Hundreds ride in support of "Franklin Strong" for Big Blue River drowning victims

FRANKLIN, Ind. - On Sunday, the hum of hundreds of motorcycles shook the streets on an otherwise quiet morning in Franklin.

The rumble came from riders who showed up to support the families of five teens involved in a deadly swimming accident earlier this month that left two dead and one still in critical condition.

For one rider, the sound was therapeutic.

"We've been involved in riding for years and years, and this is probably one of the best things I've been able to do," said Bobbi Hubbard.

Hubbard's daughter, 16-year-old Sarah McLevish, remains in a coma in critical condition after she was swept over the Edinburgh dam while swimming with friends earlier this month.

"She's a tough, resilient kid," Hubbard said. "She's maintaining. She's showing a little bit of improvement every day as far as automatic reflexes, opening eyes, coughing."

Sunday was Hubbard's first full day away from her daughter's hospital bed in more than two weeks.

Two local women organized the ride to raise money for McLevish's family and the relatives of 17-year-old Jason Moran and 16-year-old Michael Chadbourne. The two boys, both football players, lost their lives while trying to save McLevish from the fast-moving waters.

"Everyone has a time of need, and they're in a time of need right now," said fundraiser organizer Cheryl Cash. "Medical bills, etc. It's our way of giving back to the community."

About 350 motorcyclists, many who don't know the families affected, attended the ride. Wearing ribbons in the teens' school colors, the riders began at Franklin Community High School and wound through Taylorsville before lining up one-by-one on the bridge over the Edinburgh dam.

They paused for a moment of silence above the spot where lives were lost in just seconds.

"My faith is strong and the support of the community and people has made a lot of difference too," Hubbard said. "So we're doing good. We can hang onto that."

Another fundraiser was scheduled through 7 p.m. Sunday at "Time Out" Bar and Grill, and the Chili's on Morton Street planned to donate 15 percent of its proceeds from sales on Thursday to the "Franklin Strong" fund.

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