Last August, animation veteran Kevyn Wallace was driving down the 134 Freeway in Los Angeles, just a half mile from the Walt Disney Feature Animation where he had worked in the layout department on films like Tarzan and Mulan. As he was driving, an L. A. driver’s worst fear was realized–he was hit by a drunk driver. Eyewitness accounts from that evening said that the other driver’s car slid around the freeway and clipped another car. Then, the driver’s car spun around and faced Kevyn’s car straight on.
The high-impact crash punctured Kevyn’s gas tank and his car exploded into flames. A couple of good samaritans stopped on the freeway and attempted to rescue him from his burning vehicle. Unable to free him, they ran back to their own cars to find something to cut the seatbelt with. The witnesses reported that Kevyn, strapped into his seat, screamed for help as he struggled to free himself. Meanwhile, Kevyn’s windshield exploded. He miraculously managed to pull himself out of the car–but not before he had suffered burns over 90% of his body. Kevyn was placed into an induced coma and died a little over a month later at the LAC+USC Burn Center.
It was a life tragically cut short at age 47. Kevyn had worked on dozens of animation projects including The Simpsons Movie, The Land Before Time series, and Bébé’s Kids, but at the time of his death, he had embarked on a new career path. He had returned to his alma mater, Art Center College of Design, to earn a Master’s degree in filmmaking. Animation remained always close to his heart. The class project he was working on was a documentary about African-American animators.