Lubbock Family Urges Drivers To Use Safety - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/18/08

Lubbock Family Urges Drivers To Use Safety

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A Lubbock family faces the tragic and unexpected loss of their 20-year-old son and they urge drivers to use safety when on the road.

Shealon Penland died just before 5a.m Saturday morning after his motorcycle hit a parked vehicle. Police responded to the 4400 block of 31st Street just before 2 a.m. Saturday morning to find Penland's body thrown off his bike. EMS rushed Penland to UMC where he later died.

On Sunday, Newschannel 11 sat down with Penland's family and friends. "We're not promised another day and if you have children regardless of what they're doing love them, protect them as much as you can," Travis "Eddie" Penland, Shealon's father said.

 To show their love, Shealon family wears Coronado's colors."You can see I am wearing his senior jersey. He loved football," Shauna Penland said.

The 20-year-old graduated from Coronado High School a year ago and was interviewing for jobs. However, as a Mustang, Shealon wore number 56 on the football field. His mother Shauna says he loved the game, friends, family and motorcycles.

"His friends and his motorcycles were his pride and joys," Shauna said.

Instead of joy, Shealon's street bike early Saturday morning brought him and his family a world of pain.

"We heard the loudest crash about 2 o'clock in the morning," Cindy Graves said. Graves lives across the street from where Shealon crashed. Upon hearing it, Graves says she rushed outside.

"Where the van is, his motorcycle was crushed up on the side of that, but we couldn't find him. Then we looked down and here was his body right here," Graves said.

Investigators say Shealon hit the tow truck. Shealon's body was thrown and ended up across the street, where family and friends have now left crosses, flowers and pictures to remember Shealon's life.

These women have never met. However, Sunday afternoon as Graves recalled how she tried to help Shealon, his grandmother listened. "Thanks you for helping him," Shealon's grandmother said to Graves.

 "We were at a party over at a friend's house, we were all hanging out over there," Aaron Hill said. Roommates and childhood friends, Hill says he told Shealon he was leaving the party and asked if he wanted to ride with him.

"I asked him to come with me and he said he wanted to stay there and he'd meet me at home. He never came back," Hill said.

As for what caused Shealon to crash his bike Saturday morning, family and Hill say they do not know. However, what is not at question is if Shealon had his safety gear on.

"The police man that came in and told us he had been killed said that he had his riding jacket on," Shauna said. "We made a pack to that we'd never get on the bikes without our helmets without our gear on," Hill said.

"If Shealon were alive he'd want to tell all his friends that have bikes to use safety because he loved his friends," Shauna added.

Family members are setting up a memorial fund to help with funeral expenses. We will let you know when that is set up. Police says Penland did have a helmet on when he crashed.  We are told an autopsy is set for Monday morning.  

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