Yesterday in Magna, Utah (in suburbia out of Salt Lake City), a high school girl was celebrating her 17th birthday.
Apparently her friends painted polka-dots on the windshield of her pickup truck, and stuffed it with balloons as it sat in the high school parking lot.
Over the noon hour, she and a male friend were driving when she inexplicably swerved into the oncoming lane.
Tragically, electrical engineer / avid cyclist Karen Johnson was cycling with a friend in that oncoming lane. Seeing a pickup headed directly toward them, her friend swerved right off the road; Karen swerved left in an evasive maneuver. At the last second, Birthday Girl swerved right to get back into her lane and smacked Karen; she was dead before she got to the hospital.
It was unclear whether distractions, or limited visibility, played a role in the accident.
Deseret News story HERE.
What a tragedy!
The comments following the story are somewhat disturbing to me.
Sarah B says, "How tragic. This young lady's birthday will foreveer be marred by this."
Awwwww! That's so sad! Her birthday was spoiled!
How will Karen Johnson's family be "celebrating" October 19, from this year forward?
(I s'pose that other distracted drivers identify more with a distracted driver, if they've not ridden a bicycle recently.)
Many fingers of blame are pointed at the pranksters who painted the windshield.
It was Birthday Girl who assessed the situation and got behind the wheel, making the choice to pilot that 4000-pound lethal missile.
Several people call for more restrictions on teenage drivers.
I would agree, if I didn't see drivers of all ages making some really stupid and dangerous choices while driving. Teenagers may be less experienced and therefore less predictable in their reaction... but poor judgment comes in all ages.
"utopia381" (nice!) chastises commenters who were apparently a little too tough on Birthday Girl: "Such harsh words for people who have no idea what they are talking about. As tragic as the circumstances are we still don't know the whole story."
What details will make the story less tragic, oh wise one?
PEOPLE! YOU PEOPLE WHO DRIVE CARS! You have voluntarily undertaken some serious responsibility! It is YOUR responsibility - not anybody else's - to make sure that vehicle you are driving is operated in a safe manner! You could kill somebody with your car! If you are doing something stupid and kill yourself, that would be a tragedy, but those you leave behind could rationalize, "It's tragic, but I s'pose he had it coming." You do NOT have the right to be doing something stupid and kill somebody else!!! PLEASE get serious about your driving! If you can't do that, just hang up the keys for the rest of us.