Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tragedy Strikes Again

This time the city of San Bernardino was the location of a deadly interaction between a school kid and moving hunk of steel. Less than a week after the middle school child was struck be a car in Azusa, now a first grader walking to school with his dad and sister stepped into the crosswalk only to be run over by a 1971 Buick Riviera.

The crosswalk was a mere 2 blocks from the school. A couple of hundred more steps and the child would be safe on school grounds. Instead, a few seconds that most of us just ignored on Monday will now haunt a father who was able to yank his daughter out of the way, but couldn't reach his 5-6 year old son.

According to the article in the SBSun, the family appeared to be doing everything right. They weren't crossing in the middle of the block or ignoring the crosswalk lights. They were waiting patiently for the light to change, and when the light changed, the children along with dad entered the intersection. Who would have guessed in that split second, a driver apparently blinded by the morning sun, would plow into an exuberant first grader who was probably just thinking about the school day ahead of him. Maybe he was thinking about new friends or his new teacher. Maybe he was expecting something special in his lunch.

How many lives were changed in that brief moment?

Please take a moment to remember that motor vehicles can kill. In 2006, California saw 2483 homicides, but in the same year, California saw 4240 vehicular deaths. The loss of this first grader won't draw the media attention that our local newspaper bestowed on little Ethan. Politicians won't be clamoring for more police funding or hoping for that fortuitous printed quote. This death will silently drift away for most us. Perhaps the family or friends will compose a little memorial at the location, but I doubt substantive changes will occur to make the intersection safer or to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety in any of our cities.

If you made it to the bottom of this, thanks for taking the time. Hopefully, we all will drive a little slower and a little safer.

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