I am not normally a big fan of the saying, “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” It is too often used when a person becomes an innocent victim of a crime that leads to that person’s death.
I was one of a number of people who were travelling eastbound on I-290 late Saturday night. The traffic had come to a standstill up ahead. My attention was not only on the sea of red lights beginning to accumulate up ahead, but on the numb-nut behind me who believed that if he tailgated me, he could force me to go faster. I drive an SUV, so unless it’s a bigger SUV or a truck, it’s rare for me to feel intimidated by another driver.
As I began to slow down, I first saw the remnants of a huge black motorcycle lying just feet from the concrete barrier on the westbound side of I-290. My mind quickly said that whatever happened was not going to be good. And it wasn’t!
As I slowed down, I saw the two people. My mind processed what I was seeing, but I didn’t want to believe it. It looked like a scene out of a movie. I had to stop my vehicle and, unfortunately, I ended up directly across from the accident scene. It was so surreal. There were two people lying on the ground about 10 feet apart in a horizontal fashion.
The position of the bodies was so precise, it appeared at first that the scene had been staged as opposed to landing there from the impact. The first person was lying face down. Her very long black hair flowed onto the roadway and covered her entire face. The second person’s body, a male had been severed and the debris field covered both sides of the roadway.
People started to exit their cars and I found a couple who told me they had seen the accident. The couple on the motorcycle had been speeding westbound. The motorcycle driver lost control and went airborne striking the light pole on the concrete barriers that separate the eastbound from the westbound lanes of the expressway. They told me of the blast of sparks that lit up the night. The light pole ended up across the roadway up ahead on the eastbound side which is why our traffic was stopped. We were gawkers not out of curiosity but by necessity.
Though more and more people gathered, the scene was not a circus. Everyone was reverent about the deceased as the reality set in that two people had lost their lives. Such kindness and consideration were shown by the people stuck there with me on at Saturday night that it restored my faith in the human spirit.
Yes, a lot of people took pictures, me included. But there wasn’t anyone screaming the names of websites as if they would soon be posting the after-effects of the accident on the Internet.
I’ve since learned the names of the two individuals who lost their lives, Miranda Valles, 21, and Matthew Paul Summers, 41. The other motorcyclists who were travelling with them fled the scene (those were some genuinely lowlife friends), thus they won’t be able to assure the victim’s families of what happened in the aftermath. Those families can take some comfort in knowing that their loved ones were respected in the minutes following their death and that many, myself included, said a prayer for those two young people’s souls.