Scene of accident an amazing experience<BR>
People never cease to amaze me. In fact, after my experience last week in Prescott Valley, I wonder how some of them reach adulthood in one piece.
I was returning to work from a luncheon in Prescott when I happened on a serious vehicle accident at Robert Road and Highway 69. I turned at the Denny's entrance, parked my truck off the side of the road, and walked over to the highway with my trusty news camera.
A fire truck blocked westbound traffic. Another fire truck stopped southbound Robert traffic, while police vehicles blocked eastbound 69. One of the policemen who recognized me asked me to pull my truck across two lanes and block traffic from coming onto the highway from the Texaco station. He set bright orange cones by the truck, and with hazard lights flashing, I figured no once could miss it. In an effort not to back up traffic all the way to Prescott, police kept one eastbound 69 lane open and detoured westbound traffic onto Robert Road, where it could exit through Florentine.
The accident involved a man in an SUV, and a woman in a sedan, who collided nearly head-on in the intersection. The woman had an infant and a toddler in the car, and thankfully, because she properly buckled them in, they both apparently escaped without injury. Paramedics treated both drivers and ambulance crews readied them for a trip to the hospital, along with the kids, who went for observation.
All well and good and organized. Until…family members of the accident victims began to show up, naturally visibly upset, and began to look for ways to get across the highway. I cautioned one to be careful, and told her I'd flag down an officer to get her across the road. Fortunately, she listened and made it safely across to her child. The second mom who arrived was even more visibly upset, and I thought I was going to have to tackle her to keep her from running out in front of a line of speeding semis and cars with rubbernecking drivers. An officer came to the rescue again. I could certainly understand the family members' agitation, but I didn't want to see yet another wreck at the same place.
Meanwhile, the accident investigator arrived, and parked his car facing the wreckage. Big red fire engines, firefighters in bright yellow gear, police in uniform, and flashing lights everywhere gave, you would think, a pretty major clue to stay clear. But that wasn't enough for a few brain-on-holiday drivers. One made a left turn onto Robert Road right through the accident scene. Another maneuvered around my blocking-two-lanes, lights flashing, orange-cone-protected truck to use the lane he wanted. Then the coup de grace – a woman who should never again possess a set of car keys. She blithely drove around my truck, through the intersection, right into the wreck scene and over all the debris, past the police and firefighters and flashing lights, and scuttled on toward Prescott, leaving Lt. Laura Molinaro fairly jumping up and down with frustration.
I've written over and over about the things I see at accident scenes. Sometimes they are funny, most times downright dangerous. While it may be inconvenient for you to detour, or wait while emergency personnel clear an accident scene, it is necessary for the safety and possibly the very life of someone involved. So take a deep breath, and think about how you would feel if you were injured or trapped in that car. It wouldn't much matter then if someone suffered a little inconvenience while emergency personnel tried to save your life, would it?
Next time you come upon an accident scene, pay attention to the officers directing traffic, and pass up your urge to ignore road blocks and cuss the firefighters and police.
You never know when you might need the same consideration.