On Memorial Day, then less than 48 hours later last Wednesday and then on Saturday, separate vehicular crashes robbed families of their loved ones.
The first came on Interstate 75 near mile marker 31 when a pair of West Virginia travelers heading north left the road, continued down an embankment and struck two trees. The 1990s model Acura was demolished. One motorist, the driver, was dead at the scene.
Two days later a second crash involving three vehicles blocked APD-40 for almost seven hours.
Over the weekend, 71-year-old Joyce Bennett died in a two-vehicle crash on Stuart Road. Even sadder, it was her birthday.
The APD-40 tragedy started as merely a fender bender between a 2004 Ford Mustang driven by Elvia Hidalgo, 25, of Dalton, Ga., and a Peterbuilt logging truck driven by Stephen Ross, 51, of Chatsworth, Ga. According to reports, the two were standing near their vehicles exchanging information and assessing the damages when an 18-wheeler driven by Terry Banks, 59, crashed into the scene, killing Hidalgo and Banks upon impact. Ross, who was seriously injured, was transported to SkyRidge.
A simple fender bender turned deadly ... it defies explanation, and further points to the importance of always being aware of your surroundings whether you are inside a vehicle or outside.
Loss of life under any circumstance is a tragedy. If it could have been avoided, the tragedy is compounded. Imagine the heartbreak of family members and loved ones upon hearing the details of the APD-40 mishap. Try to feel the pain and despair of those who lost their loved one on her birthday.
These tragedies point to the need for caution at every turn of our lives, especially with the hectic and busy travel season of summer now upon us.
Tragedy lurks on all roadways at all times, but high-traffic holidays are the biggest threat. In 1973, 26 people died in Tennessee traffic crashes during the 78-hour Memorial Day holiday. The state’s lowest death count for the same holiday came in 2002 with five.
We don’t point to these numbers as a messenger of doom; rather, this is a plea for attention to safety as more and more people, and their vehicles, take to the roads.
No one is immortal, but caution and awareness can save lives.