OUR VIEW: Sign may serve good purpose at crash siteIt’s a sad reminder of the tragedy, and it’s a tragedy from which much can be learned — chiefly, that drinking and driving can kill innocent people.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
A sign is now in place in Mitchell, marking the spot where young Bella Morgan was killed by a drunken driver. Located at the corner of First Avenue and Duff Street, the sign is part of the “Think” program, overseen by the state Department of Transportation. It’s a sad reminder of the tragedy, and it’s a tragedy from which much can be learned — chiefly, that drinking and driving can kill innocent people. Nobody was more innocent that Bella, just 9 years old at the time of the March 24 tragedy. The signs remind us that driving requires the utmost concentration and attention, both to the road and the laws that govern those roads. We also feel the signs bring their share of heartache.
The family of the victim has the right to prevent the signs from being erected. When we learned that, we were greatly relieved, since we cannot imagine a more stunning reminder of a loved-one’s death.
Likewise, we cannot imagine a more stunning lesson for those who pass by that sign each day — that people can die from careless behavior behind the wheel.
In this case, it was drinking, driving and eluding police.
We have wondered if the “Think” program has outlasted its purpose and usefulness. We have felt that the program too openly advertises our sorrows and causes more distress than intended. Selfishly, we have felt that the signs inaccurately portray South Dakotans as careless drivers and that the signs cast a depressing light upon some areas that are trying hard to be attractive to customers and tourists.
Yet this victim deserves some sort of recognition, and we feel the sign on First and Duff will honor her memory and quietly educate the thousands who will drive by in the coming years.
Let future generations pass that sign and reminisce about the young girl who died there. Let them realize that if they aren’t careful, their actions behind the wheel can prove deadly.
And for those future generations who won’t ever know about this horrific incident, we only can hope they’ll see the sign, slow down and, if only for a moment, wonder who died at that sad place.