AS MOST households prepare for Christmas, a devastated Port Elizabeth family is planning the funeral of a five-year-old boy who was run down while riding on his skateboard.
Waylin Paulus was knocked down, allegedly by a 47-year-old man, on the corner of St Jude and Loonat streets in Bethelsdorp Extension 32 at 1pm on Saturday.
According to Waylin’s family, they received the tragic news of his death shortly after he had left the house with two friends to play outside.
Waylin’s heartbroken father, Brendon Welman, 37, said he was still in shock and could not believe his youngest son was dead.
“Ever since I got the news, I have been walking around with his favourite sweater. I still cannot believe it. I do not want to believe it,” he said.
Welman described Waylin as “the sweetest boy” who was loved by the community.
“This is something I will never get over,” he said.
“He was so close to me and every morning and every night before bed he would come to me wanting a kiss and a hug.
“He did that with everyone. He was so loving and affectionate.”
Waylin’s paternal grandmother, Catherine, said Christmas had always been his favourite time of the year.
“He loved the Christmas tree so much and was very excited. I never imagined that we would lose him because he was so looking forward to it [Christmas].
“This time of year will never be the same for us because it will always be a reminder of his death.”
She had planned to take Waylin and his brother, Wayvin, 12, shopping today for new Christmas outfits.
Welman said details of the incident were still sketchy but they had been told by the police that the driver of the vehicle had allegedly been under the influence of alcohol.
“I was sleeping at the time when my father woke me up and told me that a child had come to tell him what had happened.
“When we got to the scene, the driver was not there and the skateboard that the children were playing with was missing.
“I do not want to speculate, but if I had been driving a vehicle I would have rather driven into a wall or pavement to avoid hitting a child.
“I would have done anything to avoid killing a child.
“I cannot imagine the pain he [Waylin] must have felt. I only wish I had been there so I could have thrown myself in the way to save my child,” he said.
The alleged driver’s family had visited them yesterday morning to offer their sympathies.
“They offered their condolences and prayed here but there was nothing further.
“We still do not know what happened,” the distraught dad said
Police spokesman Warrant Officer Alwin Labans confirmed that a 47-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the incident on charges of drunk-driving and culpable homicide.
The man will appear in court soon.
South Africans Against Drunk Driving (SADD) member and Port Elizabeth father Nigel Fox said he could understand what Waylin’s family were going through as he had lost his son, Vaughan, 26, in March 2006 as a result of a drunk driver.
“He was on his way home when he was killed by a man who was four times over the legal limit,” Fox said.
“Also our judiciary is not where it should be because the man who killed my son walked away with a R10000 fine.
“My son was 26 but this boy was only five, and he did not even begin to live his life yet.”
He said he had given talks at a number of schools, including Grey High which his son had attended, about the dangers of drunk- driving.
“When you get off that bar stool and get into your car to drive and then kill someone, you should go to jail.
“You cannot put a price on someone’s life.
“SADD firmly believes that when someone is killed by a drunk driver it is not an accident, but deliberate.”
Fox said South Africa needed to take a firmer stance against drunk-driving, as the authorities did overseas.
“My wife meets with a number of moms and you will be amazed how many families in Port Elizabeth have lost someone due to drunken driving. It is due to absolute lawlessness.” – Lee-Anne Butler