GoFundMe Organized for Family of Cheyenne Student Killed in Crash
"On November 5th, 2021, our community lost a young bright light, Makaili James Evans," the fundraiser organized by Reed Barrett says. "As a 13-year-old boy your future thoughts are anything but what faced young Makaili, that brisk Wyoming morning."
Police say Evans was crossing Western Hills Boulevard in the crosswalk when he was struck by an oncoming Ford Escape.
He was taken to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center with critical injuries where he was later pronounced dead.
The driver remained on the scene to assist officers with their investigation and had yet to be charged as of Thursday afternoon.
Barrett is asking the community to consider donating to Evans' family for unexpected expenses, hospital bills, and a memorial to be set up at a later date.
"This is when we step up and live the 'Cowboy Strong' motto," he said. "When we lend a helping hand to the family of such a beautiful soul who needs us now more than ever."
In Memory of Makaili James Evans (Age 13)
Our Loving Cowboy Community,
On November 5th, 2021, our community lost a young bright light, Makaili James Evans. His family, those who went to school with him, and the town as a whole were all in a collective shock. As a 13-year-old boy your future thoughts are anything but what faced young Makaili, that brisk Wyoming morning. This is when we step up and live the “Cowboy Strong” motto. When we lend a helping hand to the family of such a beautiful soul who needs us now more than ever. If you never met Makaili you really missed out, but if you ever meet someone who knew him, you're meeting a piece of his heart. Every single time someone had an encounter with him, they were left forever changed.
I simply can't sum up what a phenomenal young man Makaili was but if you never got the chance to meet him, here's a few fun facts about him :)!
Makaili loved watching movies, listening to music, playing video games, camping, fishing, hiking, and campfires. One of his favorite hobbies was riding his bike and hanging out with his friends as often as time allowed! If you didn’t catch him doing any of the above, then you’d be sure to find yourself at the receiving end of a great comedic prank! Some of his best pranks (in my opinion) were talking his family into taking him out to dinner and then ordering the most expensive item on the menu…. Smart kid if you ask me! His joyful personality and pursuit to make his friends and family laugh and smile was his mission. There wasn’t a day that would go by where even the smallest interaction with Makaili wouldn’t lead to your biggest smile.
At the age of just 13, Makaili began to find his passion in life as he watched his older brother Kaiser from afar develop his talents in film and photography. As any little brother does, Makaili strapped himself to his brother’s hip and tried to learn as much as he could so that he might share in his brother’s ventures. As the days have slowly drawn on since his passing, the days in Cheyenne have seemed brighter. How might you ask can days seem brighter if we lost such a young bright light. Well, that’s just it…. His light is so bright, and his smile shined so far that as we mourn below in our physical shells, Makaili’s smile and warmth shines down on us all, wrapping us in a blanket of love letting his family and us know he’s okay and with us each and every day.
Makaili’s immediate household family, Clifton and Janelle Jones, along with his older brother Kaiser Cunningham. would like to extend their thanks and appreciation for the outpouring of love and support from the community. Every note, every hug, every single time you’ve extended your hand in effort to help them in this time of need has meant everything to them. I’m sure as you can imagine, the stories of anyone’s experience with Makaili has helped tremendously over the last few days. Especially his peers and friends who started the #4Mak, and #ForMak movement, your small action to memorialize a young child has offered strength and courage to those who’ve needed it most. To continue honoring him, please use a red porch light in the coming days to spread awareness of what a beacon of hope he was in the all the lives of those he touched.
Here’s where we come together to help, and truly LIVE the “Cowboy Strong” Motto. As you can imagine with any death, comes unexpected expenses, hospital bills, and funds for a memorial to be set up at a later date. Please consider donating to Makaili’s family in their time of need, this is a family who would give the shirts of their backs to help anyone. They need us, now.
*WHY IS THIS ONLY $1?!
The family wants to ensure that all donors know they are simply appreciative of any form of donation at this time. There was a wave of community involvement to help and a Go Fund Me was a smooth approach to involving as many people as possible without bombarding the family at such a stressful time.
READ MORE: LCSD1 Taking Steps to Ensure Student Safety Following Fatal Crash
Laramie County School District 1 Superintendent Dr. Margaret Crespo says the district is working to prevent tragedies like Friday's fatal crash involving a McCormick Junior High School student from happening in the future.
"As we navigate the incredible loss of one of our students, I want to share that we are working with law enforcement, the City of Cheyenne’s Traffic Safety Committee and other stakeholders," Crespo said in a letter sent to LCSD1 families Tuesday.
Dear Laramie County School District 1 families,
The safety of our students and staff is always our top priority. As we navigate the incredible loss of one of our students, I want to share that we are working with law enforcement, the City of Cheyenne’s Traffic Safety Committee and other stakeholders.
Thank you for your questions and feedback about what we can do to ensure the safety of our students. Please continue to reach out. We are listening and we are forwarding this information to these entities with the goal of preventing future tragedy.
Although the work is preliminary, we anticipate the Cheyenne Traffic Safety Committee will be conducting a safety audit of our pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle traffic at each of our schools. As we work through this critical process, we will share updates when they become available.
At any time, parents may communicate concerns to their principal who will take these items to the to the Traffic Safety Committee.
As a community, we have a shared responsibility for every one of our students. At LCSD1 our parents and families are our partners. We are committed to protecting our kids and are taking steps to create a learning environment that is safe.
Dr. Margaret Crespo
Although the work is preliminary, Crespo anticipates the Traffic Safety Committee will be conducting a safety audit of pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle traffic at each of the district's schools.
"As we work through this critical process, we will share updates when they become available," said Crespo.
"At any time, parents may communicate concerns to their principal who will take these items to the to the Traffic Safety Committee," she added.
READ MORE: Teens Hit in Crosswalk Near Cheyenne East High School
The incident happened around 7 a.m. at the intersection of Windmill Road and E. Pershing Boulevard.
Public Information Officer Alex Farkas says the boys -- a 13-year-old Carey Junior High School student and a 15-year-old East student -- were crossing Pershing at the crosswalk when an oncoming GMC Acadia hit them.
"Both sustained minor injuries and were transported to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center out of an abundance of caution," said Farkas.
"The driver of the vehicle remained on-scene and was issued a citation for failure to yield," she added.
"The Cheyenne Police Department is extremely concerned about safety on our roads," said Chief Mark Francisco. "Pick-up and drop-off times are especially dangerous for both students and drivers near school zones."
According to police, 238 traffic incidents have occurred in the area of East High School this year. Of those, 50 have occurred at the intersection of Windmill and Pershing.
"Safety is a shared responsibility; we ask our citizens to help keep everyone safe by slowing down, limiting distractions and being courteous to others on our roadways - especially in school zones," said Francisco.
In order to protect both pedestrians and drivers, police offer the following safety tips:
10 Walking Safety Tips
- Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
- Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
- If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
- Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
- Whenever possible, cross streets at crosswalks or intersections, where drivers expect pedestrians. Look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right.
- If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely; continue watching for traffic as you cross.
- Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure you are seen.
- Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and your judgment.
9 Driving Safety Tips
- Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times. Safety is a shared responsibility.
- Use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions, such as nighttime or bad weather.
- Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the cross-walk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.
- Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing that you can’t see.
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Follow the speed limit, especially around people on the street.
- Follow slower speed limits in school zones and in neighborhoods where children are present.
- Be extra cautious when backing up—pedestrians can move into your path.