept getting worse. Worland said at one point she was screaming into the ambulance where her son was being worked on, "Collin, pull through. You can do this buddy, you can do this, I need you."

Collin was the oldest child in his family.

"He was the most wonderful, intelligent good-looking boy. He had so much going for him," his mother said. "I was looking forward to seeing him grow up into the man he was to become."

Worland said her son did well in school and particularly liked science. He also liked typical 13-year-old boy activities like playing video games. For his birthday, just two weeks ago, he received a lot of paintball supplies.

"He really wanted to go paintballing," said Stephanie Long, Collin's aunt. "He didn't get the chance."

Recently, Worland said Collin told her he wanted to join the armed forces when he grew up, but she wasn't crazy about the idea.

"I was scared because I couldn't bear the thought of ever losing him. I just never thought he'd be taken so suddenly and so horribly," she said. "It hasn't sunk in yet. I'm just in shock. I can't even make sense of it all."

Worland said her son wanted to grow up fast and she knew he would have made an impact in the world. Now, she said her family was broken-hearted and needed to pull together for support.

By Wednesday afternoon, a Facebook page titled, "Remembering Collin Worland" had been created. The page includes a link where donations can be made to Collin's family to help pay funeral expenses.

During morning announcements Wednesday, West Hills principal Kim Baker read a statement to students about the accident.

"Today will be very difficult for everyone, but we have each other for support," she said. "We want you all to know we're here for you and will get through this difficult time together."

Baker ended her comments by asking for a moment of silence for Collin.

The students at West Hills plan to write thoughts on a large poster to be presented to his parents as well as letters that would be collected and given to his family.

"It's tragic. It's horrible. Our hearts are with the parents and family at this time," said Jordan District spokesman Steve Dunham.

Dunham said road construction on 5600 West near the school had recently been completed, creating a little more traffic in the area. The school has been reminding students constantly to use crosswalks, which also have orange flags.

Erin Worland said residents have been asking for a pedestrian bridge to be built in the area. An average pedestrian bridge costs between $1.2 million and $1.5 million.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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