T.J. was very responsible and fun-loving and had a zest for life. While attending high school, T.J. got a job at Jiffy-Lube and, during his two-year tenure, never missed a day of work. T.J. enjoyed working on his cars and bullet bike; he was blessed with mechanical talents. Upon high school graduation, T.J. started working at Larry H. Miller Dodge in the Lube-Shop. T.J. was looking forward to starting their mechanic apprentice program to further his talents.
Whenever his car or bullet bike had a mechanical problem, he would not rest until he had it fixed. The Saturday before his accident, we participated with the House of Hope’s annual biker ride. On our way home, T.J. explained that his bike did not seem to be working right. During the next few nights after work, he would be out tinkering around to fix it. On Thursday evening, T.J. had discovered the problem. I came home with pizza, but he was not ready to eat. He said “I gotta take it out for a quick test drive.” The minutes passed and we began to wonder why T.J. had been gone for so long. Then came the knock on the door, it was the West Valley City Police Department and they had come to tell us about the crash.
T.J. was heading North on Bangerter Highway, crossing through 3500 South changing lanes into the right lane. As the curve approached, he realized he was going too fast and braked. Unfortunately, T.J. used the front brake pulling the bike straight and forcing it off the road and into the gravel. This caused the brakes to lock up and, at this point, the bike was out of his control.
Although he had on all the correct protection — helmet and protective riding jacket — he was killed on impact. T.J. was not a showoff; he was a very responsible motorist. It was his inexperience as a motorcycle rider that caused his crash.
We truly miss T.J. and always will. T.J.’s contagious laughter, silly jokes and smile are the things we miss the most. However, we are comforted to know he is waiting for us. In 2005, T.J. and his father attended the Promise Keepers Event. T.J. kept his member card in his wallet where his driver license should be. Two weeks prior to his death, he had lost his wallet in a public parking garage. I advised T.J. that “We have a big God,” and that the wallet would be returned with all the contents in it. About a week later, we received a knock at the door. T.J. answered, and a gentleman was there returning his wallet and all the contents in it.
Upon returning to the accident scene, his sister looked over the wall, and lying on the ground on top of some trash was a picture of Jesus. We are comforted to know that these little events happen to assure us that T.J. has returned to his loving Creator, and we will get to see him again.