By on May 14, 2014
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Two weeks ago we had a horrific accident here in Buffalo. It was the end result of a street race that saw a 47 year old man trapped in the wreckage of his car and burned alive.

 

By all accounts both cars involved in the race were out of control, careening around the city at high speed and driving the wrong way up one way streets. Police began and then discontinued their pursuit when they determined the danger was just too great but the racers continued on. Eventually, one of the cars smashed through a guardrail and fell onto a local limited access highway where it landed in astride a concrete jersey barrier and burst into flames.

Although I never met the driver involved, I think about him and the events of that night every day on my way to work when I drive over the piece of melted pavement that remains. It is, I think, a waste. A life cut short in a moment of madness, but rather than pontificate on the dangers of street racing, I thought I would offer up the event for discussion. I am left speechless when I think about how I drive that route multiple times a day. Maybe you can help me find the words…

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135 Comments on “A Moment Of Reflection...”


  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I tend to get more introspective about road rage incidents, where a flash of temper can cause life-changing actions. Just a few more seconds of self control would have made all the difference.

    I don’t get that with this type of incident, a prolonged out-of-control suspension of all regard for the physical safety of your fellow humans. All I can think of here is “Good, one less danger on the road and he didn’t take any bystanders out with him. The Universe just gave us a win-win.”

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      You have summed up my thoughts on this as well. As I read the story above, I was thinking “Good, that’s what he gets.”

      Act like a reckless fool, bad things happen. Now he can’t do that anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        My only concern: who is going to pay for the damaged public infrastructure.

        Please go to end to get that money from the pair’s insurance companies and families. No, being dead doesn’t mean you are not responsible for damages.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        And you’ve never done something stupid, or reckless? Even if you have, it doesn’t necessarily mean you deserve a fiery death.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Stupid or reckless accidentally, as a mistake? Yeah. Stupid or reckless like trying to ride a bicycle on ice? Yep.

          But something intentionally where I can hurt -other- people and/or die myself, no.

        • 0 avatar
          wsn

          @ FreedMike:

          I have never done anything stupid enough that would put my own life or anyone else’s life at risk.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “And you’ve never done something stupid, or reckless?”

          This goes well beyond the normal recklessness that most of us are guilty of at some point in our lives. This was willful, prolonged, and extraordinarily dangerous to others. He didn’t deserve a death like this, but he was doing everything he could to invite it. I am, however, genuinely pleased that he didn’t cause it for someone else, which was a real possibility here.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    i’m in two minds about this

    where i am there’s a lot of innocent victims (ie, a married coupled killed by a drunk driver leaving two kids orphaned)

    of course i have sympathy for that

    for a 47 y.o. idiot who killed himself street racing…. not so much

    and in the scheme of things, its really just a blip

    you can look up statistics and even smaller countries will often have thousands of deaths per year and billions of dollars of medical bills and rehabilitation

    this is the price of mobility

    and this leads to over-reactions where people who earn an average wage are slugged a third of that for the temerity to speed 10% over the proscribed limit

    in many ways, i want out of this

    i like to live the life of a man in the 3rd world where these overbearing rules and regulations arent the norm

    people make bad decisions and the people in charge make even worse ones in response

    • 0 avatar
      Halftruth

      My thoughts more or less. I am not a fan of the micro managed lifestyle either.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      “of course i have sympathy for that”

      No, you don’t. You really don’t care. It’s part of the cost of doing business as far as you’re concerned. Your view will change when it’s your mother or a child or yourself, though.

      “i like to live the life of a man in the 3rd world where these overbearing rules and regulations arent the norm”

      Well, there’s no reason you can’t emigrate to the low-tax, no-regulation paradise that is Somalia. Bon voyage! However, if somebody sets up a lead smelter upwind of your home or otherwise craps on you or your property, that’s just one of the many benefits of eliminating overbearing rules and regulations. Enjoy!

      • 0 avatar
        old5.0

        Delete

      • 0 avatar
        old5.0

        Because, as we all know, it has to be one way or the other. Thank God the government’s here to keep us all in line, right comrade?

        As far as the article goes… well, natural selection’s a bitch. At least he didn’t take anyone out with him.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Somalia is not a libertarian paradise. This has been debunked many times. It may not have a strong central government, but the country is still ruled by local warlords. You cannot go to Somalia and do anything you want.

        • 0 avatar
          05lgt

          Nowhere is a libertarian paradise with a population of over 1. The fantasy you cling to is actually of being the one who makes the rules. If two people have no rules, one of them will be more powerful, and the other will be subject to “burdensome regulation” in one form or another. equating the existence of local warlords with regulation is where it went sideways for me. This BS that all would be better if no one told you what to do ends with the limits of your power, remove that limit and you’re a bond villain. For a little while.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            If you are referring to me, I don’t cling to any fantasies, so please refrain from making that type of assumption.

