Teen's father 'couldn't ask for a better kid'
BY RHETT MORGAN World Staff Writer
Feb 16, 2009
2/16/09 at 8:53 PM
OWASSO — A 14-year-old boy who was killed Sunday when he was trying to cross highway traffic was a responsible boy who was still coping with the 2004 death of his mother, the teen’s father said.
Three vehicles struck Jesse Goering as he tried to cross four-lane U.S. 169 at night with a friend, who was uninjured, Owasso police said. Jesse died at the scene.
“He was an awesome kid,” Kim Goering of Owasso said of his son. “You never had to tell him to do his homework. He kept his grades at A’s and B’s, even after he lost his mom.”
Jesse was with Vicki Goering, 39, when she died of a heart attack at a Wal-Mart in December 2004, Kim Goering said.
“He had been through a lot,” Goering said of his son, who suffered from mild depression. “He missed his mom. He was very close to his mom because I was a truck driver on the road. I was home weekends, but I wasn’t home during the week much.”
The accident occurred just before 7 p.m. Sunday in the northbound lanes of U.S. 169 between 76th and 86th Streets North, said Scott Chambless, Owasso deputy police chief.
The speed limit is 65 mph. The average daily traffic count on the highway about a mile south of the crash site is more than 56,000, according to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
Judging from the preliminary investigation, “I think it was one of the situations where the vehicles really didn’t have any ability to see what was about to happen and didn’t have a chance to stop,” Chambless said.
Jesse, who lived nearby, and a buddy were heading to a friend’s house at the time of the accident, police said. His father was at work.
Goering had come off the road the past six months and was working a 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. shift at a local truck driving job, he said.
“I had to leave him at home all night by himself, and he didn’t have a problem with that,” his father said. “He was very grown up for 14, very grown up.”
Jesse told his father that his friend’s grandmother was going to pick them up and take them to a friend’s house for a belated Valentine’s dinner.
“Evidently, their plans changed,” said Goering, who said he had lectured them on not crossing the busy highway on foot.
“They had been told not to do what they did, but they’re teenagers. They’re invincible,” he said.
A plastic fence, which stands roughly 4½ feet tall, borders each side of U.S. 169 in that area.
“We do have a problem with people crossing the highway,” Chambless said. “Obviously, this is a concern for us.”
Pedestrians are able to cross the highway nearby at underpasses at 76th and 86th streets.
“The best thing I can do at this point is to truly caution people that this is never a safe endeavor,” Chambless said. “This is a very dangerous highway — high speed, high volume of traffic. Automobiles and pedestrians on this highway are just not a good mix.”
The drivers of two vehicles that struck the boy stopped, police said. The third vehicle’s driver, who left the scene Sunday, reported to police Monday morning, saying he was unaware that he had hit someone, Chambless said. A report on the collision will be forwarded to the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office.
In comments written on the tulsaworld.com site, Taylor Jones described himself as the best friend of Jesse, a ninth-grader at the Owasso Mid-High School.
“I feel that he was a very good friend and was a great person,” Jones wrote Monday in an e-mail to the Tulsa World. “He was happy and nice. It was a tragic thing that he died so soon.”
Jesse listened to all kinds of music, played video games and liked to mess around on the Internet, his father said. He was taking computer classes at school and making strides with his depression, Goering said.
“He was starting to recover from that, and he was doing very well,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for a better kid.”
Shown at 81st Street North, a white plastic fence stretches north along U.S. 169 in Owasso. Trying to cross the federal highway Sunday night, Jesse Goering, 14, of Owasso, was killed when he was struck by three cars, police said. RHETT MORGAN/Tulsa World