Monday, May 09, 2005

Every Parent's Terror

Last night I was watching the news and there was a report of two boys on bicycles, 11 and 13, hit by a Hummer in Stacy, Minnesota, about 30 miles north of here. It was a quick story, a bit of footage of some yellow lines painted on a road, then a small orange bicycle symbol also painted on the road surface. One of the boys had been airlifted to a hospital in Saint Paul, never a good sign.

Is there anything a parent fears more than a call like that? "Your child has been hit by a Hummer and is being sent by helicopter to Regions Hospital." My kids are 11 and 13, and a call like that would be horrible even when things end up working out ok.

I'm happy to say that today's Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting that the boys are doing well. What happened? The Strib says "The two were crossing Chisago County Road 19 at 2:43 p.m. They were struck when the driver of the Hummer turned north from County 19 onto Chisago County Road 30." One wonders if this driver was distracted by, for instance, a cell phone. Happily, the boys are now sitting up in bed and playing video games. I hope that all goes well for them, that in 20 years they can laugh about the time they got hit by the Hummer like I sometimes alarm people by mentioning that while riding a motorcycle I once got rear-ended on the freeway by a van.

Ironic that it was a Hummer. Automotive traffic in general is bad enough, it seems like SUVs are more oblivious that other vehicles, and the Hummer H2 is sold as the most aggressive, in-your-face of the SUVs, even though it looks vaguely comical to me, like a corrugated Honda Element. The paper says charges are pending against the driver of the Hummer, whose name hasn't been released yet since charges haven't been filed. We'll have to see what charges get pressed. I wish the boys and their parents all the best and hope I never get such a call.

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