Editor: Early on the morning on Aug. 31, around 7:45 a.m., my wife and I left our home in Potomac Station and headed east in the right lane on Ft. Evans Road and continued up Riverside Parkway. Traffic was heavy and by 7:55 a.m. we stopped at the next traffic light which was at Coton Manor Drive. Most cars seemed in a rush with little regard for the posted speed signs and in fact the lack of regard for the posted speed at 40 mph is a regular occurrence and I must admit I have also been guilty at times.
When we stopped at the light at Coton Manor Drive, I noticed a car headed north on Coton Manor Drive but it had to stop in the crosswalk to avoid going into traffic. I also noticed a mother and her child in a stroller at that same corner looking to cross the street headed west down Riverside Parkway. The mother and child had to wait until the driver put his car in reverse to allow the mother and child to safely pass. I was initially so concerned that I mentioned this to my wife and I looked in my rear view mirror as we proceeded to make sure all was OK. Speed played a factor in this scenario, it always does and what usually happens is the car does not back up, it proceeds to move forward so it can turn right on red as soon as possible even if that means blocking the crosswalk.
Later that morning my wife and I heard of the tragic accident at that same intersection and our hearts were broken wondering if the same family we had seen earlier might have been the victims as the reported time of the accident was 8:15 am and we were at that scene only 20 minutes earlier. I later found out that the description of the mother and child involved in this accident did not match the mother and child that I had seen earlier but it brought no real comfort.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and we pray for their comfort during this difficult time. I would imagine that the driver is also in pain and needs prayer and support as this was a tragic accident as noted at this time.
I wanted write this letter tonight because as we all think of what we can do to protect ourselves and our families, I ask you to do this one thing to protect us all – “Please Slow Down”.
Our roads can only be safe for pedestrians and cars if we obey the posted speed signs, allow safe space between cars and when the light turns yellow prepare to stop. Observe crosswalks and those who use them, especially in school zones and all neighborhoods.
My wife and I stopped by the accident scene later this evening and it was sad to observe the outpouring of love of sympathy thinking that maybe this could have been avoided.
I promise to be a better driver knowing that I have the responsibility to protect your family and mine.
I ask us all to please slow down, be observant, stay off the phone, and potentially save a life and if I see you speeding, I will ask you to please slow down.
Ron Campbell, Leesburg