By Jordan W. Charness
Warning! This column is not for the faint of heart. It does bring to light however a sad yet important story that we can all learn from. It is basically true but edited to protect the identities of the parties.
Jane, (not her real name) was late. She was only 14 years old and she had a nine o’clock curfew. She absolutely had to be home by nine o’clock. She had busted a few of her curfews in the past and her parents had threatened to ground her for a month if she was late again. It looked like she would be late one more time but it really was not her fault this time.
If only the city bus would hurry up. According to the schedule she should have been at her home stop 10 minutes ago. There really wasn’t any traffic and she couldn’t figure out what was taking so long. The bus finally pulled into her stop at five minutes after nine.
She jumped out of the bus and immediately crossed in front of the bus and began to run across the street and toward home. She didn’t notice that she was crossing on a red light and that traffic was moving swiftly across her path.
To compound the problem the bus hid her from view until she ran in front of it and into traffic. The driver of the car never had a chance to stop. She never had a chance to see it and the two collided.
A friend of mine, Sergeant McGrath, was one of the first police officers on the scene. The girl was injured but alive. She explained that she was late for curfew and was running home to try and make it on time. The driver of the car was in shock and they both were transported to the hospital.
No charges could be laid against the driver of the car. He was driving with the green light and was driving at a normal speed for that road. She popped into view from around the front of the bus and he did not see her until he hit her. Nonetheless he was traumatized for life. He will never forget the sound of his car hitting her and the sight of her bouncing onto his hood and then on to the road.
Nowadays everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere. Even with all the modern “timesaving” devices we seem to have less time to attend to all the things that we think we need to do. Deadlines and commitments are always looming and we are all facing one kind of curfew after another. We are always racing to catch up. Drivers speed and pedestrians ignore traffic lights. Bicyclists pretend that traffic laws don’t apply to them and everyone tries to just save a little time and go faster.
The few minutes we save are not worth the damage and injury that our behaviour may cause. Maybe it’s time that we made it a priority to leave earlier and schedule our days a little less hectically.
As far as curfews are concerned, I’d rather that my teenagers came home a few minutes late than put their lives at risk racing home. Curfews are important but a phone call and a small extension may make more sense in the long run.