KNOXVILLE - Tomas Skyler Ledford died after falling from "The Bluffs" off of Cherokee Trail in June of 2016, and now his mother is doing her best to ensure no one else has to experience the same tragedy.
Ledford's friends and family met for a memorial at the bluffs on his birthday to reflect on his life and raise awareness for safety at the popular hangout. He was born on Mother's Day 26 years ago.
"When we first arrived, there were four young kids sitting out on the bluff past the barrier fence drinking champagne," Ledford said. "They asked us if we were about to have a party. I said 'not the kind of party that you're thinking.'"
Ledford told the people about her son's accident and hopes that they'll learn from her loss. She wants to see the city take stronger safety actions to prevent accidents at the bluffs area.
"I want more permanent barriers up. I think it would be helpful to have better signs up," Ledford said. "They need to be patrolling more."
Knoxville's public works director said the current safety measures in place at the River Bluff Wildlife Area are sufficient.
"We feel like signage and appropriate barrier systems like what's up meets the needs currently, but we're always looking at ways to keep our parks safe," Brace said. "Like anything, you can have as many rules and signs and fences in place, but people still have to make good decisions."
Brace said the current fence works to alert people to the cliffs, but Ledford wants a barrier that people can't get past and wants young people to be more aware of how to respond when accidents happen.
"I want kids to understand it's ok to call 911. Even if you're scared, even if you're afraid that something's going to get you in trouble, please do not hesitate to call 911," Ledford said. "It literally is a matter of life and death."
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