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Hiker's parents participate in first meeting to push for bridge at at Mission Trails where son died

Posted at 5:59 AM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 19:57:54-05

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) -- The parents of the hiker who tragically lost his life in a freak accident on Mission Trails last January are moving forward with their plans to push for a bridge where their son died.

On Tuesday night, Max Lenail's parents, Ben Lenail and Laurie Yoler, presented before the Mission Trails Regional Park Citizen's Advisory Committee, introducing themselves to the committee and asking for their cooperation to make a bridge in the area a reality.

Max Lenail was just 21 years old when he went for a run at Mission Trails in late January. His parents say he slipped and drowned while trying to cross the San Diego River. The river was swollen by recent storms days before the accident.

Documents show a bridge in the area had been discussed for 10 years but those plans never happened.

Ben Lenail and Laurie Yoler shared Max's pictures during Tuesday's meeting asking the committee to join them in their fight to get a bridge built. The project would need to be authorized, and at least partially funded, by the city of San Diego. The family says they've received an outpouring of support from the community and many have asked about where they can donate to help build that bridge.

During the meeting, members echoed the need for a bridge but pointed out several steps necessary to make sure everything is done with the proper environmental studies and permits in place.

The family has been in touch with Councilman Raul Campillo about the bridge project. On Tuesday night, Campillo sent ABC 10News the following statement: “While there’s much more work to be done, I am very encouraged by what I heard at the meeting this evening. I continue to support Max Lenail’s family and appreciate their perseverance.”

The family plans on presenting their design and cost estimates to the Mission Trails Regional Park Task Force in two weeks, but ultimately needs the city to approve and move forward with the project.