            Regarding the example of the warlord – Somalia has been held up as an example of libertarianism in action, and how it is unworkable in real life.

            The problem with that example is that the absence of a central government does not mean that there isn’t ANY government. The local warlords run the country.

            There is government in Somalia. There are “regulations” or laws in the sense that you cannot enter the country and proceed to do anything you want without answering to a ruling authority of some sort (i.e., the local warlords). It is not a libertarian paradise.

            (The central government, incidentally, was a socialist one. So Somalia is a failed socialist state, not a failed libertarian one.)

        • 0 avatar
          05lgt

          Hello Geeber. I’m trying to reconstruct what I was on about this morning, and best guess is posting before coffee had something to do with it. I’m generally frustrated with Libertarianism’s many definitions, although in the loosest of terms I’m socially liberal and (slightly) fiscally conservative myself. Reading what you actually posted, my reply almost had to be directed at an unholy straw man I built of Tony, you and my own hopes that “good” government can do something worthwhile more often than not.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            No problem…just that I’m not a libertarian, and neither are the people currently running Somalia.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Another thing, Libertariansm doesn’t advocate the absence of government, that’s Anarchism. There’s a reason why the two groups identify themselves by different names. There may be overlap in some areas between the two, but they are different.

          • 0 avatar
            Tinker

            Libertarians are divided into Two groups, Minarchists and Anarchists. If the Libertarian believes that there is hope for governments, and that they can be successfully reduced, in size and power to cease interference in people’s lives, they are Minarchists, and those a bit more bloody-minded about governments, are generally called Anarchists. These are generally SELF-DEFINED groups, not externally defined, and they may or may not precede the names with Libertarian-Minarchist and Libertarian-Anarchist. But they DO divide themselves into those two classes, regardless of what you call them.

      • 0 avatar

        >>>i like to live the life of a man in the 3rd world where these overbearing rules and regulations arent the norm

        Go try it for a week. If you think rules and regs are a problem, you’ll really love living in a country where there is no justice at all.

      • 0 avatar

        If a society protects property rights, you have recourse against those who pollute upwind and decrease the value of your property, even in lieu of other anti-pollution laws and regulations. That point was made by one of my instructors when I was taking HazWaste mgmt courses at Wayne State’s engineering school. Even before the Clean Air and Clean Water acts and the subsequent alphabet soup of regulatory and compliance laws (RCRA, SARA etc.), in the United States there were still tort and nuisance laws that provided at least some protection to property owners from upwind and upstream polluters. Even without modern environmental legislation and regulation the United States was cleaner than the former Soviet Union, where the absence of private property rights contributed to the government literally laying waste to large regions of the country. Cf Ecocide in the USSR by Alfred Friendly and Murray Feshbach.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          “provided at least some protection to property owners ”

          The key word there is “some” and you left out a key phrase, “long after the damage was done, lives ruined and land despoiled for decades.”

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      The 3rd world where a drunk driver or a road raging maniac can bribe his way out of jail time after mowing down a family with his Ferrari? Quite.

      In the meantime, the equivalent of your nine-to-five job that earns you enough to get into a (brand new or secondhand, little difference) two hundred or more horsepower car with all the modern amenities is about enough for you to afford a twenty year old Corolla on its third carburetor or a scooter. Your pick for which serves you better when jostling for position in traffic against bus and tractor-trailer drivers who’ve bribed their way through licensing requirements and have the coordination and self-control of a six year old.

      The grass is always greener…

      • 0 avatar
        LALoser

        Niky: Are you in PI?

        • 0 avatar
          niky

          Yup. Sadly edging towards a more modern police state with laser-gun enforced limits on the highways… but there are more ways to have fun here on the road than speeding through traffic. ;)

          • 0 avatar
            LALoser

            LOL! I live part time in Paranaque City, off Sucat near Valley 6. Should be back there around June/July.

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            You seem to have lived a lot of places!

            That’s a stone’s throw from here. I live down south, outside the city… where the grass is greener, the air is slightly less brown and you can still go driving on weekends without having it become a chore.

          • 0 avatar
            LALoser

            I always blame my moving on Interpol!
            I’m with ya on fresh air. My son was born in Paranaque and a bunch of family lives there…but I’m thinking of Tagaytay someday. Nicer weather.

    • 0 avatar
      mr.cranky

      @TonyJZX:

      What’s stopping you from moving to Somalia then?

      Whether you like them or not, these “burdensome regulations” in a way, keep people from infringing upon the freedom of their neighbors as well.

      My freedom to live in a neighborhood free of a smelter trumps the freedom of that company to put a smelter in my neighborhood.

