Alpha Xi Delta Sorority in Mourning After Tragic Accident in Ohio


Just saw a clip of a fatal accident on liveleak.com a few minutes ago that on face value wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.  I’m not saying that all fatal accidents aren’t tragic for those involved and their families and friends.  I’m simply saying that the video, shot from the dash-cam of a Ohio Highway Patrol officer’s cruiser, likely wouldn’t  elicit much of a response if viewed by someone accustomed to reviewing footage of accidents.

Some accidents that are caught on film are horrifying and dramatic simply because they happen to be caught on tape either from a cell phone video camera or CCTV.   This wasn’t one of those instances.  In fact the video doesn’t show the accident itself although it does begin several seconds prior to it.    It shows a seemingly mundane two lane highway in Ohio, with the trooper in the left lane just driving along, when all of a sudden a car approaches, very rapidly, in the right lane, and passes right by the officer.

Had the clip ended right then, I would have assumed that it was  a run of the mill one lane highway with cross traffic,  not unlike many other desert highways interspersed throughout my stomping grounds in  California and Nevada.

The only problem is that this particular portion of  Interstate 75 does not contain cross traffic. Traffic in both of these lanes are  supposed to be going the same way.

The person driving the car that blew by the state trooper, for some unknown reason, was rapidly headed straight into oncoming traffic.

She plunged into her tragic destiny, wholly unaware of the horrific consequences she was about to unleash on herself and several innocent young lives. 

Barring a miracle, on busy Interstate 75,  at night, with thousands of drivers speeding to various destinations, one woman’s catastrophic error was a sure-fire recipe for unthinkable human tragedy.

The officer quickly flips around and begins his pursuit.

Again, this video is anticlimactic, mundane even, despite its chilling and deadly results.

Not five seconds into his pursuit we see the officer approach the scene of an accident that had taken place perhaps nano seconds earlier.  I couldn’t identify  the make or model of the one car completely visible to me. I could only see that it was dark colored.  It didn’t really even look terribly mangled.  Mostly hidden from view, except for what appeared to be the beginnings of a small fire, was another car, the car driven by the wrong way driver.

The officer gets out, flashlight in hand, goes over to the first car, looks inside and then goes to the second car.  The video then skips to a few minutes later presumably where the officer has been joined by firefighters and other emergency personnel.  No other information could be gleaned from the video.

Something made me do a little more digging on this story and I was sad to learn that the driver of the car going the wrong way, a 69 year old woman named Winifred Lein, was killed in the accident.  That is a sad but expected result for someone who obviously was incapable of intelligently making routine driving decisions that night and should not have been sitting behind the wheel. That she ended up driving the wrong way on a highway and dying as a result of it was a tragedy for sure, but one where the driver could safely be pointed to as the cause of her own demise.

For me, the law of the jungle applies in these types of incidents and as long as the person involved didn’t take anyone else along with them, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought to be honest.  It may sound callous but such is the nature of a world in which humans are exposed to a myriad of similar stories day after day.  We simply become numb to these everyday tragedies and accept them as part of life.

Only stories that contain extraordinary examples of the tragedies or triumphs of life have the effect of penetrating the psyche of your average internet savvy citizen of the world, 2012 edition.  This story contains just this sort of extraordinary example of tragedy I’m afraid.

There were two cars involved in this accident.  One contained the 69 year old Mrs. Lein, an Ohio resident, and the cause of  this whole turn of events.

Inside the other car,  were five beautiful girls, students  from Bowling Green State University, and members of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority,  who had been on their way to the airport to catch their flights (along with eleven other sorority sisters) to the Caribbean (Dominican Republic) for a much anticipated spring break vacation.  Three of the girls were killed in the wreck instantly.  The other two girls were listed in critical condition in the article that I read on eastidahonews.com.

Killed in the wreck were Christina Goyett, Rebekah Blakkolb, and Sarah Hammond, ages 19, 20, and 21 respectively.  As you can clearly see from the pictures I’m including in this article, they were all beautiful girls and it really makes me feel sad for them, their families and friends, the school and basically everyone who was a part of these girl’s lives.

It is unthinkable to have something like this happen to these ladies after persevering through the challenges (and midterms!) presented to them during the first half of the spring semester, with the minutes crawling by like hours, to finally being at the deliciously agonizing point where their  anticipation was about to be replaced by the incomparable joy of actuallyexperiencing , and being caught up in,  the moment the plane would taxi down the runway, take off and catapult these young ladies into paradise.

To imagine the circumstances and empathize with these girls and the knowledge that one second they were mere minutes away from their trip to paradise in the Dominican Republic, and the next second they were either dead or critically injured is just unthinkably horrific.

I don’t have to search for confirmation of the obvious fact that these girls would have been planning this trip  for months and were surely downright giddy with anticipation and excitement for what was sure to be an incredible experience, etched into the fabric of their life’s memories where it would undoubtedly  be recalled time after time, retold and cherished.

