Be careful on Cherokee RoadPublished 6:27pm Thursday, October 10, 2013
On slow news days, we have often made the joke – though a slightly off-color one – that one of the reporters needed to go wreck their car so we could have something of which to take a photo.
Of course, I never want accidents to happen.
In fact, some of the most unpleasant memories etched in my mind have been seen on the side of roadways.
The job has made me really appreciate paramedics and police officers, because for the small amount of horrifying wrecks I have seen, I know they have always seen more.
Thursday started off like any other news day. I had a few leads on stories and an idea or two for some lead art. Satisfied with the progress, the reporters and I decided to make a break for some waffles and hash browns.
Our sports editor, Ed Bailey, was scheduled to come in late because of Thursday football games. On this day, he did not join us for our standing lunch appointment.
As we pulled back around Cherokee Road and The Outlook came into view, I saw a familiar sight. Red lights. Blue lights. Pieces of vehicles strewn about the road. The confusing convergence of roads and turn lanes in front of our office commonly sees wrecks.
But this one was different. From the second I saw one of the vehicles, I knew what had happened.
“That’s Ed,” I said.
We whipped into the parking lot and jumped out, leaving the keys in the ignition.
Employees were everywhere, and Ed was hunched down near the sidewalk.
Relieved to not see him on a backboard, I instinctively ran inside to grab a camera.
As I got back outside I knew I had a job to do, an event to cover. But it was much different covering a scene that I was so close to personally.
As I passed by Ed on the sidewalk, all I could mutter was “Sorry man, I have to” before I started firing away shots of the scene.
I know there is an intrusive aspect to the press. At times, we are called to cover personal tragedies that happen in very public places.
But I have never felt such a sense of trespass as I did when I sat there photographing the mangled car of my coworker.
Ed is fine – by the way – and somehow kept a sense of humor though the process.
Before leaving the office, he posted a status on Facebook.
“At least I created lead art for the day’s paper. #silverlinings”
Honestly, I would have rather kept searching for a photo.
Thankfully Ed has some bumps and bruises, but he is going to be OK. And as far as I can tell, though the other gentleman’s car fared worse, he was up and moving around as well.
From someone who has now covered more than 6 wrecks on this 30-yard stretch of road, please be careful and proceed with caution through this area.
I don’t want to end up on the side of your car, apologizing to you as I take photos.
Nelson is managing editor for The Outlook.