“A Speeding Driver Changed My Life, Now I’m on a Mission”

My son’s infectious smile and positive spirit touched anyone he encountered. I’m sure every mother feels this way about their child, but Ryan Christian Davis was the real thing.

(Photo Credit: Aziza King)

By Aziza King

 My son’s infectious smile and positive spirit touched anyone he encountered. I’m sure every mother feels this way about their child, but Ryan Christian Davis was the real thing.

Ryan was my only child and the absolute light of my life. That light was dimmed forever when I received a call every parent dreads. On April 28, 2021, the lives of Ryan and his girlfriend, Asia Boatwright, were cut short by an intoxicated driver involved in a police chase. Their car was t-boned at a speed of over 80 mph, 45 mph over the speed limit.

The previous night, while watching the news, I ironically saw images of the mangled car. The story touched my heart, and I immediately said a prayer for the couple killed, not realizing I was praying for my son. I went to work the next morning still not knowing until I received a call. I soon learned Ryan was alert after the accident and was able to call for help. Asia was killed instantly. For forty-seven minutes, my son anguished in pain waiting for help. He died in transit to the hospital from internal injuries. 

(Photo Credit: Aziza King)

My son died at the age of 27, ten days before his birthday. Ryan was so talented, and full of love and ambition. After graduating from Gahr High School in Cerritos, CA, he began working with me, helping to oversee our real estate property management company. He possessed exceptional skills in the kitchen and had plans to start a catering truck and business. So many dreams that he was cheated of because of someone speeding and driving under the influence (DUI).

The individual responsible for the deaths of my son and Asia was speeding, running from the police with no consideration for the danger he presented. This person had prior convictions for fleeing or attempting to elude a pursuing peace officer and a drug offense. I was confident this would mean he would receive a sentence that reflected his repeat offenses. But I was wrong.

In addition to grieving for my loss, I had to accept that the person who killed my son was able to plead no contest to one count of murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony evading while driving recklessly. He received 26 years and will be eligible for parole in 17 years and seven months. On top of receiving a sentence that did not match the crime, this individual showed no remorse and made no statement, making no apologies and taking no accountability.

This was incredibly hard to accept. I was angry and determined to do something to help bring awareness to the alarming rise of deaths due to speeding and DUI, so I became a traffic safety advocate, working with SAFE, Streets Are for Everyone, to make streets safer for people. Through SAFE, we support loved ones and victims of traffic crimes and work to eliminate preventable injuries and death.

 I am determined to keep my son’s memory alive and ensure positivity will come from this nightmare. Every year since Ryan’s death, our family and friends celebrate his birthday on May 8 with a balloon release at his gravesite. We laugh, cry, hug, reminisce and comfort each other, honoring Ryan and the positive impact he made on our lives. I am also in the beginning stages of starting a non-profit in honor of Ryan that will be dedicated to raising awareness about the dangerous and destructive consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, encouraging people to stop and think before making a decision that could result in injuries or death.

In less than a minute, two innocent lives were lost. Through the profound loss of my only child, I continue to put my faith in God who has empowered me with purpose in my life to be an advocate for DUI, speeding and overall traffic safety. I continue to share my story because it humanizes the importance of thinking before you get behind the wheel in a way that is sometimes lost with just words. I take it one person at a time; if something I say impacts one person then my son’s death will not have been in vain.

For more information and resources on speeding, please visit http://www.gosafelyca.org/.