Four girls where struck by a drunk driver over the weekend in Missoula along highway 200 connecting Missoula with East Missoula. All four were local high school girls; two of the girls died at the scene while the other two suffered fairly major injuries and were taken to the hospital.
This incident has really shocked all of Missoula and I even found myself choking up over this incident. I'm sorry to admit that I have become desensitized to hearing stories about cyclists and pedestrians getting struck and killed by vehicles. It just seems to be one of those daily occurrences that I read about almost everyday as a bike/ped advocate.
But this really hit home and I can't really explain it. There have been three other pedestrians hit and killed in the Missoula area this year that I can remember and while I was angry, nothing hit home like this. One man was even struck and killed this Monday and that incident almost seems like an after thought judging by the amount of attention and comments being posted (135 vs 10). I even witnessed a man in a crosswalk be hit by a car (he ended up being ok) and I didn't seem to make much of it at the time other than to think "fucking stupid driver."
Is it the youth of the girls? Does my grief over these girls that I don't even know say something about me or the society we live in? Are we supposed to value their lives more because they are still perceived to be young and Innocent while the other three pedestrian deaths have been of more elderly people that have already lived their lives? Are those three separate deaths any less tragic and sad? Or is it simply the shock from comprehending 4, not 1, people getting hit by a truck?
All I know is, this incident has created a hole in the heart of our community and there seems to be an outpouring of grief and support to try and fill it. If you would like to donate, please see here for details.
49 minutes ago