By Billy Ortiz and Miriam Raftery
Photos by Billy Ortiz
Videos by Billy Ortiz and Ron Cook
January 10, 2011(Lakeside) –You could hear the rumble of big bikes for miles around yesterday in Lakeside, where the Saddle Tramps motorcycle club assembled a ride with other clubs from as far away as Phoenix, Arizona. The event was held to benefit Izaiah Wallis and his family. Izaiah, an Oceanside toddler, who was struck along with his grandfather, Abraham Verde, by a teen drunk driver on October 18th at 9 a.m. Yesterday's event raised $6,000 to help Izaiah and his family.
Thrown from his stroller, the 18-month-old tot suffered severe injury when his skull was separated from his spine. The 17-year-old driver was sentenced to the maximum penalty allowed: a term not to exceed 480 days in the juvenile court system’s youthful offender unit.
“ Izaiah has been doing great. He is now in the rehab building,” a blog post by Jacob Wallis at www.izaiahwallis.com states. “He's been really happy and making great progress towards recovery.”
The post indicates that Izaiah is making progress with a speaking valve installed by doctors. Initially, he could tolerate it only for an hour or so, but is now able to use it for most of the day—learning to breathe through his mouth instead of a “trake.” Jacob Wallis concludes, “He has a lot more movements in his legs not too big, but another step towards progress. Within about a week or two, the halo and body cast should be coming off.”
For the Saddle Tramps, Izaiah's story hit close to home. In November, five members of the club were killed and six others seriously injured during a club anniversary ride, when a speeding driver crossed the center line on an Ocotillo highway and struck the motorcyclists. After hosting fundraisers to benefit families of their own members who were killed or injured, the club heard of Izaiah's plight and decided to help out.