      No regulations = Free For All = ANARCHY

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      WTF does politics have to do with this? Jeez…

  • avatar
    oldyak

    What do you say to the widow??
    Most of us will never even get close to exploring the limits of our vehicle…
    And sometimes this is what happens when you do!

  • avatar
    goldtownpe

    I’m just glad that innocent bystanders were not hurt.

    A side note: it’s amazing how often the term “cement” is misused. Cement is the binder material used in a type of concrete.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    I’m reminded of a piece Aaron Sorkin wrote for Time magazine on the death of his friend, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Sorkin remembered a time when Hoffman said, “‘If one of us dies of an overdose, probably 10 people who were about to won’t.’ He meant that our deaths would make news and maybe scare someone clean.”

    I hope that this incident evokes a similar response.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    One would hope that by 47 years old, a person has realized that they are mortal and the end isn’t that far away.

    The cynical side of me agrees with @30-mile fetch and makes me wonder why we as a society spend so much time fighting Darwin.

    He did leave victims in his wake. Friends and family will morn his passing and there will be many like the author who will feel a sense of trauma and loss each time they pass the crash site.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I used to be out of control and do horrible things behind a wheel. The worst of which, I didn’t get caught doing, but I am thankful no one got killed. It was really bad, and involved tearing through red lights at over double the speed limit. My road rage was out of control back then.

    Finally getting popped doing 92 in a 45 and having 1 year in prison hanging over my head like the sword of Damocles was the one thing that broke me. That was 10 years ago, and I still see it all as clear as if it was yesterday. Ugh, talk about young and stupid!

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      +1 in my teens and early 20’s this I used to think stuff like this was bad-ass — and truthfully came inches from a single car accident that would have seen me a similar fate to that described here. As an older man I fully wish I could go back and beat some sense into the younger me for stupid things like this.

      As others have said above, if you’re 47 years old and still doing stuff like this, damn. No one deserves something like this to happen to them, but if your an adult of reasonable intelligence, who has managed to make it through half your life, and you still do something this stupid then you know what’s in play and you’re coming as close as possible…

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        What do you mean, of course he deserved it. Taking unnecessary, illegal risks can lead to an unnecessary, catastrophic result. He didn’t respect the laws of the road, other people, himself, or the limits of his car. Result.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Hansen

      I had a similar experience. Twenty-eight years ago, I got popped riding my sportbike like an idiot (weaving, hitting triple digits) on route 128 outside Boston. The State Cop wrote me a speeding ticket when he could have easily arrested me. He didn’t say a word to me. I sat there waiting to receive the ticket thinking about how stupid I had been. That was the last time I rode or drove like that. To this day, I remain thankful to him for giving me a second chance to examine my own behavior. I have been riding safely ever since.

      As Junior Brown sings in the song “Highway Patrol”:

      If you wanna race, get on a race track…

  • avatar
    mechaman

    Agreed .. if you’re still doing this at 47, man, you are lost. Heck, at 27 you should know better .. it’s not always great to be the example.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Many years ago I was driving on an open stretch of highway going about 80 when another car started pacing me. I sped up, they sped up, and for a short bit we were side by side at about 110 MPH – which was the computer governed top speed of the sled I was driving at the time. I could see way in the distance some light traffic ahead and I slowed down. I had no desire to “thread the needle” so to speak, and I had really nothing to prove. A little throttle time for fun – and I thought when I backed off, surly they would back off too.

    The other driver, didn’t slow down when I backed off. If anything they appeared to speed up. What happened next was horrific.

    They tried to weave through the traffic and far up ahead I saw a flash of lights followed by a sea of red brake lighs, and the car I was side by side just 30 to 60 seconds earlier cartwheeling in the air. They side swiped a car, then rear ended another, cartwheeled and landed right side up on the Jersey barrier, almost into the on coming lanes. Parts were showered everywhere.

    It was a very eye opening experience. If you want to swing your nuts out – do it on the track. Given how in most places in this country a drag strip or an autocross event isn’t that far away, and for the most part darn cheap – just take it to the track.

    Have never intentionally ran a read light or gone the wrong way on a one way – and never sped like that on city streets. In my younger days I was definitely lead footed, and had my moments — but by this point, one should know better.

  • avatar
    niky

    It’s not worth it. Those of us who are lucky enough to survive our stupid years with nothing but a few scrapes have learned our lessons. Then there are those who get to a ripe old age of forty-seven without ever having had their comeuppance. And when it comes, it comes way too late…

  • avatar
    George B

    Most of us have done stupid dangerous things behind the wheel. Unlike this incident, normal people are not so selfish to the point of taking obvious risks like driving the wrong direction on a divided highway or blowing through red lights in heavy traffic. Instead, we avoid endangering others by only pushing the limits at times and places where other cars are not on the road.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Oh, for Christ’s sake, because of the age mentioned I first thought the victim was an innocent bystander, not one of the perps.

