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Deaths could have been prevented

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By Jim Clark

There were some items in the news from this area recently that deserve comment.

BOY DIES ON HIGHWAY: In neighboring Ocala, a 7-year-old boy was killed when he was struck by a vehicle while he was crossing Interstate 75 on foot.

Take the time to digest a couple of things from that sentence: 7-year-old, and crossing the highway on foot.

There are a number of blogs going on about this incident, and they are divided into two camps. First, they feel sorry for the parents and want to help them, and second, where were the parents when this was happening.

I subscribe to the latter.

This was a 7-year-old living near the super highway. Why would you let him out of your sight? And the kicker was, the boy was crossing BACK to go home. He had already crossed the highway successfully in the other direction, according to news reports.

I feel a lot more sorrow for the boy than for the parents.

Some people are saying charges should be filed. If so, they better not get me on that jury.

There's another tragic part to this story. The vehicle that struck him didn't stop.

To me, there are only a couple of reasons why the driver wouldn't stop. First, he was drunk, or second, he didn't have a license.

Other than that, there was no reason to stop. When a child is killed crossing a 70 mph highway, it's hard to blame the driver.

But now, I hope they catch the person. It's supposed to be a dark pickup, presumably with some front-end damage. If you know anything, call the police. But since it was on a southbound Interstate, chances are the truck is in Miami or someplace like that.

HORSE DIES ON HIGHWAY: This was the paraplegic man whose horse got loose during the night and was hit and killed by a vehicle in Columbia County, just north of High Springs.

From the start this was a poorly planned adventure, despite the good intentions. The man should not have been traveling alone. He was hoping to reach the West Coast. The way I saw him traveling, that probably would have taken a couple of years at best.

Who planned the route? Why was he going up two-lane U.S. 41, instead of taking Alt. U.S. 27 out of Williston? He said there was no place to pull over between Newberry and High Springs. There are plenty of places to pull over on the four-lane highway.

Why were no plans made to water and feed the horses during the trip. Those poor horses traveling in the heat of the day had to go hours on the trip to High Springs. Evidently, the generosity of the people in High Springs helped them, only to have one get loose during the night and wander out into the highway, where it was struck and killed.

Now he wants to get another horse and try again. Animal rights activists are already lining up against him. The votes in the poll are about split.

He's already accomplished one thing ... he's called attention to his project. Unfortunately, it's unfavorable attention. He ought to stop before he does any more damage.

Jim Clark is the editor of the Williston Pioneer Sun News. He can be reached at editor@willistonpioneer.com or at 528-3343.