Local News

Local Father Wants Others To Learn From His Loss

Posted April 1, 2004

— Though many motorists may not think much about tire debris in the road, Bruce Braddy does.

"Our life, our family's life is changed forever because of a road retread tire recap in the middle of the highway," Braddy said.

Braddy's daughter, 22-year-old Lauren, died Sunday on Interstate 95 near Orlando, Fla.

"The pain is absolutely incredible," Braddy said. "My life will never, ever be the same."

A memorial service is scheduled for Friday for Lauren Braddy, one of two college students who died on a Spring Break trip. Her sport utility vehicle crashed after she swerved to avoid a tire tread in the road.

The SUV flipped end over end, killing Lauren, a friend, and injuring two others.

"Most of us do not recognize, do not realize what a problem this is until it hits you right in the face," Bruce Braddy said.

Now that it has hit him between the eyes, Braddy said he wants to do something about it.

Along with Lauren's mother, Braddy plans to research retreads, start a Web site and create awareness about recycled tires.

"It was an accident," he said. "It happens. Could it possibly be corrected? Absolutely. Are there things that can be done right now to improve that situation? Without a doubt."

At Turn Key Tire in Raleigh, employees do not recommend retreads for passenger cars. But, they said smaller independent trucking firms depend on the cheaper retreads to cut costs.

They also said they do not recap any tire for which the casing is older than five years. They said much of the road debris comes from dealers who put new retreads on old tire casings.

State troopers and Department of Transportation maintenance crews said they do all they can to clear tire scraps from roads.

A study conducted by the Virginia Department of Transportation concluded that roadside tire debris is evenly divided between new and retread tires.

No matter where the retread debate stands, a father has some rough road ahead.

"So," said Braddy, "I say to every parent, right now, hold your child, tell them how much you love them."

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