Exposed handlebar grip kills 6-year-old Pullman boy in bicycle crash

Six-year-old Denny Curran should be enjoying his last few days of summer before first grade. He should be teasing his brother, splashing in the pool, giving his parents a hard time about vegetables. Instead, Denny is dead, the victim of a horrific, freak bicycle accident that could happen to your child too.

"Denny was an extraordinary child," his father Keith Curran told KHQ. "He was tender, extremely energetic. He certainly made our life more humorous."

It's been more than two weeks since Denny died, leaving his family heartsick.

"We've lost our heart," Keith said. "Denny was out heart and spirit for sure."

The summer day that would shatter the Curran family forever started out so happy. They were in the process of moving to a new home across Pullman.

"We had set up Denny's room that day so he could sleep in it that night," Keith said.

Denny and his brother Michael stayed behind at the old house to ride bicycles with buddies.

"They knew we were moving and wanted to spend time with their friends," he said. "(They) were left in the hands of a caring, trusting person."

Keith and his wife had just unpacked Denny's final box when they got the call. Denny had crashed on his bike.

"My wife collapsed and handed me the phone," he said. "For some reason, his handlebars turned 90 degrees impacting the asphalt. It impaled him in his abdomen."

The horrific accident happened in the most unassuming of intersections.

"It wasn't a hill, there was a very small incline," Keith said.

Denny was airlifted to Sacred Heart, but the damage from the handlebar was just too catastrophic for his tiny body. His parents made arrangements for their baby's final moments.

"The priest got there around 6 AM and baptized Denny, within 10 minutes he little heart stopped beating," Keith said. "I truly believe Jesus himself came for Denny."

For those Denny left behind, each stage of grief has been more painful than the last.

"Michael broke down," he said. "He misses his brother. He started bawling. They used to play all the time, they were best friends, they weren't just brothers."

A place so dark that some parents won't even allow their mind to go there is now Keith's reality.

"I feel some measure of guilt because maybe I should have caught this," he said.

But how could he? It was something so small, so minor, but in the end so deadly for his little boy.

The padding that covered one of Danny's handlebars had slid forward, leaving the razor sharp bare metal exposed. When the bike's handlebar's turned, the one side impaled him. Had the padding been there, he likely still would have been hurt, but not killed.

"I looked at the bicycle afterward," Keith said. "It was pushed forward, I don't know if that was from his body hitting it or operational use."

Either way, Keith wants a change.

"Maybe there's a device we can build for people with existing damaged grips, something that would mitigate the damage should an accident of this nature happen again," he said. "I'm going to be a force of nature to try to prevent another child being hurt."

His first step is this story, giving you, his fellow parents, the gift of life-saving advice.

"Hold your child a little tighter today, then go out to look at the bicycle they ride," he said. "Investigate the handlebars."