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To the Parents of the Boy I Almost Killed on Lovely Street

Do you have a teenager who walks to school? This is for you.

Do you have a teenage boy who attends Avon High School? Does he occasionally walk south on Lovely Street to school in the morning? Would you continue reading this article if I told you I almost killed your son last week as I drove past him one Thursday morning on his way to school?

I drive down Lovely Street on many mornings to bring my fifth grader to Thompson Brook School. My kids and I often joke that, “Lovely Street is not lovely.” In fact, it's more like the Indianapolis 500 during the morning rush hour. I struggle to adhere to the 40 m.p.h. speed limit, with a trail of irritated drivers behind me who would rather travel at 50 (or even 55) m.p.h. during their rushed commute to wherever they need to be in the next two minutes.

Two weeks ago, after that dump of fresh snow had fallen, I was bringing my son to school around 7:45 a.m. I had just passed Yorkshire Drive on the left. At that point, the road curves to the right a bit, before Hollister. As I rounded that curve, I passed a boy who was walking south, towards Hollister. He was walking on my side of the road with his back to me and the rest of the southbound traffic. He wore a grayish blue-patterned sweater and gray-colored pants.  In the dim light of a winter morning, he blended quite subtlely into the blurry gray of the snowy wooded area behind him. He wore white earbuds in his ears – I could see the cord traveling from his left ear to the MP3 device he carried in his left pocket.

Because of the recent snowfall, the shoulder of the road was narrower than usual. This boy's path was frightfully close to the cars traveling southbound, at the speed of at least 40 m.p.h., right beside him.  As I passed him, I believe my right side-view mirror whizzed within 18 inches of his left shoulder.

He was oblivious, ambling peacefully along Lovely on his way to another school day, listening to his tunes.

I was incredulous at the staggering risk this boy took. Earbuds in, unable to hear the traffic approaching him from behind, walking with his back to the cars traveling 40-50 m.p.h. If he stumbled over a stick, tripped on uneven pavement, or if the driver of a southbound car looked down for a moment to catch a cup of spilling coffee – any of these things could all too easily have lead to death or devastating injury for this boy.

In retrospect, I wish I had turned back and stopped him to ask who his parents were. I should have called them, then and there, and offered him a ride to school. I decided to submit this piece because it's all I can think to do to bring parents' attention to this potentially fatal circumstance.

We parents live in a world in which we're struck breathless by emotionally crushing stories about tragic mass shootings, alcohol-related car accidents, teen suicides, and other horrific twists of fate that we desperately try to prevent in the name of our intense love for our kids.

Sometimes the most imminent dangers to our children are closer to home, and much more likely, than we might ever dare to imagine. Please, PLEASE talk to your children about walking to school safely.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

katlnhat January 30, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Thank you, Sarah, for writing this. Sadly, it happens far too much in every CT town. Our son's grown now, but even back then, (I'm in East Windsor, the roads are thin, too much traffic, no sidewalks, etc's), people walked and cars sped too fast. Safety is owned by all of us! Drive slowly, it's better to get where you're going and be a bit late than to not get there at all. Kids - same goes for you, except it's stay on the very side of the road - don't stop yourself from hearing approaching traffic by listening to music. Better for you, as well, to get where you're going SAFELY, because in the end, no matter whose fault it is, does it matter? Dead or severely injured isn't worth taking the chance.
Adriana Figueroa January 30, 2013 at 09:48 PM
I live in Canton, CT off of lovely street im 21 years old a cautious driver and i've nearly missed a walker or two myself, driving all hours of the day down lovely street. I can't fathom the day when a child, adult or teen gets injured by a series of unfortunate events thats just waiting to happen. I understand people like to run and walk for whatever reason they may have but it is just as safe as it is to walk on the side of the highway. IT IS NOT!!!!. and should not be deemed okay. Wether it is 9 a.m. or 5 p.m. Like you said, it can take a split second of a mishap to lead to something much more serious. Let's change this for the sake of everyone :) your voice and concern is much appreciated. sincerley a concerned and very young citizen. Adriana
Wyatt January 30, 2013 at 10:52 PM
Excellent article. Well said and a necessary read.
Heather Satlof January 30, 2013 at 11:31 PM
I'm so happy that a young driver recognizes the danger of driving too fast down Lovely Street! How do you recommend encouraging drivers to drive safely around pedestrians?
Happy Percy February 05, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Too many people are not responsible, the people who wear all Black at night and they expect you to see them, wether walking or riding a bike. there is something to be said about survival of the fitest as you are just Stupid to be out at night like this. I just recently almost hit tis type of person , even though in a cross-walk, but oblivious to the thought that no one could see them dressed all in Black, no light or reflector. Manuy years ago a bike rider was hit by a semi tractor and I felt worsr for the driver of the truck then the bike rider, as I had seen this person out in all kinds of weather and I would often say to my wife, I feel sorry for the person that will hit this guy, becuase I can hardly see him! People need to think of these conditions and it isn'talways the drivers fault, and sorry to say but most pedestrians never survive to talk about the consequences

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