Man builds toy boxes to collect for kids in need after mom, son killed by semi

Kristi Clark and Carter Oakley
Kristi Clark and Carter Oakley (Courtesy: Facebook)

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s been nearly two years since a Franklin mother and her 10-year-old son were hit by a semi and killed on Interstate 65 in Franklin.

Kristi Clark and her son Carter Oakley got out of their car in February 2015 to help five people in an overturned SUV on the ice-covered interstate. Dash cam video showed the moments after the crash that fateful morning.

Kristi’s dad is now teaming up with the Franklin Police Department to honor his daughter and grandson, while also helping needy families out this holiday season.

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

Brad Lewis was not surprised his daughter stopped to help the victims of that crash.

“My daughter would have jumped off a bridge to help those people. I mean that literally. There was nothing that girl wouldn’t do,” Brad told News 2.

MORE: Family spent last hours sledding before mom, son killed in I-65 accident

After the tragic loss of his daughter and grandson, he decided this was the year that he would use his craftsmanship to help others.

Woodworking is his hobby, but this month he built 10 wooden toy boxes in Kristi and Carter’s honor.

“I was going to try and find 10 organizations, 10 churches and give them each a box thinking that if I spread this out, they’ll end up getting the boxes filled,” he explained.

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

Chief of Police Deborah Faulkner kept in touch with Brad and his wife Bonnie since the accident, calling to check in on them once in a while.

Brad reached out to Faulkner to see if the department would like one of the toy boxes to fill up and distribute.

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She said she didn’t hesitate to take it on as her mission.

“He asked if we knew anyone who would take one or two of the boxes, who could fill them for a deserving or needy child who may not have Christmas this year. I didn’t have to think about it very long; I suggested that the police department would take all 10 of these,” Faulker told News 2.

“I said, ‘You get them ready, you build them, and we’ll fill them full of goodies,’” the chief added.

The 10 beautiful hand-crafted boxes also have a plate attached to the lid that reads: “In memory of our daughter and grandson Kristi Clark and Carter Oakley.

Kristi Clark and Carter Oakley
Kristi Clark and Carter Oakley (Courtesy: Facebook.com)

“I spent all day out here putting those plates on. That was hard to do,” explained Brad.

Brad says the plate is a reminder to those that join in to donate are also honoring the memory of a mom and little boy.

“They may not have known Kristi and Carter personally, but they can go look them up. Other people remember not just because they were special, more special than other people, but for what they did. The unselfish act of stopping during a storm, under those conditions, stopping to help those five people in that SUV and then losing their lives over it,” he told News 2.

Chief Faulkner said Brad is not the only one looking to keep Kristi and Carter’s memory alive.

“I have to say that not only is he doing it in memory of Kristi his daughter and Carter his grandson, but so is the Franklin Police Department in their memory in the spirit of Christmas and goodwill,” she said.

To help, you can drop off new, unwrapped toys for children up to 12 years old. You can leave them in one of Brad’s toy boxes at Franklin police headquarters anytime Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Two men were indicted in Kristi and Carter’s deaths in September 2015.