Gone but not forgotten

Community honors YHS senior taken too soon in car accident, multiple fundraisers planned to help Silva family

Communities are coming together to honor the life of a Yukon High School student.

Matthew J. Silva, a 17-year-old YHS senior and band member, died Friday due to a car accident at Britton and Piedmont Roads on his way to school.

He also had another band member, Nick, as his passenger.

“Nick was Matt’s true brother,” Matt’s father James Silva said.

Officers were dispatched at 6:20 a.m. Friday.

Matt was going west bound on Britton road in his black Hyundai and came up to the stop sign on Britton at Piedmont Road. A semi-truck was going north on Piedmont road when Matt pulled out in front of the semi-truck driver, who didn’t have a stop sign. The semi-truck hit the driver’s side of the Hyundai.

The police report states that “the vehicle was pushed through the intersection and departed the roadway to the west. The car rolled, at least once, before coming to rest. The [semi-truck] had 159 feet of skid marks prior to impact, it looks like,” said Travis Vernier, officer of the Oklahoma City Police Department.

“Just looks like they didn’t have enough time,” he added.

There’s a stop sign on east and west bound Britton Road, but there is no stop sign going north or south on Piedmont Road. There are flashing signals that are “just warning drivers there is an intersection ahead, but there’s no actual stop sign,” Vernier said.

Vernier said he couldn’t say if the student floated through the stop sign, but he didn’t yield at the stop sign. Even if he stopped, he didn’t have the right of way. The report indicates that the driver of unit two, the semi-truck, made no improper action.

Nick had minor injuries, including a concussion and a fractured collarbone. The semi-truck driver had no injuries.

“Nick is hurting too,” James said. “Not just on the inside, but physically, and that’s important to know.”

Vernier said he’s compiling a list of the number of accidents that have taken place at the Britton and Piedmont Roads intersection. This is the fourth accident at that intersection this year.

Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth released a statement on social media late Friday afternoon.

“Yukon is a very caring environment and when anyone in our family hurts we all hurt,” the statement read.

The release states that two students were involved in an accident and they were not driving in a manner that was unsafe, but merely trying to get to school for band practice.

“The accident claimed the life of a young man with an outstanding future. Our prayers and thoughts are with the family at this time of grief and sorrow,” it read. “Suffering the loss of a loved one is never easy, but it is particularly hard when it is a child, a vibrant, talented young man. We are all so sorry that what promised to be an exciting senior year has been so quickly overshadowed by tragedy.

“Yukon has lost a leader in the school and band programs, every student involved with the band organization is saddened by his loss but are better for having known him. Words cannot express the feelings of compassion for the family and on behalf of his classmates and our district this evening as we offer our prayers and condolences to this wonderful family.”

Matt played the tuba on the field, but also played the trumpet.

“They’re truly just a band of brothers,” James said. “There’s one girl involved, but everywhere they went, they went together. When there was late practices, they would all come over here to Matt’s house and get something to eat and play some games before going back to evening practice.”

Yukon Band came together to pray on the field before practice Monday morning. The Yukon Band Boosters is also hosting a Meal Train for the Silva family. The Meal Train allows people to sign up to deliver dinner to the Silva family at their home. The meals will benefit Matt’s parents, Beatrice and James, and his sister, Lauren. The link is on the The Pride of Yukon Band Boosters Facebook page or can be found at www.mealtrain.com/trains/zq8mv6.

Yukon Band Boosters is paying for tribute shirts for all the band members, directors and the Silva family that say “#SilvaSmiles.” Others can order the shirt. Any orders placed will directly benefit the Silva family to help pay for hospital or funeral costs. A link should be on the Band Boosters Facebook page soon. They are also trying to work on setting up a fund for people to donate to the Silva family through the Band Boosters, which is a nonprofit, so it would be tax exempt and help the family out. They are asking for donations in lieu of flowers.

“The boy loved band and the band loved him,” said Carol Sommer, Yukon Band Boosters secretary. “We’re going to do everything we possibly can to show our love.”

Yukon Band will also be paying a tribute to Matt at Friday night’s Yukon vs. Mustang game during halftime. The Silva family will be at the game.

Mustang Band offered to serve in the concession stands during halftime so Yukon Band parents are able to watch the tribute performance, Sommer said.

Mustang Band also collected snacks, water bottles, money and gift cards at Monday night’s practice to split between the two students’ families, as well as teamed up with Piedmont Band to gather items and help support the other student’s family in this difficult time.

“We’re happy to help, we just want the spotlight to be on them and their families,” said Christie Combs, Mustang Band Booster president.

Sommer said Broken Arrow Band has also reached out to show their support and send flowers, and Ardmore Band is wearing Matt’s favorite color, which was green.

Megan and Jason Burge of Rolling Café food truck are going to give 10 percent of their sales from tomorrow’s Rock the Route to the Silva family, as well as have a donation bucket in the serving window.

Nick’s mom, Christy, also set up a GoFundMe account to help with Matt’s medical bills.

“Matt was a friend, brother, and a son. He had an amazing smile and a way about him that could brighten the room and make anyone laugh,” the GoFundMe description reads.

To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/2m9r6wjk.

“[Christy] is an awesome woman. We haven’t got anything from the hospital yet, but I can only imagine,” James said. “Our family is so touched by the community—our neighbors, our friends, our family—for going above and beyond. We’ve felt so blessed.

“As a father, I’m so proud that my son touched so many people’s lives in some way and that he’s well remember and he was well-loved. It’s just an amazing community, school, friends—we’ve had so much outpouring. It will take the rest of a lifetime, but I will be thanking every one of them for what they’re doing.”

Sommer said there’s truly been a sense of unity and concern all around.

“It’s very touching,” she said. “I can’t even begin to tell you the number of calls and texts that I’m fielding and getting of people wanting to offer help, and that is what is truly getting the family through this. Just knowing Yukon, and surrounding areas, are doing a great job as a community.”

Matt was an organ donor so that process takes some time.

“Now other people have a chance and that gets to be part of his legacy,” James said. “But that’s Matthew for you.

“[His parents] are precious people and their son was an awesome kid,” she added. “His organ donation was his last heroic act and helped save at least four lives and maybe even more.”

Funeral Services for Matt are at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Covenant Community Church, 2250 Yukon Pkwy. Graveside services will follow at Chapel Hill Memorial Garden.

James said they wanted the funeral to be on Saturday so it didn’t get in the way of Yukon Band’s first performance of the year because Matt wouldn’t have ever wanted that.

“Matt was something truly special,” James said. “He always had a smile for everybody. When people get around talking about Matt, you’re either laughing, or smiling or crying because he was such a great kid.”

3 Comments

  1. Curtis on August 31, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    This is a great article! One correction though, the hashtag being used is #smile4silva.

  2. Michele on September 1, 2016 at 8:00 am

    I am so sorry for ur loss. My son is a senior at Yukon also, said he had ur son in a class sophomore yr. He didn’t really know him but remembers him. My prayers go out to u and ur family. I can’t imagine the pain u feel but I believe God will help u through this time. I just wanted to give my condolences. May God be with you!

  3. Susan Burger on September 1, 2016 at 10:30 am

    I am so sorry to see another young life taken. My son, Landon, attended YHS previously and was also killed in a car accident his senior year. I belong to a non-profit support group called The Compassionate Friends. We are a group that have lost children, sibling, or grandchild. It has helped me on my grief journey so wanted to afford the help to anyone that needs it.

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