that guy you talk to on the phone when you see or are part of a crash. I’m the
one trying to keep you calm on the line and get the information of what has
happened and what is needed in that moment. I’ve been working in the Kansas
Turnpike’s Incident Management Center for several years, and unlike those who
experience one or two accidents in their lifetime, I hear and assist with
multiple crashes each week.
would think as someone who is regularly on the other end of the line during
these intense situations that I would become numb to what I hear. Well, that
definitely isn’t the case. While I’ve unfortunately become used to tragic news,
those calls about major incidents still get my heart pumping every time. I’ve
experienced so many fatalities over the years, many of which still stick to me.
that I still think about happened several years ago when a drunk driver hit a
family in another vehicle, killing almost everyone involved. They were just
headed to their family vacation. In an instant, the whole family was changed
because of a complete stranger’s decision to drink and drive.
the person on the other end of the phone, we don’t know the people involved. We
stay calm, gather information and dispatch personnel. But, these people stay
with us. They’ve gone through moments that are unimaginable.
urge all of you to remember - your decisions on the road affect others. Stay
alert, and don’t make stupid decisions. Traffic laws are there for a reason. I
don’t want any of you to be another fatality on a call I answer.
Neal Charles is the
Incident Management Center Assistant Supervisor with the Kansas Turnpike