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Three score and ten or more

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sometimes some things Creep You Out

I have been watching the news lately. The day of the tornados was scary. People were killed in the hospital in Americus, Georgia, and it occurred to me that while I was doing high school workshops with some of my students I had passed the hospital. Not strange, because thousands of people have looked at that hospital, but somehow my brief glimpse of it many years ago seems to have made the deaths there more significant to me than they might have been otherwise.

On railroad cars they used to have an occasional problem with wheel bearings, which were called "hot boxes", which sometimes caused derailments and more often caused serious delays in the railroad schedule. Having spent some time as a teenager pouring babbit (a melted lead compound) for, what I was told, were freight car wheel bearings really made any mention in the newspaper of a "hot box" problem made those problems more significant.

What really aroused this post was the bus accident in Atlanta involving the baseball team from Bluffton University in which several people were killed. When they showed the pictures and explained the routes followed, I turned to Janet and said, "I've been there, I almost did the same thing. You turn off on what seems to be part of the HOV lane, and suddenly there are stop signs and the road dead ends into a cross road. I almost had and accident there." Jan looked at me, then looked more closely at the next news picture and said, " I was there with "K" (a friend who doesn't need to see her name in my blog) when we were in Atlanta working with the charter school. That's a terrible intersection." For a moment it was like a cloud passed over both of us. This afternoon, on one of the news channels the reporter stated that there have been eighty--plus (I don't remember the exact number) accidents at the top of that ramp, but, according to the DOT, there are no plans to change it. I can't help wondering how many hundred of people who have driven through Atlanta have sped up that ramp only to stomp on the break pedals when an unexpected stop sign shows up at the top of the ramp, and how many of them thought, as I did, that could have been me. Fortunately passenger cars are easier to stop than busses, but my heart shakes when I think of that poor bus driver seeing those stop signs and knowing that he never could stop in time.

2 Comments:

At 7:07 PM, Blogger Kathleen said...

I am also familiar with the intersection. Very odd and very dangerous.

I think that they should at least put those raised warning tracks on the road to warn people that something is coming up and needs their attention.

It is a terrible shame that lives were lost, but I was suprised that most survived. The accident looked horrible.

 
At 9:32 PM, Blogger Gayle said...

It is unconsionable that DOT refuses to fix it! GRRRRRR! It may take a huge lawsuit to get the city to change their minds on this. I'm normally not one to think of sueing anyone, but this is beyond the pale and then some. The only way the city will redo this is if it costs them more money not to fix it than it will to do the right thing. I'm so thankful that both you and your wife were able to get through that mess safely.

 

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