Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A grim reminder

This past weekend, a terrible, terrible, grim reminder of the dangers of winter travel over New Brunswick's highways.

7 members of the Bathurst High School Basketball Team and one of their teachers were killed when the van they were traveling in, returning from a game in Moncton, skid into the path of an oncoming transport truck.

It was late, and snowing and freezing rain, and police are tentatively speculating that the van hit the shoulder of the road - the line between pavement and shoulder obscured by the snow - and then the team Coach, who was driving, possibly overcorrected, and the slippery conditions sent them right into the path of the truck.

The team Coach - who was married to the teacher who was killed - survived, as did his daughter and two remaining members of the basketball team. The driver of the truck also survived. One can't calculate the psychological price they will pay.

Bathurst is a town of 13,000 people. "Devastated", although the word most-used by the media, doesn't seem to capture the immense grief we're seeing on our televisions and experiencing around our dinner tables and water coolers, across the province and the country for that matter, where response has been overwhelming. "Reeling", a second-favourite media word, feels more like it.

These boys were just 15 to 17 years old. One died in the small hours of his seventeenth birthday.

They were about five minutes from Bathurst, from home, when the accident occurred.

Today, a public wake for the boys saw this almost-unimaginable string of hearses coursing somberly through yet another snowstorm.

Everyone's driving a little slower these days. Let's hope that the reminder of how suddenly things can go so wrong through no apparent fault of the driver, purchased at so great a cost, sticks for a while.


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Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Terrible. Just terrible.
I grew up in a town of similar size and similar clime and while basketball wasn't a sport I played I was very much a fan of our high school's team. Every member of the team was a friend of mine, and I traveled to all the away games on the "pep bus," usually through the dark and snow and ice.
I can come that close to understanding how it must feel to be in Bathurst now, but no closer.
Terrible, just terrible.

6:08 p.m.  
Blogger Ronnie said...

This is just beyond beyond. That town will never get over this blow. Let's just hope that everyone will continue to show others the love they are showing right now. That's about all that will help.

Ronnie(with no cat)

12:48 a.m.  
Blogger Mike said...

... and the fact that they were so close to home is not just a mark of how, with a few minutes more luck, they would have been home. My understanding is that the emergency response crews that went to the scene were from their community. I cannot imagine what they will be living with.

6:18 a.m.  
Blogger Abbie said...

This is horrible.. my heart just pours out to those affected by this horrible tragedy...

God bless them.

9:54 p.m.  

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