By Casey Simoneau
I had just gotten home from work one afternoon and had gone to attend my son’s soccer game. While at the game, I received a call that I was needed to respond to a fatality accident. I went home and put on my uniform and responded to the accident scene.
When I arrived, I was informed that we had two fatality victims and one was a child. The worst type of fatality for me to work is one that involves a child. No fatality is easy nor do you forget about them, but feelings are compounded when an innocent child becomes a victim.
This particular accident occurred when one vehicle driving west crossed the center median and struck the other vehicle. The driver of the westbound vehicle died and a child from the eastbound vehicle died. The other three passengers of the westbound vehicle (including another child) survived.
The scene investigation was completed and the traffic was allowed back through the area, but the job and the pain are still not over. The hardest part of working a fatality is the aftermath.
A few days later I met with the family of the child. The pain of their loss could be seen on their faces. The other child involved in the accident was also there and I was able to give her a Trooper Bear, but unfortunately that will never bring back her brother. I spoke with the family for approximately an hour. I answered many questions and helped bring answers to why this situation had occurred. So many questions were asked that I could not answer.
Two families lost loved ones.
They will never have the opportunity to hold that person in their arms again or tell them how they feel about them. They will have to continue living with only the memories that remain about that person. The death of the people involved will weigh in the minds of both of these families.
What is forgotten is the impact of a fatality accident on the law enforcement community. We have a job to do and we complete that job with professionalism and to the best of our ability. However, this does not take away the emotional strain that this has on each law enforcement officer that is involved with these accidents. We each think and wonder if the accident could have been avoided if I were patrolling that area at that time and able to stop the vehicle that crossed over. Maybe two loved ones could have been saved. Maybe two families could have been saved.
I view each of these incidents as a learning experience. As the motoring public, each driver makes decisions that may or may not affect the lives of other people. Whether a driver decides to get into a vehicle after drinking, doing drugs or isn’t paying attention while driving may adversely affect someone else’s life forever. In this instance not only did a bad decision adversely affect other people’s lives, but it cost the lives of two people.
There are now two families that will not be able to talk to their loved ones again due to a bad decision by one of the drivers. As a Trooper, it causes me to appreciate my son and appreciate the time that I get with him. A life can be taken from us in a matter of seconds - and as a father and a Trooper, I understand the effect that can have on a family and a community.Casey Simoneau is a Technical Trooper with the Kansas Highway Patrol