I got one of those calls you never want to get, but soon
realized it would not be the worst call that night.
My sister called crying hysterically,
to which I assumed meant the worst. She quickly reassured me that she
was fine but wanted me to come pick her up. My family all hopped in the car and
soon found ourselves at a terrible accident scene. Finally getting the story,
we realized that a car in oncoming traffic which was drag-racing another car,
side-swiped the car directly in front of my sister forcing her to swerve into
opposite lane, luckily unoccupied at this point.
My first thoughts were purely journalistic instinct. ďWe
need to get a reporter out here to cover this.Ē
I thought to myself how callous this sounded. When had I
become one of those reporters who only cared about getting the scoop? I
wrestled with this thought of wondering how I had slipped into this mindset.
But then I realized I didnít just want to tell people what happened but wanted
to warn them.
The other half of the story that I havenít told you yet
was something I knew needed to be voiced.
The reason my sister had been crying was because of what
she saw. On impact both cars fell to pieces and from the car that had been hit,
she saw the driverís body fall limply halfway out of the window.
The lifeless body was enough to tell her that she had
just seen this manís life end before her eyes. After more ambulances and a
police report, we found out all four people in the car died. At that point I
realized that these peopleís friends and family still thought everything was
fine until they would get that fatal call that night.
Two people did live, however, the driver and the
passenger of the other car involved in the wreck. I donít know which would be
the lesser of two evils: losing my life having done nothing wrong or living 60
more years with the guilt of ending the lives of four 20 year olds.
If you want to escape this, find a nice big hole in the
ground to hide in and donít expect to come out anytime soon, because these
things happen everyday. We just donít notice them
until we see how it affects our own life.
And I can tell you that the image of that man limply
falling out of that car is forever burned into my sisterís memory.
I donít think we would be doing anyone justice by not letting
the public know what reality is like. We got home from the wreck just in time
to catch the local news coverage and to be honest, I
didnít think it had done the wreck any justice.
Saying that there were four fatalities didnít give the
same impact that being there had been. And heading straight to the news about
college football didnít seem like an ending these four deserved.
I donít want to be a callous reporter who hounds a
grieving widow until sheís so broken down that the only answer is to talk; I want
give that widow a voice to encourage others.†
I have seen enough Oprah episodes to know that people who
go through tough experiences come on the show to help others cope and warn them
from making the same mistakes. We all have a way to benefit this world and I
think reporting is mine.†
Valerie Metrejean is a senior journalism major and serves
as associate editor for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to email@example.com.