    Thanks for the needless rage hormones.

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    But Thomas, you forgot to hotlink to Jack’s article where he boasted about overtaking in the emergency lane, while updating Facebook on his iPad, while getting his wing wang squeezed by a hottie, or some such ridiculous fairytale.

    Or has that appalling little piece of boasting and stupidity been excised from the newer, duller, TTAC. I called him on it then. I call him on it now.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    This is quite a tragic accident.

    It’s easy to lay blame. That should be done later.

    What needs to be done first is to understand why and what caused an apparently or better still supposed mature person to do what they have done.

    Drugs? Alcohol? Both?

    Maybe we should look at other aspects of our lives influencing our behavior.

  • avatar

    I just want to know what kind of cars were involved in the accident. Does anyone know?

  • avatar
    alsorl

    Everyday driving home I see fools racing and some texting on a major highway system in Orlando Florida, I-4. I sit back and sometimes speed up just to get away from the morons about wreck and kill many others on the road.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    Here in the southern end of NY we lost four young people a few months ago when the Golf they were in struck a highway bridge abutment at high speed. The car was crushed like a tin can as far as the B-pillar. When I drove to the site to try to understand why the Golf went off the road all you could see was the charred earth and stone wall. It appeared to me that the driver couldn’t cope with the newly paved road, a slight bend, and some negative camber to boot.

    But here’s the thing. Passing by the site, I had to dodge a speeding Nissan sedan zooming up my side mirror in the middle lane at elevated speed, and then stay clear of a young male in an M3 who was darting through traffic at enormous velocity. Maybe this is just how some of us roll.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    I can’t give you words, but I can give you perspective. I used to do similar things with a Fiesta ST through 2012 and much of 2013. I would top the vehicle out on a toll road (in another country) and weave in and out of traffic. I had a death wish and I would use my drives as an escape from my miserable life. It was a rush and it consumed me.

    I look back on it and wish I had just quit that job earlier and saved myself and everyone around me the misery. I got lucky and didn’t end up harming others. I deserved to be wiped out like the worthless narcissist that I was, no doubts about that.

    You just never know the whole story of this guy. Maybe his life was in shambles and this was his escape? We’ll never know. Rest in peace, man.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I feel like we are both former employees of the same company…

      Although I can’t say I had a death wish, I definitely had some strong moments of reflection about where things were going.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        I was a traveling mercenary. I ended up in Mexico for over a year, my employer never let me go home, relationships fell apart and I went nuts. I lost the love of my life. I wanted that pre production ST to be my coffin.

        I’m still f*cked up from it.

        I do have to admit, my zen moments were on the line, late at night watching cars get built. It would take me back to when I was child and dreamed about doing what I was doing. But dreams are just that. They aren’t real.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          That’s rough. I’ve had to make sacrifices for work, but nothing like that.

          I agree that the nitty gritty of this biz seemed a lot cooler as a bright-eyed kid, but the odd moment where you actaully do get to do what you love makes it worthwhile.

          • 0 avatar

            When I took the idea of this article to Derek, I was a little worried that was it still a little half-baked. I was concerned about the kind of responses I might get if I didn’t stake out one position or another, but in the end I decided that the best solution was to put what I was thinking out there and see what kind of discussion ensued.

            I think now that was the right answer. This series of comments alone really speaks to me because I was that guy once upon a time, too. For me, it was motorcycles – diving between cars and not caring what the hell happened. Maybe that’s why the accident resonates with me because, there but for the grace of God, go I.

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          Thomas,
          I’m glad you posted it up. I have been wrestling with my inner demons and yesterday I finally caved and sought help from a counselor. Reflecting on this reinforces the decision I made.

          No one deserves or should be in the position of putting themselves in danger, but it happens. We’re all human. Many can cast stones and judge, but we have to understand the plight of our neighbors.

          The funny thing is that I no longer live in the moment like I did when I was driving that ST. I live in the past and it’s slowly destroying my life.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            @tresmonos…Dude, my thoughts? for what thier worth?..Your doing the right thing.

            Just talking to a somebody can do wonders.

            Hang in there

            Michael

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Thank you, mikey.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Tres-

            Get better. Be glad you are out of Mexico and no longer have that employer. I’ve turned down jobs there because my quality of life would never be the same. Your story is by no means a statistical outlier.

            As someone else you had to spend extensive time in Mexico away from family and without a support system, I can understand why things fell apart. My saving grace was that the military had already pushed me farther but with a support system in place. My bad decsions just ended up getting me car-jacked between Nogales and Hermosillo.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Good luck tres, you are part of the ttac family, and your contributions are always insightful. Best wishes.

          • 0 avatar
            Rick T.

            Good for you. I’ve read your posts here. You still have a lot to contribute to this world. I was on the brink myself several years ago and was able to pull back. I’m very happy and in a much better place now. You can be also.

