"Ride for Bryce" is a Big Success

1:57 PM, May 6, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Ride for Bryce Planned for Sunday

Bryce Buchholz

LANCASTER, NY - This weekend family and friends are honoring the memory of a Lancaster teen who was killed by a drunk driver.

Friday marked exactly one year since Bryce Buchholz, 14, was hit and killed while riding his bike with a friend on Lake Avenue.

Michael Ettipio, 24, pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter and was sentenced to one to three years in prison.

In the months following his death, his loved ones started a fundraising campaign to build a BMX bike park in his memory.

Prior to Sunday's event, they had raised $143,000 of their $200,000 goal. After the event, the family announced it had raised $180,000 and that a big boost had come from Basil Chevrolet, which donated $25,000.

In total, about 200 bikers took to Bowen Grove to ride for Bryce.

The anticipated location of the skate park is inside Keysa Park. It would have half pipes, rails, steps, everything a kid with wheels would want. 

"The community is very outstanding, I cannot think of a better community, maybe this tragedy has rallied that community closer, together than I ever imagined," said Bill Buccholz, Bryce's father.

On Sunday, the "Ride for Bryce" started at Bowen Grove at 11 a.m.  There is a one-mile family fun ride through Como Park and a 9-mile ride through the town and village. The cost to register is $15.

There was also food, raffles, live music, merchandise, and a classic car cruise.

After the ride, there was plenty of fun and games. There was plenty of orange worn because that's the color of Bryce's bike.

Meantime, Ettipio, is eligible for parole in September. 

Bill Buchholz says it is frustrating to know that Ettipio could be granted parole. Buchholz says that sentences for people convicted of vehicular manslaughter are not tough enough.

"I know he's very apologetic about what he did and he understands what he did, but it still doesn't bring my son back, and there's nothing that ever will," said Buccholz.

Ettipio had been drinking at Forestview Restaurant in Depew.
Security camera video shows him drunk and stumbling.
He drove off with a blood alcohol count three times the legal limit.

There is a pending civil suit against the restaurant that served Ettipio the alcohol.

Bryce's father says if the incident didn't happen, Bryce would've been a freshman at Lancaster High, perhaps, pursuing a career in law enforcement.

If you're interested in donating to the Buccholz family you can visit the: Fly High Ride Free Bryce website.

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