Story By Wayne Chase
On the 28th of December 2016, my 15-year-old son Mitchell Chase was involved in a motorbike accident that claimed his life.
Being a Dad was the best thing that has happened to me. I was never career minded, but I loved every moment of being a Dad and threw everything into it. I gave my boys every spare moment of my time and every spare dollar to make their lives as amazing as possible. Mitch was my first born and turned out to be more than anything I could have ever dreamed of. He was confident, popular, funny, determined, kind and had a love of life. His confidence and success made him more than just my son he was my hero. I had so much in common with Mitch and we were best mates. We enjoyed camping, motorbike riding, doing Muay Thai and having adventures together.
From the age of 8, Mitch had a desire to be the best baseball player he could be. I helped him practice every day and he rose from an average player to represent Australia. He was first chosen to represent Australia was at the 2014 Cal Ripken World Series in America when he was 13. To see my son run onto the field and hear the announcer say “Number 13, Mitchell Chase,” gave me goosebumps, brought tears to my eyes and filled my heart with pride. The circumstances of Mitch’s accident were that when he left home the night of his accident he told me he was going to a friend’s that lived on 5 acres, 5min from our house. Mitch did what most teenagers do and disguised his true intentions. His actual plan was to ride on the road to a friend’s place. Mitch was 15 and didn’t have a driver’s license and his bike was unregistered.
He shouldn’t have been on the road, he pushed the boundaries as kids do. On the way to his friend’s people in a car saw Mitch and started chasing him. As a result of being chased Mitch rode at excessive speeds & witnesses said he was continually looking behind him at the pursuing car. As a result of being chased his attention was fully focused on the pursuing vehicle and not the approaching intersection. Mitch rode through a give way sign and collided with a vehicle.
The following day he was pronounced brain dead and we turned off his life support. Mitch made the mistake of riding on the road, he deserved for the Police to confiscate his bike and for me as his Dad to kick his butt. He deserved to learn from his mistake, he didn’t deserve to die. Watching my son take his last breath was the most painful and heartbreaking thing that has ever happened to me. Then to have to see him in a coffin at the viewing and hold a funeral for my mate, was gut retching. The driver of the vehicle was caught and pleaded guilty to Manslaughter, failing to stop, failing to report an accident and having no driver’s license. He is due to be sentenced on the 12th June.
Since the day of the accident the grief, pain and suffering have been extreme and it is a daily struggle to keep going. Mitch had always been such a strong character that I was determined to draw on his example and remain strong to get through.
The grief and trauma of losing Mitch, rather than turning my heart to stone opened my mind to the suffering of others. Combined with receiving so much support, generosity and love gave me a boost and has instilled in me a desire to use my experience to help others. Having the new purpose of assisting others has helped fill a small part of the void that losing Mitch has left and has given me some direction.
I have written a book titled “All Heart” telling the story of Mitch’s life, my journey through grief and to assist anyone struggling with adversity, which will be released once the court process is complete. I have also created a Facebook page to give my thoughts on dealing with life’s challenges.
One dollar from each book will be donated to the charity AYLA, Assisting Your Life to Achieve.
AYLA is a local charity that provides services to the community. Following Mitch’s accident, AYLA provided our family with a food hamper and offered ongoing counselling.
After investing all my time and energy assisting Mitch to chase his baseball dreams, I would also, like to establish a grant to help a teenager to chase their dreams.
Wayne Chase – All Heart