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Last week's accident, which has left an 81-year-old Lebanon woman seriously injured, hit close to home for The Enterprise and its staff.
The victim, Helen Smith, is the mother of Circulation Clerk Barb Battcher. And like most small businesses, we are like a family here at The Lebanon Enterprise.
So, when word of the accident broke, it became much more than just a news story for us.
Tuesday, June 29, started out to be like any typical Tuesday here at the Enterprise. The paper was finished and had been sent to the printing plant. We were already preparing the next week's edition. Barb had just returned to work from having lunch with her mother and father, Tommy, who was celebrating his 81st birthday. Within minutes of returning to work, she received a telephone call, informing her that her mother had been struck by a lumber truck at the intersection of Main Street and Spalding Avenue (near the Lebanon Post Office).
It's a phone call no one ever expects to receive.
While Barb and Enterprise Bookkeeper/Office Manager Eva Jo Nugent immediately went to the scene of the accident, the rest of us sat helpless, praying for the best and expecting the worst.
We soon learned that Helen was attempting to cross the street in the crosswalk, heading toward the Lebanon Post Office to deliver some mail when she was struck by a Don's Lumber & Hardware truck. The driver, who was turning right on a red light, told police he never saw Helen.
Miraculously, Helen is recovering at the University of Louisville Hospital, and is doing well. According to Barb, her mom is one tough cookie, and we believe it.
And, while what happened last week was a freak accident, it could happen to any of us at any time. In fact, the very next day a three-year-old child was struck after running out in front of a vehicle on Hood Avenue. Thankfully, that child wasn't seriously injured.
But, both accidents involving pedestrians last week should serve as reminders to all of us to be more careful - both as drivers and as pedestrians.
I realize that accidents happen, but we can always strive to be more cautious. And, often times, it takes accidents like these to remind us of the possible dangers that exist. My wakeup call was in January of 2004, when my neighbor, Ryan Windham, 63, of Raywick died after being hit by a truck at the intersection of Proctor Knott Avenue and Main Street. Windham was struck while walking through the crosswalk, heading south on Proctor Knott Avenue. The vision of that accident haunts me to this day, and it's something I remember every time I approach a crosswalk.
Like I said earlier, accidents happen, that's a fact of life. But they don't have to happen as often. In the United States, a pedestrian is killed in a traffic crash every two hours and injured in a traffic crash every eight minutes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But, it doesn't have to be that way. For instance, the next time you are approaching a cross walk, whether you're a pedestrian or a driver, take a few moments to observe your surroundings. Those few seconds could prevent an accident from ever occurring and prevent you from becoming a statistic.