Sunday, August 31, 2008

Holiday Havoc

First, let me explain -or describe -something to you here.

The road where we live is paved but turns into a dirt road several hundred yards down from our place. That dirt road leads down to the ghost town of Peale and beyond that, into old stripping cut roads and if you know your way around down in those woods, there is also a back road (dirt) that takes you through yet another ghost town area (Gorton) and ends in the village of Moshannon, on the other side of the mountain top area.

This region -the woods, the back dirt roads, filled with all kinds of little trails too, is a favorite place for people to ride ATVs. I would have nothing against that as a form of recreations however, I do object to the frequent heavy traffic on our street consisting of these four-wheelers zipping down to the real boondock area and then, zipping back up our street again. This happens at all hours of the day and even into the night.

During the day, some of these ATVers do slow down somewhat, do try to curb the noise level from their machines. At night, it's everyone for themself!

Last night (Saturday) was a very noisy night beginning around 9:30 and lasting until around 2 a.m. Four-wheelers -anywhere from five at a clip to as high as seven, running together, all speeding down this road and heading down into the woods. What was even more annoying about these activities last night was that within roughly five minutes, no more than ten, these same groups would come racing back up the road. Heading, I presume, to the local bar for a little more refreshment, a little more incentive to see how fast and how loud, they can travel along this road.

The thought did cross my mind last night to call the police and report this activity but I know from prior experience in these matters that about the time the police presence arrives, they are unable to catch anyone in the act. And how the heck can one try to get any type of identification on these vehicles to lead to their arrest then too.

Well, tonight perhaps the cruising by some of these people will have come to an end. Possibly a permanent end for at least one and for four others, who knows how long before they will be riding their ATVs again.

The reason? Well, there was an accident tonight about 1/2 mile or so from our house -on the dirt portion of the roadway. Reports so far vary, but three life-flight helicopters were called in for transport and there were four ambulances down at the scene, along with two fire trucks, one of the fire company's small buggy units (I can't think now what it is called) plus the state police.

I subscribe to a service that sends bulletins via e-mail of calls to the fire departments around the area for accidents, need for ambulance services or fires and tonight, I received bulletins for a traffic accidnet at 1 Peale Road -which is the dirt road just beyond our street.

At about the same time, Mandy was talking on the phone to her father-in-law, who has a scanner tuned into the emergency frequency and she could hear some of the reports as they were coming over the scanner. Five injured in this mishap, with the early report on the scanner that there was one who was DOA.

We watched the emergency vehicles rushing down the road, then heard the life-flight units flying overhead. Their landing spot is about two miles from our house -across the road from the restaurant (recently closed -Jim and Charmaine's) -in a big field there, adjacent to the local funeral home.

I don't know the identity of any of those involved in this accident, don't know if the was any truth for sure behind the early report of one at the scene being dead, but we did drive up to the intersection and parked by the restaurant where we watched the ambulances coming up and switching the passengers from the ambulance to the helicopters for flight to either Clearfield Hospital or to Altoona -most likely depending on the type of injuries will determine what hospital is the recipient of these patients.

While I am sorry that some people were injured, possibly even one life may have been lost, by the same token, I am not the least bit surprised that this has happened. I am surprised that something of this magnitude hasn't happened sooner though. I wish these people had been thoughtful enough to realize the dangers that are present when driving these things at a high rate of speed along a residential street and where there could be small children present too.

Because the state police were involved in the investigation, these ATV's will be impounded and that aspect DOES make me feel very good! Take at least those off the roads and possibly ticket the drivers too. I'm sure the investigation will show they were driving at unsafe speeds for the road conditions so please, throw the book at them if it is at all possible.

I'm tired, very tired, of having my eardrums assaulted by the noise of these vehicles and also the loud -very loud -buzz saw sound of the many motorcycles that chase up and down this street too. I'm quite sure my grandson would appreciate any lessening of this type of activity too as he has several sensory issues due to autism and loud -very loud, very annoying - noises such as what these type of units give off often awaken him and that really disturbs and annoys me and his parents then too.

Perhaps, in the aftermath of this accident tonight, this street and the dirt roads beyond here will become a target area by the local and the state police to try to stop people from simple disturbing of the peace to curbing the potential for another accident to happen down in this area.

At least this time, the police can't ignore what was going on this evening anyway.

I do pray though that the early reports of one rider being killed are inaccurate and hopefully, the others will recover from their injuries as well. But in the meantime, perhaps it will cause some to recognize the foolhardiness of their actions and maybe slow down, maybe even leave the riding to day light hours as well.

UPDATE: The opening story on the 11 p.m news broadcast out of our local station in Altoona said there was an ATV accident in a rural area near Grassflat and that two of the ATVers were killed as a result of this crash.

I'm a very sorry two people lost their lives in this accident and my heart goes out to their families, whoever, wherever they may be. But it also strengthens my resolve to learn if there is more that I -or my neighbors too -can do in the future to try to lessen the possibility of another tragedy like this happening again.


Keith said...

I would probably bet that alcohol was involved too. Although I do not have the facts so it would be unfair of me to say.

But if alcohol was involved...just another terrible reminder to not drink and drive. Whether it be a car, motorcycle, or an ATV.

My thoughts and prayers to those that were injured and possibly deceased, and to their families too.

Vic Grace said...

Terrible accident, it seems to be happening every day on our news.

You are not on my reader again, I can't figure it out so until I can I will make sure to pop over and see you.

fermicat said...

Terrible news.

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

Many, many prayers for everyone involved.

I thought that ATV's were not allowed on public roads. That needs to be checked.

Debo Blue said...

Terrible news indeed.

SnoopMurph said...

What terrible news and I will keep those families in my thoughts tonight.

Linda said...

What a sad and tragic accident; it's scary how many ATV accidents there are and yet people continue to ride them recklessly resulting in injury or worse yet - death.

Glad that your neighbor was not one of the people who died but so sad for the other families.