Heidi's Blog

Wednesday, April 9, 2008, 10:53 AM ( 6 views )  - Posted by Heidi
Recently through this website I met a man named Bob Brenends. I consider him a kindred spirit and a valiant warrior in the effort to right this wrong. He has made great strides in warning others of the dangers of the Rhino by sharing what happened to his eighteen year old daughter Danielle. He wrote this eloquent and heart wrenching letter to a journalist who is doing a story about the Rhinos propensity to roll over. I commend you Bob, and pray for your family daily. His letter follows:

I saw your article on the Internet. I lost my daughter, Danielle Rylea Bernard, on 11/26/2006 when the Rhino she was driving for the very first time rolled while making a low-speed turn on level ground and crushed her. She turned a mere 18 years of age just two days earlier and she was in the first quarter at the University of California San Diego where she was majoring in engineering with hopes of attending medical school upon graduation.

Three days earlier, Abbey West, a 13 year old died when the Rhino in which she was a passenger rolled while being driven by a 15 year old. Both Abbey and Dani died at Ocotillo Wells Recreational Vehicle Park southeast of Palm Springs. The same day Abbey West died, a 10 year old girl in Denton, Michigan, died when the Rhino in which she was riding rolled and killed her. This past June, 10 year old J.T. Crow died in Texas when the Rhino in which he was riding rolled and killed him. On 11/23/2007, 12 year old Ashlyn Vargas died when the Rhino in which she was riding in Paso Robles, California, rolled and killed her. Last month, two riders were killed in separate accidents at the same park, Glamis in California, in accidents involving the Rhino. On 02/28/2008, a man almost lost his leg in a Rhino accident at Ocotillo Wells. His wife wrote to me asking what she should do.

I lost my daughter. I will never see her finish college, attend medical school, become a doctor, marry or have children. Instead, I see her ashes in the birdhouse sitting in the memorial we created in our home. We are heartbroken and devastated. We cry every day. We can't 'get over it" like a lost bet. We lost our pride and joy. Our only daughter. Dani's former swim club owner established a website in Dani's honor: www.danibernard.com. Too, JT Crow's mother, Heidi, established a website in her son's honor: www.jtcrow.net. That breaks my heart.

Two months before Dani's accident, Yamaha mailed a warning to Rhino owners; however, the warning merely cautioned against sticking one's arms or legs outside the vehicle during a rollover. The warning did not advise installing doors, which may have saved Dani's life, as well as the others described here. I place notices on many websites, including YouTube, warning of the dangers. Most readers are sympathetic but not all. It won't be until a loved one is killed or injured that people will be motivated to take action -- legislation -- to address this killer of our youth.

I am a broken man, crushed at the loss of my daughter. My wife, Dani's birth mother, barely makes it through each day. Dani's brothers also suffer though in ways that may not manifest themselves until years later. We all suffer.

I appreciate your article and hope that it will draw the attention of Yamaha, who is in a position to re-design the vehicle to make it safer for all.


E. Robert Berends Jr.

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