BURKBURNETT (KFDX/KJTL) — If you were at Bulldog Stadium in Burkburnett on Friday night, you may have noticed a wrecked car parked out front.
A man who lost his son in a street racing accident put his son’s car on display to educate others.
“You think you would have an idea of how awful it would be, you multiply by that by about 1,000, there’s some days where I just can’t function,” Jeremiah Sypula’s father Jason Sypula said.
Jason Sypula is having to learn how to live without his 17-year-old son Jeremiah.
“He was supposed to be grounded for grades, but him and our other daughter, they wanted to go to the park,” Sypula said.
Jeremiah didn’t go home after leaving the park.
“The boys decided they were going to race and from what we were told by the kids, they didn’t even get to the race, Jeremiah went back into Burk, got some gas and then he was just showing off I guess,” Sypula said.
Jeremiah let his sister out of the car, before going about 90 miles per hour and coming upon an “S” curve on FM 240, about 12 miles west of Burkburnett.
He lost control and flipped several times.
“One of his last words was to keep his sister away from the accident, even though he was hurt really bad he was still thinking about her which is kind of a testament to his character, that was the kind of kid he was,” Sypula said.
Jeremiah died of internal bleeding.
“I don’t think that was on my son’s mind and I don’t think it’s on kids’ minds,” Sypula said. “They don’t think it could happen to them.”
Sypula went to the Burkburnett High School principal asking to do something.
That’s when Alex Koulovatos, or Coach K, a drivers ed teacher, stepped up.
“Jeremiah was such a good kid and so when it happened it was pretty quiet at school, everybody was pretty upset but it sparked an interest in my students of finding out why,” Burkburnett HS coach and drivers ed teacher Alex Koulavatos said.
He also decided to assign his classes to make a brochure on the dangers of speeding, reckless driving and street racing.
“My classes came up with what not to do and what to do when your tires go off the roadway,” Koulavatos said.
Coach K then took his students to see the car, to show something like this is possible.”Here’s the key, they knew Jeremiah so this wrecked car became more important to them than just a wrecked car,” Koulovatos said.
A lesson that’s personal for Burkburnett students.
One even more personal for Jason Sypula who chooses to look at the car so other families don’t have to face the same heartache.
“I don’t really want to do this, but I feel like I need to otherwise he died in vain,” Sypula said.
Coach K said this is not just a teenage situation, it’s a lesson for all.
Sypula said if he has to buy a trailer and bring the car to other schools who want to teach their students the dangers of reckless driving, he’ll do it for his best friend and son Jeremiah.