This past Monday, three male students attending Beech High School were leaving school. They were a few miles down the road when they crossed lanes on the two-lane road and crashed into an oncoming vehicle. The only person in the oncoming car was the driver, a woman. She was wearing her seat belt, and was treated and released the next day. One of the three boys, a boy by the name of Damon, age 17, died at the scene of the accident. Damon wasn't wearing a seat belt. The other two boys, two brothers of ages 17 and 15, also neglected to wear seat belts. Thursday, I had heard that they were still in the hospital, and one boy was still in a coma. My mom informed me after church this morning that the 15 year old passed away Friday night. The other one, the older brother and the driver, has now made a decision that impacted dozens, even hundreds, of lives. He will live the rest of his life with the deaths of his friend and younger brother on his head. I cannot begin to imagine the pain and turmoil that the families and friends of these boys must be feeling.
Beech High is one mile from my house, and many friends attend Beech, so this accident hits close to home for me. I have also driven through five accidents these past two weeks. It is highly unusual to drive slowly by the scene of several smashed cars, or to see the results of a rear end accident, or to drive by a jeep smashed into a tree just off the road and see an older teenager standing beside it talking into his cell phone. In the last few months, a dozen or so people have died in Old Hickory Lake and in the surrounding lakes. There is a sign positioned beside the boat ramp/dock that we put our boat in. It reads:
Number of people drowned not wearing life jackets in this lake: 203
Number of people that drowned while wearing life jackets: 0
Do the math and add about a dozen deaths to the top count. Do you see the importance of vehicular safety? All of these accidents in Hendersonville have made me realize even more the great importance of vehicle safety. Imagine with me, for a moment, the different results of the accident if all three boys had been wearing seat belts. Imagine with me, for a moment, the different results if these 215 people would have simply worn a life jacket. Hundreds and hundreds of lives are impacted because of these mistakes. Marriages, children, siblings, future children and marriages, job opportunities, evangelism opportunities, church opportunities, and mentor opportunities will never happen for these people. The recent accidents in Hendersonville have caused me to think of death, and how fragile this life is. Last Wednesday, a 14 year old boy was shot to death around 2:00 AM. He left the house without his mother's permission or knowledge, got into an argument with others about something, and evidently the argument rose to the level of one person dying. The boy was to start his first day of high school the following day. To quote the writer of Ecclesiastes, "Life is meaningless, a chasing after wind."