Point & Click
Megan, Danny and Zach.Those are the names of three local teens I never got to meet, and now, I can’t stop thinking about them. Within the past month, Megan, Danny and Zach died – on three separate occasions – in vehicle accidents.Megan Beauford, from Rifle, died June 7 after her Jeep Wrangler rolled June 5 on Interstate 70 two miles east of Parachute. She was 16. Danny McQueen, from New Castle, died June 14 from injuries he suffered in an accident on I-70 near New Castle. He was 18. Zach Schwartz, from Silt, died when the truck he was traveling in rolled on a road on Silt Mesa. He was 16. My heart is breaking for these lives cut short, and for the families and friends of these kids. I can’t reconcile it, and I’m sure you can’t either. Cars and trucks are our way of life. We jump into them and drive off without a second thought. But in a split second, lives can end. And anyone who’s been driving for any length of time knows how quickly a mishap can happen. I’ve had my share. When I was in high school, I had a car full of friends in my dad’s Ford Blazer when I went around a curve too fast for the conditions (icy road) and spun out into a full 360. No one was hurt, and the Blazer was fine – we just got out and pushed it out of the snowbank – but I’ll never forget that feeling of being out of control.At that time, I was young like Megan, Danny and Zach. If I had been going faster, or if I had been on a dangerous road, I could have died, or killed someone else. But I didn’t. I’ve had other accidents since then. About 10 years ago, I hydroplaned on I-70 in the middle of rush-hour traffic in Denver. A couple years ago, I hit an elk on Highway 82 and totaled my car.Now, when I drive, I have the sound of crushing metal to draw on, to remind me that life is so unbelievably fragile. Sometimes, when I pull up to a four-way stop, I can hear that crunching sound of shattering glass and crunching metal, and it makes me hold back. It makes me look twice. We had some friends over for dinner the other night, and we started talking about these recent tragedies. Out of the three adults and one 13-year-old gathered at the table, three of us had been in major car accidents. We’d heard that undeniable sound that never quite goes away.Only the 13-year-old had never been in an accident. And with all my heart and soul, I hope she never, ever is. Carrie Click is the editor and general manager of The Citizen Telegram, Rifle’s weekly newspaper, (citizentelegram.com). Buckle up and drive with care for Megan, Danny and Zach, and cherish every single day.
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