Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wednesday's Woe - 'Nuff Said... - Notifying Parents of Their Child's Death ~by Tommy and Angie Prince

Wednesday's Woe

'Nuff Said...

- Notifying Parents of Their Child's Death

~by Tommy and Angie Prince

Five years ago on August 2nd, our daughter Merry Katherine was killed at 8:55 p.m. on her way to the beach in Alabama with four friends when the surviving driver passed out at the wheel; two friends were also killed; two survived. The teen victims all had identification on them, and the driver was also able to identify them, but


I had said to Tommy that next morning,

"Well I guess no news is good news; they must have arrived at the beach safely."

So five years ago today, August 3rd, a little after noon, one of our local policemen came to our house to relay the bad news to us... over fifteen hours after the fatal crash.

Tommy was in the back yard mowing the grass. I was at a home visit with a ninety-plus-year-old client...

It seems the local news had relayed on the late news August the 2nd that three teens from Knoxville, Tennessee (where we live) were killed while on their way to the beach in Alabama, and a grandmother of one of the (ultimately revealed) victims heard the news...

(Thank goodness we didn't watch the late news that night...) This grandmother called her daughter, mother to one of the (unbeknownst-to-her) victims of the crash... The unknowing mother then contacted the local police to ask if her child had been involved in the crash. The local police then called the Alabama police where the crash had occurred, and the Alabama police verified to the Knoxville police who the victims were, including this mother's son.... By this time, it was August 3rd. The Knoxville police then began notifying the local parents of the victims... including this mother (and grandmother), and later in the day they notified us... The third victim's local law enforcement department notified them also on August 3rd.

It seems, according to our local police, that the normal protocol is, at the very least: the police department that has the knowledge of these deaths should call the police department(s) where the victims live who would then ~in the most compassionate manner possible~ deliver the tragic news to the victims' families. And, in our case, that did not happen...

Local teenagers who are savvy to the use of the internet looked up the missing information on the internet... and discovered the truth... before we did.

In typical fashion, they passed their newfound information, this time very tragic information, on to other friends.

Many of Merry Katherine's friends therefore knew the news of her death before we, her own parents, knew...


Why were none of us parents contacted when it was very clear who the victims were, where they lived, and what their family's phone numbers were...?

Well, as we say down here in the deep south...

'Nuff Said....

Picture, thanks to TeriAnn Sargent


1 comment:

mcProdigal said...

Wow, Angie, I never had a thought about details like this. This is a great lesson for all of us about compassion and protocol.

Because of social media, we had an attempted break-in at our house and figured out who it was the next day. The speed that information can travel now is staggering.

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