On September 15, 2021, at 6:30 a.m., Blake Mulder was on his way to work, driving south on State Route 127. A semi-truck hauling 22 tons of steel was headed in the opposite direction. The coils fell off the back of the semi as Blake was passing and crushed his SUV.

He was killed on impact.

After months of investigation, it was determined that the trucker did not secure the load of steel he had picked up at a local mill. He was charged and convicted of failing to secure his load, and of vehicular manslaughter, and was sentenced to 90 days in jail (45 of those were suspended) and fined $1,500. His license was suspended for two years, and he received two years of reporting supervised probation.

Blake’s mother lost her only child, and his grandmother lost her only grandchild. Blake himself left behind two young children. “My family will never be the same,” writes his mother. “The loss of my son has left a void in my life that will never be filled. There are days the grief is unbearable as I try to find some type of normalcy. I am learning grief is forever and moving through it is like walking through quicksand.”