Last week I reported on a one-car accident along Interstate 87 that devastated an extended family on vacation from Brooklyn. While it's never pleasant to hear of such tragedies, it's nice to think that all but one of the passengers in the van escaped with their lives.
Two of the women in the vehicle were hospitalized in Burlington with critical injuries. While further details about the extent of their injuries or their current status have not been released, I can only assume that they are still alive thanks to the quick response of emergency personnel, and in turn, the ability of those first on the scene to call 911.
The story brought back a few memories for me. Just over 22 years ago, I was riding in a car with my family northbound on I-87. We were on our way back from the Essex County Fair, which in those days was held in mid-July. Somewhere in between exits 31 and 32, the driver fell asleep and the car veered off into the median. I, seated on the lap of the front passenger, watched as the car did a hairpin turn and rolled down the steep embankment, glass shattering the whole way. It's an image I doubt I'll ever forget.
Cell phones were barely in existence back then, but, just as is the case today, those passing by were willing to lend a hand, and it wasn't long before an ambulance was on the scene. Those of us who were injured were able to get treatment and all made a full recovery.
Still, in most highway accidents, every second counts, and a 911 call from a cell phone could be the difference between life and death. Cell phone coverage is a necessity, not just along the Northway, but throughout the Adirondacks.
Even though the gaps are closing slowly, it's just that; too slow. The attempt to preserve "aesthetics" should not hinder the immediate and long-term need for quality communication.
Matt Bosley is the editor for the Valley News and Tri-Lakes Today newspapers. He can be reached at 873-6368 x216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.