Southern California Walk Raises Money for MADD Victims
LONG BEACH, Calif. (Nov. 8, 2021) — Roughly 230 people donated and attended the SoCal Walk Like MADD – In memory of Aiden Gossage fundraiser Saturday at Rosie’s Dog Beach and together raised $54,241 for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
The annual fundraising event supports survivors and victims of drunk driving here in Los Angeles County and Orange County.
Last year the walk was held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year’s fundraiser is held in memory of 16-year old Aiden Tai Gossage who died just two months ago on Sept. 4th. The teen, who worked at Fitness 19, was set to begin his senior year at Millikan High School.
His parents, Lily and Greg Gossage, and brother Luke, created a walk team that together raised more than $14,000 for MADD this year. Lily was also the top individual fundraiser with $2,009 raised and Luke was the second-highest with $1,084.
MADD Walk In Memory of Aiden Tai Gossage
Aiden Tai Gossage was struck by a suspected drunk driver while walking in a dimly-lit crosswalk at Los Coyotes Diagonal and Deborah Street in Long Beach.
Investigators noted the suspected DUI driver’s speed likely contributed to Aiden’s death and the driver didn’t brake until after he hit Aiden.
Aiden’s parents both spoke on Saturday about the impact of losing their son. “If you’re a mom, and your child dies before you, you die every day,” said Lily Gossage as she spoke to the crowd at Saturday’s Walk Like MADD.
She spoke through tears as she remembered her son. When she asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up, he told her he “just wanted to be a good man.” Lily Gossage said, adding she doesn’t know why she hasn’t felt anger yet “I want to leave all of my heart for my son.”
Her family is grateful their son was with some good Samaritans who rushed to help him.
“A mother held his hand when I couldn’t,” said Lily Gossage. “I am so grateful for that mom who held his hand and caressed his face. I couldn’t be there for him in that dark street. The only light that came out was from those people.”
Ironically, her husband Greg is a forensic scientist who processed cases involving drugged and drunk drivers for the Long Beach Police Department’s Crime Laboratory. He feels that drunk and drugged drivers are getting off too easy and should permanently lose their licenses on the first DUI.
“If you are caught once drunk driving that’s it,” he said, later adding, “My son possibly saved another life that night because the driver stopped after he hit my son.”
Aiden’s family also pointed out there are no lights on the street where he died and they hope that the city will take steps to put some lights up.
“It’s not going to bring Aiden back, but it’s going to save other kids,” Lily Gossage said.
Families Remember Loved Ones Lost to Drunk Drivers
Others came out to support the families of so many people who lost their lives to drunk drivers. Among those remembered was Ervin Antonio Rodas Lima, known as Toño, who died in May this year. He was close to graduating from UCSD with a degree in Biochemistry and planned to earn his PhD at the University of North Carolina, Chapel.
Also, the family of Ethan McEnally, 14, of Trabuco Canyon, who died in 2015 in Huntington Beach was also here to remember him and honor his life. Family members of Yolanda aka Landa/Bugs Bozonier, 59, were also here to remember her. She died in September 2020 when a drunk driver crashed into her bedroom and leaves behind her husband, two children, and grandchildren.
At the end of her speech, Lily Gossage summed up how many families here feel about DUI drivers.
“This isn’t an accident,” she said. “It’s manslaughter. It’s murder. People who are drunk and who drive and take drugs, they choose to do that. There’s so many ways to get Uber, to call to not do that. That comes from a depraved and selfish heart.”
Our law firm, Johnson Attorneys Group, was one of the many sponsors of this year’s Walk Like MADD. It’s our eighth year supporting this worthy event. Our JAG Walk team raised an additional $350 for MADD. Other sponsors this year included Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, Uber, Andy’s Express Wash, Archibald’s Restaurant, State Farm, KTLA, Walmart, Sheldrake Coffee Roasting, Peace Officers Research Association of California, Germ-X and Great Western Sanitary Supplies.
“I can’t think of any greater cause than helping innocent victims of drunk drivers,” said Attorney James Johnson. “We bring awareness to this horrible crime in hopes that it will end drunk driving and the pain it causes victims and their families.”
About Johnson Attorneys Group
Attorney James Johnson does not represent the families mentioned above. Our law firm was founded Johnson Attorneys Group (JAG) in 2007 with the sincere goal of wanting to help people. Over the years, Mr. Johnson has handled hundreds of cases involving DUI victims as well as family members who have lost loved ones in collisions with drunken drivers. The personal injury law firm began its annual sponsorship of MADD in 2013. If you have legal questions, please contact JAG at 1-800-235-6801 for a free consultation.
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