|The first story on Sunday|
One teenager died and four others were hospitalized early Saturday morning after a car they were in hit a tree in South Salem, police said.[italics added]And from today:
When a black sedan rammed into a tree, South Salem resident Christian Turner thought it was the sound of a bomb going off.Even though the driver was a young person who made a grievous error in judgement, who did the kind of dumb thing that teenagers just inherently do, the set of driving decisions had life-shattering consequences.
Turner, 42, and his partner were in their backyard early Saturday when they heard a car accelerate, followed by a loud explosion. [italics added]
When we report stories and ascribe agency to an automobile, refuse to focus on the human agent and choose not to say "after the driver lost control and hit a tree at high speed," we contribute to the autoist culture that minimizes the lethality and dangers of driving. It's not until the ninth paragraph in the second story that we get to "the driver" and agent in charge of the vehicle. The first story on Sunday never once mentions a driver in charge. "It's framing traffic deaths as things that kind of happen..."
|Columbia Journalism Review|
Police said speed appears to be a contributing factor in the crash....
Milroy and Turner said this isn’t the first crash they’ve witnessed on the same street. They estimate there were at least five last year.
The couple has expressed their concern to City Council and the Salem Police Department.
Milroy, her partner and other neighbors hope to resolve the speed issue with speed bumps.
“People are blowing right through this road,” Milroy said. “It’s an ongoing problem.”
|Crash scene from Salem Police|
|Trees, but no parking; a double-yellow and bike lanes|
As for the driver, and urge for tact in not demonizing him or her, it's instructive to remember that Mark Hatfield - yes, that Mark Hatfield, Governor and Senator - struck and killed a little girl at her mail box on Skyline Road near Liberty when he was a teen in 1940. A civil case went to the Oregon Supreme Court. See more at Lane v. Hatfield, 173 Or. 79, 143 P.2d 230. He went on to lead an uncommon life.
This post may be updated as the crash investigation releases information. (See previous notes on erasing the driver here.)