Niki and Todd Colvin reflect on the life of their son, 13-year-old Shayden Colvin, who passed away last weekend after a driver hit him on his bike and failed to remain at the scene. (Liam James Doyle/Naples Daily News)
Wrapped in a blanket, a stuffed toy pig in her lap, Niki Colvin sat on the floor in the hallway of NCH Baker Hospital Downtown early Saturday, reciting the same words over and over.
Her youngest son, Shayden Colvin, was fighting for his life in a nearby hospital room. The mother just wanted to be as close as possible to the 13-year-old while she repeated phrases she often exchanged with him.
"I'd say, 'I love you.' He'd say, 'I love you more.'
"I'd say, 'I love you most.' And he'd say, 'I love you more than the most,' ” Niki Colvin, 45, said Wednesday, sitting in the yard behind her East Naples home, clutching the same stuffed toy pig, “Jack” — Shayden’s favorite.
For hours, she repeated the loving mantra to herself while Todd Colvin, Shayden’s father and her ex-husband, paced the hallway, waiting for a door to open, longing for any morsel of good news.
It was early Saturday. Hope was keeping them awake.
Hours earlier, about 10:50 p.m., Friday, Nov. 10, Niki Colvin was driving home from work while on the phone with Shayden as he rode his red bicycle back to his home after a trip to 7-Eleven.
He’d bought a Coke, his favorite drink, and was cycling home to be back by his 11 p.m. curfew.
Headphones in his ears, Shayden told his mother about his day as he approached the crosswalk at Lakewood Boulevard and Estey Avenue, less than half a mile from his home.
Then Shayden’s voice turned to panic.
“He said, ‘Oh, no. No, no, no,’ ” Niki Colvin recalled. “And then his phone went dead. And that was when he was hit.”
Authorities said Pedro Silva-Diaz, 33, was driving home from work, heading north on Lakewood Boulevard and approaching the stop sign at Estey Boulevard when his 2015 Toyota Tundra pickup turned left onto Estey Boulevard and hit Shayden.
Silva-Diaz told deputies he thought he hit a nail. Authorities said he continued driving and was stopped by deputies at Green and Sunshine boulevards about 10 minutes later after a witness to the crash called 911 and gave dispatchers the Toyota’s license plate.
The bulky pickup mangled Shayden’s wiry 5-foot-10 frame, fracturing 14 ribs. His diaphragm was crushed. Doctors later had to remove about half of his right lung.
When Niki Colvin tried to call Shayden back and didn’t get answer, she phoned his older brother, Parker, 19, and asked him to find Shayden.
As Niki Colvin got closer to her home and the crash site, she heard the sirens. She called Parker. No answer. She called again. His girlfriend answered.
An East Naples driver was arrested Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, after deputies said he hit and killed Shayden Colvin, 13, and failed to stay at the scene of the crash. This is a call made to E-911 following the hit-and-run crash. Naples Daily News
Shayden had been hit, the mother was told.
Parker and his girlfriend had arrived at the scene before the paramedics. He held his brother’s hand.
After alerting Todd Colvin, who lives in Cape Coral, Niki Colvin arrived at the intersection just in time to see her son as paramedics readied him for transport.
She touched his arm and said:
“‘Hey, Shayden, Mommy’s here.’ And he looked right at me and we made eye contact. And he nodded. I said, ‘I’m going to the hospital. I love you, buddy. I’ll see you there.’ ”
At NCH Baker Hospital Downtown, doctors and nurses scrambled to try to stabilize Shayden enough to transfer him to Tampa General Hospital, where a pediatric trauma surgeon would be waiting for him.
Initially, things looked up.
Shayden could tell NCH staff his name. He knew his birth date. He told them he was allergic to peanut butter. He had a good strong grip and could feel his legs.
The Colvins braced for a long and painful recovery, but it seemed as if their son was going to survive.
“They were giving us hotels to stay in (in Tampa),” Todd Colvin, 47, recalled, sitting in his son’s East Naples backyard Wednesday.
As Friday night turned into Saturday morning, updates sporadically trickled into the recovery room where the Colvins were anxiously waiting as Shayden underwent surgery.
First, coffee came out around 7 a.m. Then, a half-hour later, the doctor and the anesthesiologist followed.
No news had been good news in the Colvins’ minds.
Then came the worst news.
They had done everything they could. Shayden didn’t make it.
For Niki Colvin, it’s the nights. For Todd Colvin, the mornings.
The hardest time.
Niki Colvin — who teaches math and science at ABLE Academy, a special-needs school, and works shifts at Pinchers in Tin City — used to come home to Shayden after a long workday.
“I’d turn off the car and before I would even open the door, he’d be out the door to greet me when I pulled in,” she said.
He would ask her about her day. Now, the mother stays awake until she can’t anymore before she passes out.
Todd Colvin — who works at the air traffic control tower at Page Field in Fort Myers — connected with his son through his phone. They always texted each other in the mornings.
“When I didn’t have him with me, that became how we connected,” he said. “He texted me about everything. And then more recently he started calling me.”
The distance and the teenager’s busy schedule sometimes made it tough to have face-to-face time, Todd Colvin said.
“I missed out on a lot,” he said. “But I felt like we were catching up that way.”
On Wednesday, Todd Colvin called his son’s voicemail, just to hear his voice.
Silva-Diaz initially faced a felony charge of hit-and-run — failure to stop and remain at a crash involving serious bodily injuries. But during his first court appearance Monday, detectives requested that charge to be amended to leaving the scene of a crash resulting in death.
Prosecutors have not received the entire case yet, Samantha Syoen, a spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office, said Wednesday.
“Once we do, we will review it and make a filing decision,” she said in an email.
Silva-Diaz on Wednesday entered a written not-guilty plea through his defense attorney. He remained at the Naples Jail Center. His bail was set at $100,500 and his arrest report showed a hold for immigration authorities.
The Colvins know nothing can bring their son back. They just wish the driver had stopped.
“Not only did he take away our child from us,” Todd Colvin said. “He took a father away from his own children. And that’s sad.”
Shayden had plans to become a Navy SEAL. He rarely wore a shirt and was always in jeans. He was a comedian. A night owl. A Boy Scout.
He could eat his weight in steak and loved watching the cooking demonstrations at grocery stores.
He never lied, but he liked to make up stories. He never stopped talking, chatting even in his sleep. He knew no stranger and loved everyone.
“He loved big,” said Niki Colvin. “He loved with all he had. If you met him, you could not help but like him.”
Perhaps that’s why the nurses lost it when they heard the news. Why the doctor, who remembered Shayden from his time coaching soccer, visited the small memorial set up at the scene of the crash. Why scores lit candles for him at a Wednesday night vigil organized by his Boy Scout troop in North Naples.
A formal memorial service will be held for Shayden at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Fuller Funeral Homes on Pine Ridge Road. It will be open to the public.
Shayden’s mother, father, siblings and cousins plan to get tattoos of a Coke bottle with his name on it to remember him.
Todd Colvin said he will miss finding out what his son was going to do next.
Niki Colvin said she misses sitting with him, whether at the beach or on the couch.
“I think that’s why I always have Jack with me,” she said through tears, clutching her son’s beloved stuffed toy pig. “Because at least Shayden’s sitting with me now.”