Several thousand people were reminded Thursday of the tragedy that can befall any of us in a split-second due to an accident on U.S. 27 in Sebring. Broken bodies, shattered lives and twisted wreckage sprawled where many of us drive every day.
Emergency workers spent hours taking care of the injured and investigating the four-car crash scene. Wreckers slowly removed the vehicles and about five hours went by with heavy traffic being diverted onto side roads not accustomed to big trucks and bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Francis Gero died in the crash and his wife, Barbara, was critically injured. Other drivers and passengers were hurt as well. By the looks of the scene, it's a wonder more were not killed or injured.
For hours law enforcement officers waved drivers onto detours around the wreckage, which caused traffic blockages. The majority of drivers were patient and understood that a horrific accident had happened. Whatever their reason for traveling at that moment was put aside to get through the difficult circumstances.
Of course there were others, though, who didn't want to slow down or thought they were more special than anyone else. They ignored the officers directing traffic - or tried to - and further endangered everyone else caught in the same situation. It was infuriating seeing these thoughtless drivers operate in this extreme situation.
One driver tried to slip through a parking lot and then re-enter U.S. 27 heading south toward the accident. According to witnesses, law enforcement chased her down, pulled in front of her and got her stopped. We hope she was cited the maximum extent that traffic rules allow. There's no room for that kind of behavior during emergency situations.
The audacity of some people during these difficult times leave the rest of us shaking our heads. Why would someone act this way? Why would someone think the rules don't apply to them? Why does someone endanger others just to get one more car length ahead before being stuck in the same traffic? It just doesn't make sense.
Deadly accidents like the one Thursday remind us of our own mortality, and that some things in life are more important than the mundane things we are consumed with on an every day basis. It makes us pause, reflect and hopefully slow down to help get through these emergencies. Well, that's the case for most people. For others it's a time to become annoyed, think they're more important than everyone else, and compound an already bad situation.