To many people, the jingle of an ice cream truck stirs fond memories of childhood and the carefree months of summer. However, this sound has a different meaning for a wonderful family in Wallingford that lost their child last summer in a tragic incident.
For those that are unaware, Tristan Barhorst, who was only 10 years old, was struck and killed by an oncoming car while walking away from an ice cream truck parked on the opposite side of the road. Another unfortunate incident happened the previous summer when a young Hamden girl suffered permanent life-altering injuries after being struck under similar circumstances. These incidents, both tragic, were preventable.
In each instance, the ice cream truck did not deploy safety equipment to alert drivers of children on foot in the vicinity. School buses have such equipment and it makes sense for ice cream trucks to have similar safety features.
For this reason, I introduced a bill that will mandate such equipment and its proper use on ice cream trucks with Tristan's family in mind. This safety equipment includes common-sense items like a stop sign and flashing lights in addition to requirements on where a truck is permitted to park.
I was pleased that the legislature's Transportation Committee quickly passed this bill and it now advances to the Senate for a vote. This common-sense bill is supported by my colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
If you ever had the opportunity to meet Tristan's parents, Christi and Tyler, it's easy to see why this bill moved so quickly. Their strength and will to turn their tragedy into something positive is truly remarkable.
Like their son, Christi and Tyler want to help others. They are truly special people and raised a son who is described as courageous and compassionate. As a father, I cannot imagine the grief that comes with a loss of this magnitude. Because of Christi and Tyler, Tristan's memory will live on through the other children that this bill seeks to protect in his name.
I ask you to call your legislator to support Senate Bill 608 “Tristan's Law” so that it receives swift passage in the Senate and House to be signed into law.
Republican Paul Cicarella represents Connecticut's 34th Senatorial District, which includes Durham, East Haven, North Haven and Wallingford.