        • 0 avatar
          LALoser

          I worked overseas for years, one stretch was 11 years without coming back to the US. It can get the best of ya. I survived living in places like Bangkok, Kathmandu, Calcutta, Kabul, and Joburg by pure luck. The places I went to and woke up in were highly questionable. Lived in a few nice places like Auckland…2 years there made up for a lot.
          One side effect is now I have young kids at a time when my friends in the same age group have them in college at least.

    • 0 avatar

      Glad you’re doing better. I’m quite in agreement with your last paragraph.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Many people street race for the thrill and some do it for money, but I think that a lot of people street race simply because it’s the only way they can satisfy their (objectively harmless) need for speed.

    The speed limits on public roads are laughably out of touch with the reality of modern road car technology, so an urge that could be satisfied by a harmless 120-mph burst on the way to work can turn into a felony scenario in a heartbeat.

    Because God forbid the traffic laws NOT be calibrated to the least-skilled and most-fearful amongst us.

    Not to mention the fact that roads are increasingly, frustratingly overcrowded with sapient cattle, pre-corpses and Turtle Songs, which is why street racing happens mostly at night.

    Secondly, those race tracks that do exist are few, far between, charge entrance fees, make you put up with tech inspections and force you to wear “safety” equipment. By the time you get through all the bullshit, the craving is dissatisfyingly gone.

    It’s no different from having to drive a hour for a case of beer, pay $25 just to get into the store and not being allowed to actually drink the stuff when you get home unless you’re wearing snow pants and a ski jacket.

    So it seems to me that street racing, like road rage, is just an attempt to have some fun and vent some steam that the frustrations of the modern world heap upon us.

    Saying that it’s dangerous and illegal won’t make it go away – it’s a problem that must be dealt with, because the need for speed is something endemic to human nature.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Same thing as the reply to your other post. There are racetracks, you want to race, go to one. No one has a right to involve people who didn’t volunteer in a racing situation.

      To do well in racing requires rather a lot of work and discipline. I’ve always wondered if street racers were afraid to show up at the track because they are afraid to find out how fast they aren’t.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      @OneAlpha:
      “The speed limits on public roads are laughably out of touch with the reality of modern road car technology, so an urge that could be satisfied by a harmless 120-mph burst on the way to work can turn into a felony scenario in a heartbeat.”

      I can think of very few places where a “120 mph burst on the way to work” wouldn’t be putting other drivers at risk…unless you’re commuting on the Autobahn, or on I-90 somewhere in rural Montana.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @One Alpha
      I don’t know if you are trolling or are just quite naïve or stupid. Your comment can be construed as supporting street racing.

      Your comment in relation to current vehicle technology is quite accurate.

      But you negated to offer another aspect of driving. It’s actually the most significant aspect. The driver.

      You can have all the technology in the world, but if you lack the education to safely manage this technology you will kill yourself and possibly others’.

      Driver education in the US is not comprehensive enough. This can be proven by your much higher fatality rates than you competitors.

      You will not stop all of the carnage because people do think like you. That is to put at risk others. But you can reduce this type of behavior by education and penalising the offenders harshly, ie, crushing their cars, irrespective of debt owing and placing them in prison.

      It seems people with the mentality of this driver only respect fear.

      I do hope that isn’t your view, because if it is you are a real loser.

  • avatar
    mikey

    10 years ago, maybe 11, coming home from GM afternoon shift. We would all stop and get the “Wing and Beer” special at the local bar. 3 pints, and a bunch of wings, over an hour or so. The roads were snow covered, and more coming down. Too much brake going into a curve, I couldn’t recover in time. The Grand Am hit the curb with the wheels turned, bounced around a bit, and stopped sideways on the street. The steering wheel was at a goofy angle. I knew I’d bent at least one rim.

    Things got worse in the form of a big Crown Vic with blue lights flashing. I blew 0.5. In those days that meant 24 hr suspension, and your car impounded.

    Lucky for me it was an older cop. He told me to walk home {about 1/2 a mile} He even allowed me to have my car towed to the local Pontiac dealer. Not before he sat me in the cruiser, and give me a first class reaming out. The jist of his lecture was something to the effect of “a guy your age should know better”

    Of course then I get a similar lecture from wifey, at 7:00 AM. “MICHAEL! your car is not in the driveway”.

    I needed to bum a ride to work for two days. The dealer only had my wifes work number. As I recall the estimate beat the crap out of a “G note”. Once again, wifey was not impressed.

    However, it could of been a lot worse. It may of been late in life, but I learned a tough lesson.

