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Parents fight for speed limit reduction after son's skateboard death on Halloween

Nate Isbell
Posted at 4:40 PM, Jun 17, 2021

LA VERGNE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A mother and father advocated for the speed limit to be dropped to 20 mph in residential areas after their son’s death on Halloween.

A collage of pictures brought Janessa Perkins to tears. She cherishes the moments she had with her son, 13-year-old Nate Isbell.

Last year, a driver struck and killed Nate while he was skateboarding with friends on Halloween night. "We miss him, and it’s just been very hard on our family," said his father Chuck Isbell.

The driver was not charged in connection to the case. Following what happened, commissioners in Rutherford County plan on lowering the speed limit to 20 mph, which is a victory for Nate’s family.

The decision passed unanimously 21-0 during a meeting Thursday night.

"There is a part of us that want justice, but that may never happen, so I have decided to take it and make something positive out of it," Perkins said.

Isbell believes people driving slower could save lives and prevent serious injuries. "[It] greatly reduces that. The speed limit in a school zone is 15 for a reason, that’s to protect children," he said.

Ideally, they would want the speed limit reduction to be statewide. "That’s the goal, is to get every county to do it," Isbell said.

They also want to help open a skate park where teens can hang out away from busy streets. "They’re just blowing through there like it’s the interstate, and it’s not," Isbell said.

Perkins hopes changing the speed limit will prevent other families from having to bury a child. "I think it would be awesome if everyone went out trick-or-treating this year and made it a good year," she said.

So far, 17 people have died in Rutherford County crashes which is up more than 20% compared to last year and 2019.