A Wallingford family and lawmakers are trying to make a summer tradition safer for everyone.
“We were there. We were watching. It just happened too fast,” Tyler Barhorst said.
There was nothing Barhorst or the other parents could have done as they watched 10-year-old Tristan get struck and killed by a car after buying ice cream from an ice cream truck.
“Literally there wasn’t a car in sight until the moment Tristan was coming back crossing the road,” Barhorst said.
“This wasn’t a child who was unsupervised running across the road. He was a child who had seven parents watching him,” Christi Carrano, Tristan’s mother, said.
Tristan’s parents succeeded in advocating for passing a law in Connecticut that prohibits ice cream truck drivers from vending on the opposite side of the street.
It also states that by next summer, all ice cream trucks will have to be equipped with safety measures like flashing lights and a stop signal arm.
“I want everybody to understand it’s not just a little child who is five years old who is unsupervised who this can happen to. It can happen to anyone of us,” Carrano said.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal introduced legislation in Congress on Monday.
“What’s needed now is a national law that will provide incentives for every state to mandate warning lights, cautionary signals, cross arms,” Blumenthal said.
The bill will create incentives for states that adopt these measures.
“Every parent knows our worst nightmare is a child running into the street,” he said.
That wasn’t what happened here and Tristan's parents want to make sure something good comes from his death.
“I tried to yell to him, but it was too late,” Barhorst said.
“He wasn’t my son. He was like my best friend,” he added.