The recent tragic death of an 11-year-old girl who was struck in a hit-and-run accident near Lexington, North Carolina, is an example of a hazard that everyone should keep in mind. It’s a place where drivers and pedestrians regularly come in close proximity:
The roadside mailbox.
According to the Highway Patrol, Emily Nicole Locklear was crossing N.C. 150 to go check the mail just after 6 p.m. on Sept. 7, 2010 at the entrance to Whispering Pines Mobile Home Park. She was struck by a 2002 Acura being driven southbound by 19-year-old Chrystal Michelle Luck, news reports said.
The impact was so severe that the child was thrown over 100 feet, and her shoes were knocked off her feet.
The Highway Patrol said Luck failed to remain at the scene and charges are pending against her, news reports said. A spokeswoman for the Highway Patrol said a preliminary report indicated that hit-and-run driving was involved.
Mailbox-related crashes are common. Some facts about them from the Federal Highway Administration:
- They are more likely to happen to children and the elderly.
- They are likely to occur in rural areas.
- They usually happen on higher-speed roads.
- They are more likely to result in serious or fatal injury.
Motorists should remember as they drive that mailboxes are a likely place for a pedestrian to appear. Not only should drivers be on the lookout, but the presence of mailboxes should be a warning to slow down.
People walking to and from their mailbox should be aware that they in a dangerous place. Keep careful watch in both directions, and don’t linger in front of your mailbox. How many times have you seen people take a moment to flip through their mail while standing on or near the roadway (or even done it yourself)?
If you have kids or elderly relatives who walk to get the mail, make sure they know the rules of staying safe. Very young children and older people who have issues with memory and awareness should not be out there.
The news is full of stories of people being hurt or killed at their mailboxes. And these don’t necessarily have to be high-speed accidents. Slow-moving vehicles such as a car that has stopped and has started moving again, farm equipment, or a city truck backing up can be a deadly hazard as well, as these linked stories illustrate.