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Honoring Carmen: Grandparents ready for 100-mile memorial motorcycle ride

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Carmen Ellis was just 3 years old when she died.

For the last several years, her grandparents have ridden motorcycles in her honor.

On Saturday, they’re set to get on the road again, but a little differently this year.

This last year for Tina Smith and her husband was not easy.

“Its been tough, but it’s been filled with so many blessings,” said Tina Smith, Carmen’s grandmother.

Tough, because on Aug. 3, 2019, they had finished doing the preride for their late granddaughter’s memorial. As they headed home on their motorcycles, they pulled over on a road shoulder near Knightstown.

“A woman had come from the left lane, through the right lane and hit us. Got us both. As soon as I saw her hit him, I tried to jump off my bike but did not make it.” Smith said.

Tina and her husband each had to have a leg amputated.

Turns out, Tina says, the other driver looked at a cellphone for just a second.

Now, the Smiths are set to be on the road again, in a car this time, for Carmen’s annual memorial motorcycle ride. Tina says her granddaughter, Carmen, was 3 years old when the boyfriend of the child’s mother killed Carmen back in 2012.

“She was an amazing little girl. So happy. So full of life. Unfortunately, this man was let in her life that beat her to death and I wanted, from the beginning. I wanted to honor her.” Smith said.

The ride is about 153 miles, Tina said, with stops at American Legion locations in Indiana. Followed by drawings, auctions and raffles.
Money raised goes to Lutheran Child & Family Services, to help stop child abuse.

“We have to protect our children. We have an obligation that if we know about something, then we need to say something, even if it turns out to be wrong. It’s better to be wrong than to miss it and a child dies again,” Smith said.

The ride will start and end at The American Legion Post 495 on East 38th Street in Indianapolis. Kickstands will go up and the ride will begin at 10:30 Saturday morning. It’s $20 per motorcycle and $5 per passenger. More information on the event is online.