Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Impact of traffic fatalities is everlasting

By Lana Urteaga
Lana Urteaga
Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day is a great campaign to bring awareness to traffic related collisions. These fatalities impact each of our lives in different ways. One such incident that I can remember as a Patrol Officer occurred back around the year 2008.
I was called into work to assist officers who were working a fatality accident involving an 18-year-old man. I was called to assist at the hospital as the young man’s family had not yet been located and the young man had no identification on him to be identified.
I remembered his phone ringing in his pocket and the song that played. I remember the name that came up on the screen, “Baby Girl,” and thinking this must have been his girlfriend calling to see where he was at.
As I stood in the hospital room looking at this young man, wondering what could have possibly happened, his mother walked into the room to identify her son, who was draped in only a thin sheet. The room instantly flooded with emotion as I looked on, wondering how I could comfort this woman and ease her pain.
I later learned what had happened. I was told he was on a motorcycle, not wearing a helmet, and had alcohol in his system. I remember thinking how this could have all been avoided. The impact traffic fatalities have on family, loved ones and first responders is everlasting. I still remember the details as if it happened yesterday. Please, don’t drive under the influence!

Sgt. Lana Urteaga is in the Office of Public Information for the Garden City Police Department


  1. Thanks for reminding us how much these tragic incidents affect so many peripheral lives. One of my coworkers was killed in a motorcycle wreck and although he was not impaired, he couldn't control the actions of the other driver.

    As a rider, I know that every time I take my bike out of the garage, I have to be more aware than all the other drivers on the road. To be even slightly impaired by alcohol or by other factors is too much risk to assume.

  2. Law enforcement officers have to deal with a lot. Thank you for your service and for helping families in difficult times.