CHESTER — A 7-year-old boy died the week after his birthday when his dirt bike collided with a tractor trailer Tuesday afternoon in Chester County.
Tristan Gabriel Mericle was driving a motorized dirt bike on private property on Great Falls Road at Richburg Road when he collided with the 18-wheeler. He died at the scene of blunt force trauma, according to Chester Coroner Terry Tinker.
Officials are still investigating the cause of the crash. The truck driver was from Lancaster, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
Troopers initially listed Tristan as 8, but he turned 7 on Dec. 22, Tinker said.
His family could not be reached for comment Wednesday, although a relative who asked not to be named called Tristan a pleasant, sweet, funny and kind little boy.
Neighbors saw Tristan riding his new dirt bike in and out of his driveway just before the accident. They said they don't know if he ever saw the truck coming.
That was the (most awful) thing I've ever seen in my life, said Michael Brunson. The collision happened in front of his house, and Brunson said it shook him up.
If you have kids, you better hug them, he said.
We're people of faith, Brunson said. We believe he's in a better place but other than that, nobody wants to go through this.
- The Heralds news partner, WSOC-TV, contributed
Anna Douglas 803-329-4068