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Rutherford County parents honor son by making streets safer for pedestrians

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Posted at 9:04 PM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 23:22:04-04

Slow down and stay alert — that's the message from one Rutherford County family to drivers across the Mid-State this Halloween weekend.

Last Halloween, 13-year-old Nate Isbell was hit and killed by a speeding driver while he was skateboarding with friends on Powell's Chapel Road. Investigators believe the driver that hit Nate was traveling 43 miles per hour and the speed limit was 35 miles per hour.

Ever since, his parents have been honoring his memory by working to improve safety for pedestrians in residential areas.

"I miss his laughter," said Janeesa Perkins, Nate's mom. "He was a funny kid. He was kind, sweet and humorous."

Nate was a student at Rock Springs Middle School. His parents say he loved comic books and superheroes and enjoyed the guitar. He was always willing to help others.

The parents lobbied the Rutherford County Commission to lower the speed limit to 25 miles per hour in residential areas on Halloween night. Commissioners unanimously passed the resolution in June.

"It's a resolution to remind drivers it's Halloween night, children are out, slow down," said Perkins.

"The survival rate of being hit at 25 miles per hour is 90%," said Chuck Isbell, Nate's dad. "At 40 miles per hour, it is 10%. Nate was hit going at 43 miles per hour."

Besides fighting for lower speed limits, they created yard signs reading "Keep a Kid Alive. Drive 25." The signs were distributed to people across the community.

Chuck Isbell has also teamed up with Walk Bike Nashville to promote safety on the roads. He is encouraging people to sign a petition to lower the speed limit to 25 miles per hour all the time in residential neighborhoods.

This Halloween will be an emotional one for the Isbell family. They plan to have a bonfire on Halloween night with family members and close friends. They will have a moment of silence at the time Nate was killed, but don't want the night to have a somber feeling.

"We want to make a better memory of Halloween, so we don't always think of this tragedy," said Perkins.

To learn more about the petition with Walk Bike Nashville, or to sign, click here.