Chaz Groat, 17
West Valley City, UT
Friday, December 31, 2020, started off as a normal day, but subsequently turned into the worst day of our lives. Chaz left the house early afternoon to meet a friend for lunch. He was full of life and extremely happy as he walked out the door saying: “Love you! See you later!”
We had just gotten home from a bowling tournament in Las Vegas the night before, and ironically, during the drive home, we discussed driving habits more in depth as Chaz recently bought a new car. We discussed increased insurance costs related to speeding violations, getting in a wreck, etc. More so, how a few moments of adrenaline from speeding, or the consequences from aggressive or distracted driving wasn’t worth his life. Or as we stated many times, “people who get in your car put their lives in your hands.” I told him our worst nightmare was seeing him in jail, the hospital, or morgue due to a bad driving decision. Regardless of how much we talked to him, he would always tell us, “Don’t worry! I’m a good driver.”
Less than 24 hours later, our nightmare became a reality when a police officer knocked on our door at 3:15 that afternoon. He told us Chaz was in a bad car accident and had been rushed to the hospital in critical condition. I fell to the floor. By the time we arrived at the hospital, he was basically gone due to a traumatic brain injury. The root cause of the accident appears to be speeding around a corner and losing control of the car, which resulted in him swerving into oncoming traffic and colliding into another vehicle at an excessive speed. With his decision to speed, he paid the ultimate price by losing his life and injuring the other driver.
To any teenager who may be reading this, your parents aren’t just nagging at you, or trying to control you. You are at a point in your life where you start to gain more freedoms. We are merely just trying to make you understand the consequences of bad decisions. Obey the laws and rules of the road! They are there to protect you and others from being injured — or worse, a tragic loss. As grieving parents, please listen! Don’t be a Chaz — your life depends on it.
For only being 17, Chaz made a huge impact on those around him. He was known by his sense of humor and quick wit, but mostly by his goofiness. He loved making people laugh and was someone who would light up a room whenever he entered. He had a way of cheering people up, even during the most difficult times. Even in death, Chaz continued giving to others by choosing to be an organ donor. Chaz is talked about constantly and will always be remembered. The void we (parents), family and friends feel will never go away. We love and miss him so very much!