PURPLE FOR PEYTON: Southwest Valley community remembers 8th-grader killed in collision


The Southwest Valley rallied to remember a Goodyear eighth-grader killed in a collision in November.

Peyton Munger, 13, was struck and killed by a school bus near Indian School Road and 144th Avenue in Goodyear. He was pronounced dead at the hospital following the collision.

Peyton was an eighth-grader at Western Sky Middle School, which was near the scene of the collision.

A memorial was held for Peyton at Desert Springs Community Church. Litchfield Park City Councilwoman Ann Donahue attended the memorial and though she said it was a solemn affair, she said she was touched by how the community came together.

“What I really want to focus on is what our community has done for this family, the teachers and the students,” she said to City Council and city staff during a Council meeting. “You guys, we know that we live in an amazing place, but the city of Goodyear, the city of Buckeye, the city of Litchfield, everyone has reached out and it’s been a really, really awesome experience out of the mouth of the mother today.”

She noted purple was the theme color for the memorial. Purple for Peyton is the theme of a GoFundMe account created for the family’s memorial expenses. Purple was Peyton’s favorite color and friends and family were encouraged to wear the color during various memorial events.

“His friends describe him as outgoing, helpful, kind and selfless,” the GoFundMe account reads. “His generous spirit helped his fellow Wildcats each day while they were at school.”

Ms. Donahue noted the GoFundMe’s initial goal was met in just two days. The family has since increased the goal because memorial costs exceeded what they initially anticipated. The family also held a memorial for Peyton in Houston.

The community is looking for solutions to make the intersection at Indian School Road and 144th Avenue safer.

“The school’s reached out to the city of Goodyear, if we can help at that intersection, if not we have volunteers all day long that are saying they will show up there morning and afternoon,” Ms. Donahue said. “We live in a wonderful, wonderful community. So, please keep the family, the teachers, the staff, the young kids that right now are standing 50-long, standing up, talking about this young man. So, it was a beautiful thing today. And I think the (Litchfield Elementary) School District in particular has handled this as well as you can. So, thoughts and prayers for the family and continued support for this awesome community.”

Police said Peyton was hit by a school bus that was occupied with students. No one on board was injured. The bus driver remained at the scene and cooperated with authorities.

No arrests have been made, but police said the collision remains under investigation.

Litchfield Park Vice Mayor Paul Faith said the memorial placed on the street corner, adorned with candles, flowers, balloons and purple artwork from Peyton’s classmate was an emotional site.

“It was a tough experience. It was a very moving display on the intersection there. People have left flowers and candles and ornamental stuff.”

Mark Carlisle can be reached at mcarlisle@newszap.com or found on Twitter @mwcarlisle.