Patterico's Pontifications


A Sad Story (Updated)

Filed under: Miscellaneous — DRJ @ 11:57 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

I hate to post a sad story just because it’s sad, but this story is the saddest I’ve read in a long time:

“During two years in Iraq, the soldier from Fort Bliss, in West Texas, survived five improvised explosive device blasts and several grenade attacks. “A lot of people go through one IED and don’t survive,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Eugene Schmidt.

But Spc. Johnson’s luck began to turn with the last IED blast, which left him with a traumatic brain injury. Back in Texas for care at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, he was eagerly awaiting a visit by his wife and three children last weekend. But the children never arrived.”

The article explains that Lisa Johnson and their 3 children were traveling from El Paso to San Antonio when their car was hit by a wind gust. She steered, over-corrected, and rolled 4 times. Two of the Johnson children – Ashley, 5, and Logan, 2 – died in the car wreck and, as of Friday, their oldest son Tyler, 9, was on life support in Dallas.

Read the whole thing.


Update 11/5/2007: The Johnson’s third child, Tyler, has died.

16 Responses to “A Sad Story (Updated)”

  1. What a tragedy.

    What an outpouring of support though.

    Itsme (f1f2ec)

  2. It wasn’t a car wreck. It was an SUV wreck. Another example that these “safe” vehicles that people buy because they will crush a sedan in a two-car accident handle like crap, roll over, and kill the occupants in single-vehicle disasters.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (5fbe38)

  3. Andrew– if you must insert that junk, you should notice that SUVs *are* safe– if driven like something with a higher center of balance and much wider sides in relation to weight than what many folks are use to; they are designed to be usable off-road, after all.

    The lady was driving a vehicle that probably was *not* what she was most use to (since most folks didn’t learn to drive in a bronco or similar vehicle) and probably at higher speeds than it was meant for (since that’s the only way to keep from causing a hazard on major roads) and bad fortune struck.

    I have a little four-door tin car. *I* get thrown all over the road because it’s so light– a change they made for fuel efficiency. I cannot go 75 or I will actually move across lanes when passed by a truck. (Speed limit is 70 in many places here in WA, but folks seem to like the “add twenty and watch for cops” rule.) If the lady had been driving a car like mine, they would probably all be dead. If they’d been hit by another vehicle in my car, they’d be dead– in the trailblazer, they might not even be hurt. It’s a balance of risk.

    MOST folks won’t mention that, because it sounds like blaming the poor lady, and I’m quite sure that she’ll be blaming herself for the rest of her life, no matter if she should or not.

    I’ve got them in my prayers. Hope the kid and boy pull out and recover fully.

    Foxfier (290c52)

  4. I wonder if the aptly-named #2 in this comment section has any particular info on the roll-over tendency of the “SUV” in question vis-a-vis, say, a Prius. What a nasty comment.

    driver (faae10)

  5. DRJ, I appreciate your posting of this story. As devastatingly sad as it is, its a good reminder of how fragile this life is and the price that those who are in service to their country risk so very much for us. My prayers and hopes will be with this family.

    Dana (ba8139)

  6. That is very sad for the entire family, especially the children.

    It does tend to support Hitchens’ view.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  7. A Trailblazer is half again as likely as a Prius to roll in a single-car accident.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (5fbe38)

  8. Andrew,

    If you must turn this into a vehicle safety issue, then please consider one additional fact. I’ve driven that road dozens of times. There are several places where the wind gusts can reach 50-60 mph as you traverse inclines of 8-20 degrees. The road signs warn drivers to be careful but the speed limit is 75 mph and not everyone is used to driving in those conditions. Novice drivers, drivers distracted by children, drowsy drivers, and even experienced drivers can run into problems driving there – especially this time of year when the winds are up. (Its gusting 25+ mph today where I live and half of Lamesa has blown through today, and I’m on the flat plains. It would be far worse in the hill country where this occurred.)

    In other words, it happens to all kinds of vehicles and drivers. There are risks to living in some parts of Texas and this is one of those risks. There are benefits, too, like the way people are trying to help these folks out.

    DRJ (35ac59)

  9. Also, it’s far more dangerous to drive a Prius on a Texas Interstate than an SUV unless you like getting squashed like a June bug.

    DRJ (35ac59)

  10. I’d like to know more about this story. Were the kids wearing seat belts? Was the toddler in a car seat? How does Mom walk away with bruises and the three kids are dead or as good as dead?

    The first thing I thought of was the Hitchens video, too. How can anybody have faith when something like that happens? That’s a rhetorical question.

    nt250 (db86a9)

  11. Kids are not as tough as adults.

    nk (da3e6b)

  12. nt250,

    I don’t know the details of this wreck but I had a roll-over wreck 6 months ago. I was the driver and I walked away but if there had been passengers, they probably would have died or sustained severe injuries because of the nature of the damage to the rest of the vehicle. Plus, there probably weren’t airbags in the back seat and, under Texas state law, the younger children had to be in the back seat.

    DRJ (35ac59)

  13. it’s far more dangerous to drive a Prius on a Texas Interstate than an SUV unless you like getting squashed like a June bug

    Got any accident data to back that up?

    I know, I know… Facts are pesky, inconvenient things that have no place on this blog. Sorry. Time for another post from Justin about the “false religion” of global warming.

    Oregonian (89518e)

  14. Oregonian,

    You must have skipped high school physics classes.

    Good link, DRJ #14. The data has been around for as long as I’ve been driving and that’s a few dogs’ lifetimes. Especially the part about pickup trucks. They are specialty vehicles and no substitute for the good old American sedan.

    nk (da3e6b)

  15. Five IED attacks, and now this.

    Sometimes, life just sucks!

    Another Drew (8018ee)

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