Friday evening I was clearing my driveway after dinner. I could see from the end of the driveway a bunch of emergency vehicles in the intersection at Lexington and Larpenteur, just a few blocks away. When I got done with my snow, I got on the Nokian-equipped Marin and rode down to see what had happened. By the time I got there, the police and emergency vehicles were gone but there was a video crew still there. I rode across to ask what had happened.
A pedestrian fatality, a hit and run. An old guy was hit by an Avalanche (which threw me for a second, until I remembered the Chevrolet Avalanche) which didn't stop. It happened about 20 to 8, he said, at which time we'd been sitting down for dinner and had seen a couple of firetrucks go by.
I don't know what the final toll will be for automobile-related deaths in 2005, but it'll probably be in the 42,000+ range again, 1,000 or so of which will be pedestrians and cyclists. It seemed sad and lonely to me that this poor guy got hit on the penultimate day of the year, it's threatening that it happened in an intersection my children often use, it's pathetic that the driver didn't have the integrity to stop. It has been my own experience with the uninsured, the drunk and the reckless (or all three) that they are very likely to take off, and that often there are no consequences. One year, it cost me a Saab I really liked, totalled at a red light by an uninsured drunk who took off and who paid no consequences whatsoever; just a month ago it was a hit and run bash in the left front fender of our Avalon in the Midway Cub parking lot, that cost us our $500 deductible to repair the damage. Here it cost a guy his life, and the driver stopping would not have changed that, but would have shown some acceptance of personal responsibility.
The Pioneer-Press says the victim of this crime is seventy-four year-old Dale Reinhardt. In the article currently posted online, they don't even mention the time or the intersection. And the world has moved on to 2006, his death will be added to the butcher's bill of tens of thousands of other motor vehicle fatalities and the story will quickly fade from what little public view it has. May his soul rest in peace.