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.