BRADENTON, Florida. – Dave Parham was the kind of guy everyone looked up to. His family and friends say he has helped countless people in the community, fixing their cars as a mechanic and taking neighborhood kids under his watch. He loved his wife Rhonda, his stepdaughter Ellie and was the best father in the world to his 8 year old son, Jase.
“He was so caring about helping everyone but himself. He always put himself last,” said Meg Ozbirn, a family friend. “To Jase, his dad was his whole world. His whole world.”
On Friday, Jase and his dad had just finished a taco lunch on 14th Street in Bradenton. They were on Dave’s motorcycle, only a few minutes from home. Ozbirn said safety was key for Dave.
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“Dave would never take him on that motorbike during rush hour. He would never travel far with him. He always made sure Jase was wearing his helmet. Jase was his whole world. He wouldn’t have done anything to put his son in danger. ,” she said.
The Florida Highway Patrol said around 1:30 a.m. a 71-year-old driver of a Kia cut in front of them and rammed them. The impact sent Dave and Jase off the bike.
Dave did not survive.
“When he was on that bike he was responsible for his life, his son’s life and the life of someone else he didn’t know. He was very aware of that. He was a man very careful,” Ozbirn said.
Jase is still recovering at Tampa General Hospital. He has a broken pelvis and the recovery will take months.
“He’s been so strong since the minute the accident happened. He’s fought and he’s been doing really well,” she said.
But even if he heals, a huge loss will remain for Jase and many others.
“Just take a minute because not only did Jase lose his dad, but I know at least a dozen little kids on this street who lost pretty much the only father figure they ever had and he was truly a hero for these kids. They looked like them,” Ozbirn said.
On February 15 at 6:30 p.m., a candlelight vigil will be held for Dave Parham at Tamiami Tacos: 6513 14th st W, Bradenton.
A Facebook fundraiser has also been launched to help pay Jase’s medical bills: https://www.facebook.com/donate/676796140424308/10228800746949886/
Soldiers say the driver of the Kia will be charged with violating the right of way. This comes with a mandatory court appearance.