MANASSAS, Va. - In Prince William County, one family is turning tragedy into triumph after losing their loved one in an all-terrain vehicle accident.
Eleven-year-old Colby Smith died when he lost control while riding a dirt bike back in October. Now, for the first time Colby’s family is talking about the crash and how they plan to keep their son’s dream alive.
Smith started riding ATVs as a young child, and by 11 years old, he had a shelf full of trophies from various competitions.
Smith’s family calls the fatal crash a fluke accident -- one that fueled Colby’s Ride, an organization started to honor a young life loss far too soon.
“Safety should always come first,” said Keri Farley, Colby’s mother. “If you're riding a bike, you should be wearing a helmet.”
She said her son was wearing a helmet when he careened out of control on his dirt bike this fall. She also said he was riding an age-appropriate ATV.
Police describe it as a 2007 CR85 Honda dirt bike.
“Colby had been riding since he was six,” said Farley. “It's something that we all do together as a family that we really did enjoy.”
On October 11th, Smith struck a tree in a wooded area in Manassas and later died at a hospital.
“Colby was a giving kid,” said Zachary Smith, Colby’s father. “He always wanted to give back to the community. He was giving away his bikes to other kids in the area. So we decided to carry on his legacy and we started Colby's Ride.”
Colby’s Ride provides bicycles and helmets for underprivileged children in the community.
“Our goal is to donate 25 bikes each year,” said Smith. “One time for Christmas and one time for his birthday.”
“Which will be probably be the two hardest months for parents who lost their child,” said Katie Benjamin, Colby’s aunt.
The community’s response and support has been overwhelming.
“Thankfully, we've doubled our goal and we'll be able to donate over 50 bikes this Christmas,” said Benjamin.
“Colby was just a kind and generous and loving little boy,” said Farley.
Local businesses have also contributed to the cause.
Colby’s Ride has a 5K planned for May. Colby would have turned 12 years old on May 25.
“Colby's Ride is just the perfect extension to his life,” said his mother.
Prince William County police say under Virginia law, any person operating an all-terrain vehicle must wear a protective helmet and operators of ATVs must be at least 16 year old, though younger children may operate ATVs based on its engine power.