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