    It stuck with me

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I got pulled over the night I discovered Long Island iced teas. No way I’d have passed a breath test, and a friend of mine had just gone through the DUI wringer. But I was wearing a suit, clean cut, and the cop wrote me up for 5 mph over the limit and sent me on my way. That “Oh shit!” moment was a huge wake up call, that was the last time I drove drunk.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      “It may of been late in life, but I learned a tough lesson.”

      Yep, always use studded winter tires in those conditions.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    I’m going to be the Devil’s Advocate here, the Heartless Monster, the Cold Unfeeling Brute, the Child Hater, but I feel like I have to defend SOME of this stuff to a certain degree.

    Yes, street racing is dangerous. No, I don’t do it myself and I never have. Yes, it can have tragic consequences.

    But it seems to me that street racing is like smoking, going to the shooting range, skiing, extreme sports and all the other fun, “dangerous” things that are under attack by people who wield the phrase “What If?” like a blunt instrument because they’re possessed of a desire to make the world into some kind of Star Trek utopia of peaceful, compliant little people-bots who will do whatever they’re told. A world of Beige.

    Literally EVERY single human activity has the potential to infringe on somebody else’s interests, rights, personal safety or whatever and cause a problem. Doesn’t matter if it’s having children, walking your dog, driving to the movie theater, drinking a Coke or building a model kit.

    To live is to risk, and just because an activity is “dangerous” is no reason to self-righteously crusade against it or try to have it legislated out of existence.

    Because ALL human activities are dangerous – to ourselves and others – depending on how one defines “dangerous” and where your risk threshold is set.

    Phrases like “What if it were YOUR sister?” and “Think of the children!” are hateful and obnoxious because they’re thought-terminating cliches designed to prevent rational debate about limits, laws and what is allowable and what isn’t.

    And the people who deploy them are well-known for encouraging the Mob Mentality to grab “What If?” and stampede for the horizon with it.

    Humans are inherently dangerous beings who need their “hit” of potentially-harmful fun – fun that can USUALLY fits into the cracks and crevices of life anyway.

    How many times can a person smoke and not die? How many times can a person drive fast, go rock climbing, shoot a rifle, inhale glue fumes while building a model, risk being crushed under a car by a faulty hydraulic lift and literally a million other things? But we still do them.

    But the sick thing is that life’s not safe, and we ALL die of something eventually.

    Personally, I don’t want to live in a world where I’m not allowed to do something, something that’s really not a big deal like smoking, because someone MIGHT get hurt, even if it’s myself.

    Humans NEED to be “unsafe.” A safe life has no meaning and no motivation.

    The alternative is to give the State the power to criminalize EVERYTHING in the name of Safety. That’s how civilizations die.

    Better the deaths of individuals due to abuses of freedom by other individuals, than the death of an entire civilization due to abuses of power by the State.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Nah, street racing is reckless, stupid, and weenie. You want to go racing, there are racetracks where everyone there knows what the risks are and has willingly accepted them. This *hole could have involved people who didn’t volunteer for the duty.

      When we get in our cars and head down the roadway, we all accept the inherent risk in using an automobile. But it is also each of our responsibility to operate that vehicle within the norms of traffic law and expected behavior. Someone who is racing is far outside of those norms and is unjustifiably risking other people’s well being.

      You want to go fast, there are race tracks. You want risk, try base jumping, at least then if you bounce you only take yourself out.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        What if there is no racetrack, though?

        • 0 avatar
          darkwing

          Build one.

        • 0 avatar
          niky

          “What if there is no racetrack, though?”

          If there is no local gym with a boxing ring, do we go out picking fights with random strangers?

          If there is no local shooting range, do we set some cans up in an inner-city alley and start blasting away?

          Just because you carry your fists (and possibly your gun) around with you at all times, doesn’t give you license to use them wherever and whenever you want to.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I’m not trying to say that absence of a race track makes street racing acceptable, but maybe, just maybe, people who don’t have access to a constructive way of handling their speed impulses might be more likely to street race.

            Me, I get my fill blasting down back roads at 50 mph. On dry sunny days only. And only if there’s nobody in front of me.

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            I’m with you on providing venues, but sadly, high costs and litigation make it difficult.

            Mandatory go-kart tracks in every town would be nice. A good high-powered kart will give you more thrills behind the wheel than you know what to do with.

            Then there are other outlets, like arcades, video games, cycling.

            We, as a species, have learned to sublimate our urge to smash in our neighbors’ faces every morning when they look at us funny. It’s our responsibility as a civilized species to find a way to do the same for the urge to throw a giant metal box at them every morning on the way to work, too.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          A: There are plenty of race tracks.
          B: if you live where there isn’t one, you still have no business risking other people’s well being by street racing.

      • 0 avatar
        niky

        No one can stop you from cycling, motorbiking, hang-gliding, base jumping (well, they can stop you from jumping off their private property), free-diving or rock-climbing…

        The difference with street-racing is not that it’s dangerous to you. Hell, if that was all it took to legislate against something, nobody would be allowed to have bathtubs or stairs at home… it’s that it’s dangerous to the people around you.

