Quinton Delgadillo’s third-grade classmate sat next to his empty desk on Monday.
Quinton, an outgoing 8-year-old who loved sports and people, should have been anxiously counting down the final days until summer vacation with his friends.
Instead, he’s dead. His seat in class empty forever.
James “Jamie” Persons, Quinton’s stepdad, was to be married to Quinton’s mom, Jasmine. Described by family members as a gentle giant, he’ll never enjoy his family again. He’s dead too.
Both are the victims of a violent motorcycle crash in which the driver with a suspended license and a criminal record sped up Route 9 in Lake George at a high rate of speed and crashed into the family while they were innocently walking along the Warren County Bikeway on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
We write these editorials every year at the start of motorcycle season warning people to be careful. To be watchful of cars and motorcycles and pedestrians on the road together. To slow down and stay in your lane, especially on curvy, hilly, unfamiliar roads.
We beat the drum year after year in the hopes that someone will listen to the message. This is the reason why.
Because it only takes a second to destroy lives. To kill children and stepdads and fiancees. To break apart loving families and ruin lives. To make birthdays about visiting a cemetery instead of blowing out candles on a cake. To turn the last day of school into a day in which counselors have to be brought in to comfort grieving children and parents.
It happens in a flash. And it’s preventable.
Government officials should indeed assess the contributions to the crash made by the alignment or speed limit on the road, the adequacy of safety barriers, and the proximity of the bike path to traffic. But ultimately, this tragedy is on the person at the controls of the vehicle that crashed into the victims.
While we’re on the subject of summer safety, it’s an appropriate time to warn people about similar dangers of boating.
On Tuesday, law enforcement officials in Saratoga County were announcing a crackdown on reckless and impaired boating.
Every year, we hear stories of people being struck and killed or injured on area lakes by drunk boaters and boaters driving irresponsibly fast. People drowning. People getting struck by propellers. Passengers in boats being killed or injured in collisions.
Can we please heed the warnings? Can we please just look out for one another? Can we please put down the cell phones and the beers when we get behind the wheel, and just think about what can happen in a second of haste or carelessness or inattention?
What happens is that people like Quinton Delgadillo and Jamie Persons die. And their family members and friends are left devastated to pick up their lives and move on from someone else’s actions. Maybe your actions.
Would you want to be in their shoes? Could you move on?
Would you even want to?