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January 15, 2009

Fatal racing ‘accident’

I first heard of the death of local museum operator and historian Greg Hawley on the evening news. I was surprised to read later that Hawley died “in a Saturday accident.” The article describes how an 18-year old was charged with involuntary manslaughter, having lost control of his vehicle while racing another car and crashing into Hawley’s pickup.

This was not an “accident,” and I wish the media would stop referring to these events as such. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched a campaign in 1997 called “Crashes aren’t accidents.” We need to change this “accident” mentality and, as the Jackson County Prosecutor’s office has done in this case, hold individuals accountable for their actions.

Sadly, the article further reports that Greg Hawley was not wearing a seat belt and was killed after being ejected from his vehicle, which overturned. In rollovers, vehicles’ doors fly open, and their windshields break. Unbelted occupants are more than 10 times more likely to be ejected. Ejection results in far more deaths and serious injuries.

The Kansas City community has lost a unique, fascinating individual, and it was not an accident.

Patty Logan

Saturday evening we received a disturbing phone call from our daughter as she sadly described an “accident” she had just witnessed on I-70 at Lee’s Summit Road.

She told of seeing it all unfold, with the teens racing down the highway and swerving in and out of traffic behind her, and then barely passing her only to lose control and run into and flip a pickup truck driven by a man — a father, a grandfather — returning home from work. She told of holding the man’s hand as he lay there bleeding, tears running down her cheeks as she noted this man was about the same age as her father.

Crying, she asked us, “Why? What were they thinking?” This incident will traumatize her for God only knows how long.

Fearing not for her own safety, she ran to this man. She held his hand and whispered to him that help was coming.

I have to believe that this man was comforted by her soft touch and the outpouring of love and comfort from a young girl he never knew or, as it turned out, he would never know. I am very proud of the fine young lady that we have raised.

Mark S. Wilson



It's a sign O' the times. People thinking they can drive as fast as they choose and that they are in Fast and the Furious 9.
Maybe if they started charging people excessively speeding or driving agressiveley with a FELONY that would work as a deterent. Driving is a prviledge not a right.


Usually it's called some level of misdemeanor, which to me doesn't sound all that serious. A drunk driving conviction is a misdeameanor -- in other words, bad behavior. Pffft.

Mo Woman

accident - a happening that is not expected, foreseen, or intended; an unfortunate occurrence or mishap; sudden fall, collision, etc. This is the general definition, so one could describe this particular event as a preventable accident. However, in law, an accident is an unforeseen event that is not anyone's fault, so in a court of law this event will be called something else.


A meteor falling from the sky and landing on my house is an accident. No one has control over the cause an accident.

This was a crash, not an accident, because it was preventable. A meteor is not.

Watch, this joker will say "I'm sorry, I made a mistake." No, a mistake is 3+3=7.

Jail time, license suspended 10 years when he gets out.


The Yiddish word is "umglik" (oom'∙glik), the definition is:
misfortune, accident, calamity


Hmmm...I'll bet there's a word for that in Yiddish. Man, that language has the coolest words that would take a paragraph to describe in English.

Pub 17

I think we're missing a word here, frankly. 'Accident' may be correct in that neither party intended the outcome, but 'crash' is what the cars did. There's no word that springs to mind that means, "One guy was minding his own business and got f'ed up by some lardhead doing something wilfully stupid and patently illegal." My many years of formal education fail me on this one.


When I was slammed by a drunk driver, I never referred to the incident as an accident. When his attorney called me to plead a settlement, he kept referring to it as an accident and I kept correcting him. It was no accident. It was a crash.


"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched a campaign in 1997 called “Crashes aren’t accidents.”"

Yes, they usually are. As defined, an accident is "An unexpected and undesirable event, especially one resulting in damage or harm; An unforeseen incident". I get they they're trying to highlight that sometimes, accidents can be avoided, but isn't there a better way to get your message across".

The racing kids were breaking the law, and justifiably (though sad for their lives), they will most likely be punished accordingly.

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