MECLENBURG DISTRICT, Virginia (WRIC) – A 27-year-old father was killed in a car crash on his way to work in Mecklenburg County on Wednesday, February 16th. Now his family and friends are pushing for legislation on one common trend that they say could have been one of the causes of the crash.
The trend is called “Carolina Squats”. The family of Jodi “BJ” Uptan is devastated, saying the trend is low to squat the back of the truck and lift before crashing.
“It was absolutely awful,” Anne Taylor Kalam explained. Kalam was the future daughter-in-law of B.J. Aptan, fiancé of brother B.J. Aptana, Jonathan Aptana.
Photos that Kalam gave to 8News show that a 2005 Chevy Upton pickup truck was crumpled and destroyed on Skipvit Road, where the crash occurred early Wednesday morning.
“There was a truck, almost nothing left,” Kalam said.
She described her future brother-in-law as a man who was never mad or upset and most loved his 7-year-old boy Braden Upton.
Kalam said she remembers when her fiancé, Jonathan Upton, got a call and said his brother was gone.
“He was so upset and I didn’t expect it. So I immediately hit my feet on the floor, ”she said.
Kalam drove to the scene on Skipwit Road that morning. She said large and small parts of the truck were scattered on the roadway, covering most of the sidewalk.
“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life,” she said.
She said Uptan was driving up a hill on Skipwith Road when Virginia State Police confirmed that a 2016 Chevy pickup truck crossed the center line and crashed into Aptan’s truck.
Police told 8News that the Chevy pickup truck that crashed into the Uptan had been modified, and Kalam confirmed it was a “Carolina Squat”.
With Uptan’s family, Uptan’s girlfriend, Nicki Allman, wants to ban “Carolina Squat,” saying it could have been one of the causes of the fatal crash.
“BJ’s son doesn’t deserve to grow up in a state that has Carolina squat cars,” Kalam agreed.
Allman’s petition to ban fashion, which is illegal in only one state, has garnered thousands of signatures. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper recently banned the modification.
Kalam said it made no sense to allow dangerous fashion, which she said could play a role in why her future brother-in-law would not be at her wedding.
“Someone lost a son, someone lost a father, 7-year-old Braden Uptan. He will never have memories of his father, ”she said.
Braden’s mother, Crystal Hines, said BJ adored everyone and was also a loving parent and partner.
“If he had the opportunity to take his son hunting or fishing, he would,” Hines said. “We’ve been together for 10 amazing years that I will never have these memories forever. He could always make Braden and me smile at every opportunity. ”
Upton’s family and friends are working with delegate Otto Waxman, who has pledged to work on introducing legislation on the Carolingian Squat during the next legislative session.
“It was a tragic accident that led to his death,” Wachsman told 8News. “We have to give the family time to mourn this loss, but I commit myself to consider it further.”