        Racing on the track is risky. Racing in traffic is homicidally anti-social.

    • 0 avatar
      285exp

      There is no defending racing on public streets. Period.

      Yes, people do inherently dangerous things, and they should have the right to do them as long as they do not endanger others who do not choose to engage in them as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @OneAlpha – your comments raise an interesting point and it is to a degree narcissistic or selfish. The liberal or libertarian view that “I should be free to do what ever I want as long as I don’t harm anyone else” tends to be myopic in nature.

      Ever take an ethics course?

      What constitutes harm? Physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual?

      It is complex and is highly unlikely that anything “we do” or “not do” is without impact on others.

      Choose to smoke? Who pays for the cancer treatment or COPD treatment?

      We can play the odds and hope we don’t get caught. I am certain that the 47 yr. old man who died has done this before. Rarely is it a first time occurrence. You can catch a bullet playing Russian Roulette on the First spin, 6th spin or never.

      I’ve taken a lot of risks when i was young and single – 260 kph sport bikes, I drag raced my dirt bike on the strip against street bikes. I used to drive fast on and off road. Raced dirt bikes cross country too.

      I had a similar attitude but experience teaches that every action has an equal and opposing reaction. Newton’s law applies to life too.

      I cannot recall who 1st said this “If one isn’t liberal before 45 one is heartless, if one isn’t conservative after 45, one is brainless”.

      I do believe that there is a lot of truth to that statement.

      As we age we (should) realize that personal freedom comes at a price. That price is responsibility.

      I do not believe that government should intervene in all aspects of our lives but who is government supposed to represent?

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “But it seems to me that street racing is like smoking, going to the shooting range, skiing, extreme sports”

      What the hell? No. It’s not like those other things at all. Street racing endangers other people who have not chosen to be put into the situation.

      “Better the deaths of individuals due to abuses of freedom by other individuals, than the death of an entire civilization due to abuses of power by the State.”

      Talk about “stampeding for the horizon”, that’s an ad populum fallacy right there. And you don’t get to make that choice for other people. You don’t get to make it for me, and I don’t get to make it for you.

      The rest of your arguments are basically a list of non-sequiturs false analogies. Ugh.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Sounds like someone played too much Need for Speed or watched too many Fast and Furious movies.

  • avatar
    challenger2012

    I suspect this guy was an Alfa male, someone who felt superior to others, a total self-centered narcissus, who demeaned and humiliated subordinates and with no regrets or concerns for others in work or in the outside world, a 47 years old ego maniac, who died in a high speed car crash. It would be interesting to know what this person’s life was. I bet upon investigation, you will find the above description pretty much on the mark.

  • avatar
    maxxcool7421

    Not a-lot to reflect on here. One idiot lived to wreck another day and possibly injure someone else… the other darwined-out…

    As to the author trying to find the words ? “Fucktard” is my word of choice. Both these nimrod douchebags could have dropped 40$ and signed a waiver and gone to a dragstrip or a track and lived more than likely.

    Instead they chose a uncontrolled environment where they could have killed children and opted to walker-out.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Re walker out….The last I heard they were blaming Porsche? Really, so you kill yourself, and you buddy while performing “donuts”. This somehow, or other, is the fault of the car maker?

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      The supplier rumor mill says that it was a hydraulic power steering line that burst. The car has an electric gear with hydraulic assist (I think).

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The wife of the driver, Roger Rodas, is suing Porsche. (Paul Walker wasn’t driving the car.)

      I haven’t heard of any legal action being initiated by Paul Walker’s family. His teenage daughter inherited his estate, which is worth about $16 million, and his mother was given legal control over the estate until his daughter is an adult. They would be the ones most likely to initiate a suit of their own.

      I never heard that they were doing donuts. Security camera footage shows the car traveling at about 90 mph before the accident. One of the rumors is that a tire failed.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Goes to show how dangerous driving really is and how much we take it for granted.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      No, it shows how dangerous driving like a frickin madman is. The 99 percent of traffic fatalities that are due to a few seconds’ distraction or poor judgement show how dangerous driving is and how we take it for granted.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Mandalorian – agree.

      Even driving “normally”, that very act for most of us is the most highly complex and dangerous task we will ever perform.

      strangely enough, most drivers aren’t aware of that fact.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        @Russcycle- It’s dangerous because there are so many uncontrolled variables. You can’t control everyone else on the road.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          You can’t control them, so it’s best to stay away from the pack. Keep them behind you – if someone wipes out, you won’t get caught in it.

        • 0 avatar
          Russycle

          Mandalorian, I get your point, but I don’t think this is a good example. This guy wasn’t killed by uncontrolled variables, he was killed by his own reckless behavior.

