A Hillsdale County community is coming together to help a family still reeling from the tragic loss of their teenage son last month. On June 19th, 16-year-old Braxton Petrie and his younger brother Austin, both from Jonesville, were riding their bicycles near their home in the evening. A pick-up came up from behind and struck Braxton, leaving him unconscious on the roadway. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. The vehicle was driven by a 20-year-old who was later charged with driving while intoxicated.

Angie Petrie, Braxton's stepmother, says there are aspects to the tragic nature of the crash that have made this situation even harder for the family to come to grips with.

Our 14-year-old son who was riding with him had to witness the whole thing. All he could say that night was "there were no headlights ". Our son, husband and myself saw the worst thing any parent, or sibling should have to go through. Braxton's biological mom Ashley, who was on the phone with my husband, had to hear all of this over the phone. She was living in Alabama, I can't imagine how helpless she felt not being able to be there.

The accident happened on a Tuesday and Braxton was supposed to fly out on that Saturday to go to Alabama to see his mom and meet his 2 month old baby brother Luca for the first time. Instead an underage drunk driver decided to speed with his headlights off and take Braxton's life.

To help the family not only with the complex emotions they are fighting, but also with some financial assistance, a charity event called "Braxton's Ride" has been planned for September 8th. Family, friends, and the public are invited to attend the ride which will begin at noon next door to Stillwell Ford on W. Carleton Road in Hillsdale. Organizers are asking $10 per bike or car participating in the ride which will end at Owens Park. A luncheon will be held there and attendees may being a dish to pass. There will be a raffle and a baked sale. They are also planning to do a balloon release and a memorial box to honor Braxton.

Anyone who wishes to donate, help with event, or has any other questions about it can contact Jeannette Elliott at (517)-425-0163.

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