Courtney Diehl: My daughter was hit by a car. Please slow down.
My 11-year-old daughter, Sunny, was riding her bicycle home from her summer camp Tuesday around noon. She was struck by a westbound car going 15 to 20 mph while in the crosswalk at Ninth and Oak streets. She was thrown almost six feet through the air and landed on the side of the street in the bicycle lane. Two men rushed to her aid, and our friend, an off-duty firefighter who happened to be driving by, jumped in to help.
My daughter was wearing her helmet, which is now broken from hitting the pavement. She has a broken ankle, bumps, scrapes and bruises but, miraculously, no head injury. We saw the orthopedic doctor Wednesday and found out she needs surgery. Thanks to the grace of God, somehow my daughter will be OK.
The driver who hit her was unlicensed, failed to yield to a person in the crosswalk and drove carelessly causing bodily injury. This happened on Oak Street, a once quiet little side street, now nothing more than an angry detour to avoid Lincoln Avenue. The driver was cited for multiple offenses and is in a lot of trouble. The driver wasn’t an oblivious tourist, an out-of-stater or a third homeowner. She was a local.
Someone was in a hurry to get somewhere, and that was their priority. Their priority was not the safety of the people around them, and the end result is that Sunny has lost the last of her summer, her bicycle and requires surgery on her ankle. She will never, ever forget what happened. She’ll heal, but she’ll never be the same.
So tomorrow, when I get into my car, the image of my child will be in my head, on her little bicycle — the bike she won at the Easter egg hunt earlier this year and was so proud of — which is now unrideable. I didn’t see her laying in the road, but I can’t stop picturing that either, or the way she must have flown horribly through the air before crashing to the pavement.
This town has changed a lot since we moved here in 2008. I’ve worried about the safety of my kids on their bikes, but I never thought that the impatience and the crowding in town had reached a point to where something like this would actually happen. But it did.
I just had to get this off my chest. Please slow down, put the phone down, and let’s make the safety of others our first priority.
Courtney S. Diehl, DVM
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