          What shows you how dangerous driving really is is the person with a spotless record who takes his eyes off the road due to (insert favorite distraction here) and ends up dead a few seconds later. Happens every day.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Viz. texting-yapping-shaving-reading-navel-gazing-“doing other stuff”-anything-but-driving.

        And sometimes while following underposted numbers on a damn sign instead of what traffic is doing. In the left lane.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      Taking it for granted is a big factor. I have to think that the incredible advancements in safety are at lest partially responsible for the feeling of invincibility that some drivers seem to have. Everyone knows someone who has walked away unscathed from a seemingly horrific crash.

      I can say for certain that switching my daily driver from a 3 year car with a 5 star rating in almost every category to a 20 year old truck has made me a more cautious and defensive driver.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Reflection is good Thomas ;

    Some here get it , others not so much .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Noble713

    First off, this guy was clearly an idiot. Driving up one-way streets? Come on, man.

    Street racing is not only acceptable, but as discussed, often the only outlet that driving enthusiasts have. However, street racing in *close proximity to traffic* is inexcusable.

    Here in Okinawa, we have a REALLY tiny track up near Nago used for autocross events and 1/8mile drag racing. Such events are maybe once every 3 months. So how do people practice their car control skills in the meantime? On the streets. But in areas where there is almost NO civilian traffic to interfere.

    Drifting is done near industrial districts/container port areas, drag racing out on one of the bridge-connected islands, and mountain touge far to the north (that part of the island is mostly jungle wilderness and farms).

    If, on the other hand, you are bobbing and weaving through traffic at triple-digit speeds (even in kph), you deserve to have the police come crush your nuts.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    “Out of control, careening around the city at high speed and driving the wrong way up one way streets.”

    So what makes you say he was racing?? Sounds like the behavior of a typical BMW driver to me.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I think we’ve all been in a situation where we ended up doing something stupid behind the wheel that we didn’t necessarily plan on. Not sure what this poor guy’s deal was, but when you drive that fast on city streets, all it takes is one mistake to end up dead as hell…and the lucky break was that he didn’t take more people with him.

    My one and only real road rage incident involved some guy who cut me off. I passed him, he passed me, we kept going faster and faster, and before you knew it, adrenaline took over and we were doing all kinds of stuff that falls outside our normative behavior standards.

    The chase ended up with me pulling up in front of my house. The guy pulled a gun on me and then drove off. First and last time I ever did anything that stupid. And am I a daredevil driver? Not by a long shot. Sometimes your gland system takes over, and that’s it. Not sure if that’s what happened here, but for God’s grace, it could pretty much happen to anyone.

    Definitely a cautionary tale to remember when you’re tempted to do a little “harmless” back-and-forth with some guy who hacks you off on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      No offense, but why the heck did you lead the guy to your house? I can’t ever see myself getting in a road-rage fest, but if I did, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be thinking “Hey, why don’t I show this jerk where I live?” Unless I lived in a Marine barracks.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    At some point a MAN (ie., male, since that’s who street-races, right?) has to ask himself, would I be doing crap like this if I weren’t inside my car?

    Because for all the comments about risk and testing oneself, yada yada, how many street racers would seek thrills by going up to some huge guy on the sidewalk, grabbing his balls and squeezing really hard (but not hard enough to immobilize), and then running like hell to see if he could outrace him?

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @doublechili – all depends on whether or not the guy is wearing chaps and also doesn’t own a Harley.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      Agree. Don’t do the road rage thing anymore — well, ok, sometimes when someone’s tailgating, well, I’ll slow down a little to piss them off, or speed up to close a gap to stop them from passing, things like that. Never race ‘em though. If they get by they get by. Not worth it.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnnyFirebird

      I remember one time my mom got cut off in her Pony and stomped on the gas, maxing out the car at 160kph. It happens to ladies too. (Yep, our car was full of kids.)

  • avatar
    bikephil

    Having lived in Buffalo for 21 years before finally getting the hell out for nicer climes, I can offer this bit of solace: maybe the guy had finally had enough of living in this hellhole and decided to go out in a blaze of glory.

  • avatar
    JK43123

    While on my daily trip to work through a long-term construction project last year, I observed something laying in the torn up section of roadway and people running toward it. Later on the news I discovered it was the body of a construction worker that somehow was run over by a dump truck. I still feel sad when I pass that spot, not only for the loss but for the person who hit him and how he must feel.

    John

  • avatar
    stickmaster

    It’s not worth it, people. I’m as libertarian as the next guy, but when you are reckless on the road with cars things get ugly quick, both for yourself and others.

    There are a million other ways to get a thrill.

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    Yeah, I did dumb things like this when I was a young adult. Still feel bad for the guy and his family. That’s a really rough way to go.


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