Yesterday was the deadliest train accident in the US in the last 15 years. And it was 5 miles from my backyard. The train was headed into my train station during rush hour. As of right now, there are 18 confirmed fatalities. So far I have learned that I knew at least 1 person on that train, the 22 year old boyfriend of our next door neighbor. They've been together since they were 16 years old... he's a part of the family. Thank the good lord, he came out of it with a pile of stitches to his face and a fractured foot. He was in that car you see standing upright just behind the pile of rubble.
I don't know if there was anyone else on that train that I know, but we had a chat with the kids and let them know that there was every likelihood that there was a parent of someone they knew on it. I'm sure that notices will go out at school on Monday. The last big crash we had here, three years ago, killed a coach at Jeff's high school. The man who intentionally caused that crash was sentenced to life in prison withouth parole not even two weeks ago. This was likely caused by simple human error, although they are still investigating. Amazing how one small error can change the course of so many lives.
Once again, however, I am awed by the power of community, and the amazing presence of our rescue personnel. Folks came out of their houses and were already pulling people from the wreckage before fire personnel got on scene. We had boy scouts handing out water and fruit to survivors. Firefighters and paramedics worked tirelessly throughout the evening and overnight on a search and rescue, and are even now, still looking for survivors. Next time you see your local firefighters, police, or even emergency physician, stop and say thank you.
Edited to add: Just got a call from my sister. My nephew's best friend's father was killed in the crash. The football coach at Jeff's high school passed the news on through my younger nephew and several other 'younger brothers' who had older brothers that are friends with this boy, who is away at college. My nephew is beside himself. It's so hard to be 19 years old and away at college when you just want to be home with your parents and your friends. My sister is having him come home for the funeral, once it's planned. He doesn't want to talk to anyone yet. I'll call him tomorrow and send him my love. Meantime, I can only send it this way, and I'll visit his Facebook and MySpace pages. I'm thinking of you, Sammy, and I love you. I'll see you soon. Sending you big hugs and kisses.
Love, Auntie Lori