MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Timothy and Angela Buschert drove 13 hours from their home in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Montgomery just days after Christmas, to honor the life of their son Jaden.
The 10-year-old was hit and killed while crossing the Southern Boulevard on December 27, 2016. He was in Montgomery with his father, who works as a truck driver, heading to a job in Tallahassee, Florida. The couple said the past year has been extremely difficult without their son.
"It's been hard for us to cope," Timothy Buschert said. "Him being gone and just things that we normally do. It's been hard for us to do because he's not around. You know, especially during the holidays. It's like what do you do when you've lost someone you love so much and you've done so much together."
For his wife, Angela, the sight of cars whizzing past on the busy Southern Boulevard is hard to endure. This is her first trip to Montgomery and her first time seeing where her son was killed.
"Life isn't the same anymore," Buschert said. "He was my only child. Now, he's gone."
Jaden was crossing from the TA rest stop, across seven lanes of traffic to get to Popeyes, his favorite restaurant. A number of similar incidents have occurred on the roadway in the last few years, the most recent one just last November.
Many have complained about the road's lack of crosswalks, considering it is such a popular resting place for truck drivers as well as the site for a Greyhound bus station, with a majority of the eateries on the opposite side of the road.
The Buscherts vowed to fight until something was implemented on the roadway to make it safer to cross. The couple wrote a letter to Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange, who told WSFA 12 News the city's power is limited on the issue since the Southern Boulevard is a state-maintained highway. Timothy Buschert said he has been in contact with the Alabama Department of Transportation.
"I was told there are already things in place to get things done," Buschert said.
However, the couple said they are frustrated to hear stories of other incidents on the roadway- especially after the death of their son.
"It makes me feel very angry that the Alabama Department of Transportation have not put something in place to make it safe for people to cross this roadway when it's been this way for over 20 years," Buschert said.
ALDOT provided this response when asked for a statement on this issue:
The Buscherts said they are hopeful for change and will not stop pushing the issue until something is done.
"We vowed, as parents, that we would not stop for anything until they got something in place because we did not want to see another family suffer the way we have suffered a year now with our son being killed down here on something they could have fixed," Buschert said.
Jaden Buschert would have turned 11 last October. The couple has made t-shirts, necklaces and multiple memorials for their son. They said the greatest way to honor his life would be to create a safe way for people to cross the roadway.