The mother of a 22-year-old man who died after a collision with a truck police said was driven by a 15-year-old boy insists she is not angry at the teen and that she was happy her own son enjoyed a good life.
Mason Merrill died after the scooter he was driving collided with the pickup when it turned in front of him Wednesday afternoon near Alma School Road and University Drive in Mesa.
Merrill's mother, Carrie Merrill, said she is devastated by the loss of her son, but holds no anger toward the young man accused of killing him.
"You know, life is dangerous and I'm not angry at this boy. I would hate to be in his shoes and I feel so much for his family. This tragedy has really taken more than one life," said Carrie Merrill.
She was asked if her family would pursue charges against the teen.
"No, I really don't want (charges filed)," Carrie Merrill said.
"He's got his whole life ahead of him. Why do I want to take that away from him? I don't want to take that away from him," she continued.
Witnesses told police a blue "lifted" pickup truck driven by the 15-year-old and carrying three other teens turned in front of the scooter on University Drive near Alma School Road as they were going to a fast-food restaurant.
Witnesses also said the teens got out of the truck and ran to the victim before driving away.
A Mesa police detective happened on the scene about 2:25 p.m. and alerted the police department before trying to keep the victim alive, a police spokesman said.
Witnesses gave the police officer a description of the truck and occupants, the spokesman said.
Another officer saw a truck matching the description and followed it to a house in the area of Alma School and Broadway roads.
Mesa police said the unidentified teenager only had a learner's permit to drive.
They took him and his 14-year-old sister, who was in the truck, into custody before they were released to their parents, police said.
Carrie Merrill said she heard the news on the television, but that so many accidents happen in that area she didn't really think it would involve one of her six children.
But after inquiries from family and friends, she got into a friend's car and drove to the crash site.
"As soon as I saw the scooter, I knew it was his," she said.
Police, who she said looked surprised that she was there, confirmed the victim was her son.
The teen driver is initially facing a possible failure-to-yield charge, but police said a charge of leaving the scene of a fatality and other traffic violations would be submitted to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office for consideration.
Carrie Merrill said her son was a former wrestler who also displayed talents in music and art, and had served on a mission trip to Mexico for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
She said Mason Merrill learned to draw while on his mission trip, and proved to be a quick study.
"He lived more life than most people do in a lifetime," she said.
Mason Merrill's sister, Carlie, called the incident a complete accident.
"There was no malice in it, it was just a kid," she said. "It was reckless, but are you supposed to condemn him for life for something he will regret for the rest of his life?"
Carrie Merrill said her LDS faith teaches forgiveness.
"I'd be more angry if it was a drunk driver or somebody with malice," she said. "I would be more angry, but I don't have any anger. I want this boy to use this as maybe a starting for himself, maybe do something good with his life."
The family has set up a website where you can help donate toward Mason Merrill's funeral expenses. To access it, click here.
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