Then it was snatched away.

The fact that their lives were instead, tragically cut short in such a bizarre and shocking fashion reeks of a truly horrible irony and really had me shaking my head at the brutality that life delivers at times without even a second of advance warning.

The odds of these girls dying after being hit by someone speeding down the highway going the wrong way, on their way to the airport to depart for their vacation had to have been a trillion to one against.   Yet somehow it happened.

I’m not going to trash the dead woman.  Whether I believe she should be trashed or not is irrelevant, as are the notions of whether she should have been on the road to begin with.  Those questions and many others are sure to be asked by people infinitely more qualified to comment on this tragedy then I am.

I simply want to extend my condolences to the families of everyone involved and assure you that my prayers are with you during this sad time.  God bless you all and rest in peace Christina, Rebekah, Sarah and Mrs. Lein.

21 thoughts on “Alpha Xi Delta Sorority in Mourning After Tragic Accident in Ohio

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  3. From: ivojasek
    Mar-9-2012 06:15:25 Alpha Xi Delta Sorority in Mourning After Tragic Accident in Ohio and some of my random thoughts.
    Anthony,

    Read your article. It’s not just wonderfully written but it’s also ‘compassionately’ felt by the reader due to your authoristic (Don’t believe that’s a word, but oh well) talents.

    You’ve inspired me to share some of my own feelings and observations on this subject so here it goes… You will have to forgive me I’m fading fast after a busy double shift. If my writing is incoherent or goes around in a few circles it because of being way too over-tired. I sure look forward to sleeping away the next couple of days… 
    I hope at least some of this makes sense and you find some of it insightful. Guaranteed it will be greatly lacking to your write up. (hence why I choose to write this in a message to one person, instead of a post for everyone to read. Anyways….

    I’ve been in EMS work since I was 19 years old (I’m 44 now) and have seen firsthand tragedies like these and others, more often then I can count. I never get use to them. In fact, the medics out there that say “you get used to it” are either liars, have repressed emotional problems that manifests itself out in other ways (usually destructively) or they have had to stop caring altogether just to cope with their work. They stop seeing their patients as another living human being worthy of compassion and respect. As for myself, The last tragic accident still hit me just as hard as the first one did, and the day that one doesn’t bother me will be the day that it will be time to find a new line of work. To do well in EMS ore any other care giving field, one must have true compassion. The only thing that has gotten easier over the years is the time it takes me to emotionally process and come to terms with a particular tragic event (or Critical Incident in our lingo). My First Head-on multiple fatality accident took me 4 to 6 month’s to get the images and the odd nightmares to stop. Now after all these years it I’m haunted by it for less than 24 hours to process, feel and heal. At the most (like when kids are involved) it could take up to a week.

    But enough of this tangent. Back to the Accident in question.

    Having worked many of those years in smaller communities, whenever a tragedy like this strikes the same stage’s go throughout the community. Mostly because the event ‘isn’t fair’ so people have to search for a deeper reason as to why did this have to happen? sometimes the simple truth that a person got confused and made a wrong turn without noticing the signs (something that happens quite often, but most people see their error and pullover and safely turn around.) Many large accidents are caused by small common mistakes that end up having big, tragic consequences. But in times of great loss there is strong but very natural emotion for someone to need the ‘Big Why’ did it have to happen, just so there is some place to put all that anger toward. You see it in the comments (me included) on liveleak all the time… “Must find Blame…. Must Find Blame just to make some over simplified sense of it” .

    After reading your article and getting more background on the accident I came to my final processed emotional reality of my view of this particular event. “IT’S A VERY, VERY, VERY SAD EVENT” And that is where my process leaves it at. Because it doesn’t look like anyone was out to try and hurt or kill any one. And the causing error is a common one that most people would have only gotten a fine for having done, if it hadn’t caused an accident first. My heart truly goes out to all the people and families and friends of those involved, as it always does.

    Keep up the great writing.. and stay safe brother.

    Ivo
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    1. At least I’m not afraid to say my name is Anthony Mandich and I live at 2654 Steeplechase Way Norco California 92860 and I’ve got your “faggot” hanging between my legs and if you wanna come over to my house, you pussy ass anonymous piece of shit, i’ll show you what a faggot will do when i piss all over your face after kicking your face in. How about that tough guy?

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    2. And you write like a cowardly piece of shit…Let me know when you have the balls to go to Anthony’s house, so I can be the camera man of your ass whooping.

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      1. oh shit my bad lol. kenneth that was meant toward anonymous shit talker boy not you okay. i don’t even know why i’m even bothering really though. he’s anonymous for a reason. cuz he’s a pussy. but thanks for your offer to document reality lol. thassss whassssssup my man.

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