Meet Zach Spoolstra.
Zachary Scott Spoolstra had dreams of what he wanted to do with his life, as many 24-year-olds do. He dreamed of marrying his beautiful girlfriend, having children, becoming an EMT, and competing in his first bodybuilding competition.
He was known for his broad and bright smile, his impressive body he had worked so hard to build, and his big heart that reached out to help others who suffered and protect those he loved.
His dreams came to an abrupt and violent end, May 6th, 2018 when a drunk driver with more than twice the legal BAC limit, decided to get behind the wheel of his SUV and drive himself home. The drunk driver must have thought nothing would happen, that he was ok to drive, or that the roads weren't busy and he could risk it, or worse, he didn't think or care.
Driving under the influence is not an accident—but a violent choice. A choice that put the drunk driver behind the wheel of a 4000 lb weapon. A choice that destroyed the lives of Zach, his family, and his friends—while the drunk driver walked away unharmed.
This is Zach's story, one of the thousands to be told, whose tragic and horrific death was the result of this 100% preventable and selfish act of driving under the influence.
BROTHER & SON
Zach was born on March 10, 1994, in Boise, ID to immensely proud parents, Susie and Rick.
Those close to him knew him by his nicknames "burrito baby" and “Toad.” His family remembers his love for pickles and his endless desire to watch “Dragon Tales.”
Although growing up he was always a handful, and often teased and taunted his younger siblings, he will be remembered for his heart of compassion and the deep love he had for his mom and family.
He loved sports and was active in basketball, football, track, and his favorite-baseball. He also loved motorcycling, on and off-road. He attended Parma grade school, middle school, and graduated from Parma High School in 2012.
Zach is remembered as always having a smile on his face. He had a big heart for the disabled or suffering. This kind-heartedness led him to work as a home health care provider and pushed him to go to school to be an EMT.
Zach had spent the night with friends, just like he had said he would. It was around 3 AM when Zach decided he was tired and ready to go home and get some rest. He drove home, enjoying the cool morning air, anxious to get in bed and get some sleep.
Police investigators say the 2002 SUV Chevrolet Blazer driven by the drunk driver Joshawa Bechtel, was headed north on Idaho Center Boulevard as Spoolstra was riding his motorcycle south. Joshawa attempted to make a left turn or a U-turn, directly into and in front of Zach's motorcycle.
There was no time to react, and Zach crashed headlong into Joshawa's vehicle, his broken body eventually succumbing to his injuries, being pronounced dead at the nearby hospital. The coroner's report listed Zach's cause of death as blunt force trauma, and the crash was ruled an accident.
This was not an accident, but a violent choice.
"She watched him walk away, completely unaware that this was the last time she would see her boy alive."
Zach Spoolstra's mother, Susie, dropped by his apartment in the evening to pick something up. She watched him come out of his apartment carrying the two dogs he loved as much as anything in this world and remembers thinking how beautiful he looked.
"I'm just gonna go hang with friends tonight," Zach replied when asked about his plans.
"Please be careful, baby!" Susie said intuitively, trying to ignore the nagging worry she was feeling.
"I love you momma, and I'm going to be ok," Zach said smiling, trying to comfort his worried mother, as he leaned in for a hug.
"I love you!" Susie said holding onto Zach and kissing his cheek before they said their goodbyes and she got back into her car to go home.
Susie watched him walk away, completely unaware that this was the last time she would see her boy alive.
This was not an accident, but a violent choice.
OF ONE CHOICE
" The day before the accident was a perfect day...we had celebrated my daughter graduating from NNU with honors. It was a day for reconciliation for Zach and his sister Michaela, who had been struggling to get along for about a year and a half..."
"Today I stand on behalf of my brother Zachary Scott Spoolstra, and in honor of his spirit that is in this room with us today watching and listening. The unjust, unnecessary death of my brother Zach that was caused by Joshawa's lack of responsibility and demeanor, could have been and should have been prevented..."
"I am a Marine in the United States Marine Corps. I realized when I enlisted that I was putting my life potentially at risk for something bigger than myself. My family, and especially my mom, supported my decision, although it terrified them to consider that my life could be lost..."