Sadly 38 people in the past two years in Toronto didn't have a chance to make it to the sidewalk. They died. For the most part their deaths were completely preventable.
A single mistake can change the lives of those who love you in an instant. For Mr. Ned Levitt, author of the book “No Mountain Too High,” that mistake took place when his daughter Stacey stepped off of a curb into the path of a car. She was just 18 when that one mistake took her life away in an instance. She left behind a grieving family.
Tonight Levitt spoke of his beautiful daughter Stacey who died August 30, 1995. The night before she died she and her boyfriend had spoke of getting married. The day she died she had put in a long day as a lifeguard. Stacey was an athlete. Although she was tired she wanted to go for a run to clear her head. She made sure she had her music and headphones before leaving her home for that quick run. When she stepped off of the curb during her run she never heard the car that was heading straight at her. She died instantly. Her father, mother and two sisters were left to struggle through their grief.
Mr. Levitt now spends much of his time working to prevent preventable deaths like his daughter's. Tonight at Valley Park Middle School parents and community members heard Stacey's story during a presentation titled, Cross the Street as if your life depends on it !, put on by Toronto Police Services. Sergeant Jack West, Traffic Services, told those in attendance about the law and how to prevent making a statistic when it comes to pedestrian safety.
In November students at Valley Park Middle School dealt with one of their own being hit by a car just outside of the school. The young girl is yet to return to school and is now in rehab.
In the past two years 38 people have lost their lives in Toronto while crossing the street. Sometimes those who died did everything right but in far too many cases they walked out into the street without paying attention to their surroundings. According to Sgt. West it's much to dangerous in Toronto to cross mid block. Many of the deaths in Toronto happened when someone didn't go to the proper crossing area to make their way across the street.
West told the crowd to be aware of their surroundings whenever they cross the road, even at crossing areas. Take a second to make sure the cars around have come to a stop. Make eye contact with motorists. Remember that you are small compared to a vehicle, being aware of where you are can prevent you being injured or worse. Remember the lessons you heard in primary school about looking both ways and back again before stepping off the curb. West spoke about watching young students and their parents crossing the street at a local school. He noted that the children were all crossing at the cross walk but their parents were going across the street mid block.
"Your children watch what you do," West said, "Be a good example on how to be safe."
It may take a minute more to walk to the cross walk. That minute is worth your life.