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Family starts bridge fund at Mission Trails Regional Park in memory of their son

Max LaNial.png
Max LaNial.png
Posted at 9:05 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 00:05:06-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Back on January 29th, Max LaNail drowned while trying to cross the San Diego River at the Mission Trails Regional Park. Now his family is trying to make something beautiful out of a terrible tragedy.

The family, along with San Diego Foundation, has launched a fund to raise $2 million dollars to build a pedestrian bridge across the river. All to commemorate their son Max.

"We want to raise enough money to build a bridge that is elegant and functional, " says Max's father Ben LaNail. "We also hope to erect it promptly, or at least within two years."

Ben and his wife Laurie Yoler, say their son lost his life after making the tough decision to cross the flooded river. Ben says it was a decision no hiker should have to make.

"The fact of the matter is that Max found himself in sort of a death trap, and obviously he was very unlucky with the circumstances. We still don't know exactly what happened, but the current was so strong he ended up drowning."

Over the last decade, there had been talks of building a bridge over the river in the location of Max's drowning, but nothing ever materialized.

"There has been many complaints from the hiking clubs and mountain biking clubs, but the funds were allocated to other things."

Laurie called the area very treacherous and not safe for hiking.

"You get there and there are terribly slippery stones. The water level had gone down dramatically when I got there, but I was still to scared to cross on my own and I'm a hiker."

They now have a plan in action to get a bridge constructed, It will be an environmentally friendly bridge, and one that Max would be very proud of.

"He was someone who when he saw someone that needed help, he jumped in with all of his energy and all of his resources. So we are doing this in honor of Max."

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