Dear Reader: You could save a life today. Please pass this on to anyone you think might know of someone in the Aiken, South Carolina and surrounding area who owns a white over bright yellow Toyota or Toyota-like vehicle. The following “letter to the editor” was sent to a local newspaper almost three weeks ago. Apparently they will not be using it. Since your examiner thinks it is important, he is publishing it here. If you want to call it “environmental news,” you can—it’s certainly a problem in your examiner’s environment, and, he suspects, it will be news to you. Your Augusta Environmental News Examiner
Letter to the editor, April 2, 2015
“Last Sunday night [March 29,] about 8:50, I [your examiner] was driving toward Aiken on Powderhouse Road. As I approached Pine Log Road, at Powderhouse’s intersection with an unnamed (?) road that goes to the rear of the SRS Credit Union, my headlights suddenly revealed several people standing in the road in front of me. I swerved and braked, stopping inches in front of one girl who walked from the edge of the road to the middle of my lane as I was trying to stop. She stood there a few seconds, then walked to the side of the road where she fell into a ditch (can’t say I was sorry about that.) A second girl was there to help her.
“I drove forward and parked in the Circle K parking lot, called 911, then got out of my car to walk back to where the incident occurred. Three guys who were in the parking lot had witnessed the incident—I guess they looked down the road when they heard my tires sliding across the pavement. They had no idea why the people had been standing in the road. As I started to walk toward the place where the problem had happened (less than 100 feet from the Circle K driveway) a vehicle (Toyota, I think, about the size of a Jeep Larado,) of fairly recent vintage, maybe brand new, bright yellow on the bottom, with a white top, drove by. The guys said the road people had gotten into the Toyota.
“So that’s it, right? Well, not quite. Being at the Circle K, I decided to get gas. While doing this, two City of Aiken patrol cars arrived. They talked with the witnesses and with me.
“So that’s it, right? Well, not quite. If the incident impressed no one but me, I was determined to see something done about it. Going to the City of Aiken’s web site, I found Chief Barranco’s email address and wrote him—explaining what had happened. He had Captain Turno call me. The Officers had not found the car. I asked the Captain if a bit of publicity might help, and he voiced no objection. Where better to publicize than our local traditional paper?
“So—If these were indeed teens, where did they get what they rode off in? Parents, perhaps? In any case, if you know of someone who owns a white over yellow new or late model Toyota, I’d appreciate your letting them in on this tale. Whoever was driving was complicit in what almost was a death on the highway. My suggestion to the parents here would be a year’s suspension of driving privileges (or more.)”
Well, that is about it. Why our local paper did not think it was worthwhile to print this letter and maybe save the life of a teen is unknown—perhaps they did not understand the significance of what the letter reported. Or, if it was a policy thing, their policies are strictly their business. Getting the information about this incident to the proper parent is the concern, though.
We know teens do strange things from time to time. The best thinking of the teenage brain is not quite up to par with the fully developed brain that occurs around age twenty-three (regardless of what they might think.) Your Examiner remembers some crazy stunts he thought about when he was in high school. He and his group thought they knew it all, back then! One more thing: Captain Turno did say there had been reports of this sort of thing happening in some neighborhoods. This may well be some sort of high school stunt that has moved out of a neighborhood setting and onto a heavily traveled street. It looks like a tragedy waiting to happen.
That parent needs to know what is going on. You can help. Send a copy of this article to everyone you know who might be able to get the word out. Send it to your email contact list.
You just might save a teen’s life.
Thank you for whatever you might do to help with this matter. And, of course, thank you for your continued interest in Examiner’s Environmental News in Augusta.