LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB) - A large group of BMX riders are honoring the passion of a local teenager who was struck and killed by an admitted drunk driver.
Under a giant orange flag that read "Ride Free," the group came to Westwood Park in Lancaster to help raise money for a BMX and skate park in Lancaster in memory of 14-year-old Bryce Buchholz.
Bryce's dad, William Buchholz, said, "It makes me proud. It really makes it worth while and to know my son didn't die in vain."
Bryce was riding his bike home in May when he was struck and killed by Michael Ettipio. Ettipio admitted driving drunk with a .24 percent BAC.
The idea that a BMX and skate park would be a good thing for the Lancaster community has been floated for some time. After Bryce was killed, the Buchholz family is pouring their efforts into making sure it does get built in their son's honor.
"Some days I just break down and cry. But most of the time I'm focusing on the skate park and the activities we've got going on here which really keeps me going," William said.
To help raise money, the local riders were joined by members of the Sunday Professional BMX team. That incudes Aaron Ross, who was a favorite of Bryce.
"They kind of all reached out to me because he was riding my bike, my signature bike," Ross said. "So they reached out to me and I was thinking, 'Man, that's a young kid. You don't want to see that happen in any way, especially like that.'"
The pros took time to sign autographs and show off their skills. And some, like Bryce's cousin Kailey Choinski, even got a few pointers.
"He said to go off the edge more, I said, 'OK. I'll try it.' It went really well. I think [the park] would be great because all the kids would have a safe place to ride and not get hurt," Kailey said.
William said they still have quite a ways to go for the bike and skate park. They need to raise about $150,000 and are only about 10 to 15 percent there. But he's still hopeful they'll break ground on the park next spring.
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