Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Life Lost (Amanda Fewless)

Life can be gone in the blink of an eye. Nobody wakes up in the morning thinking that it will be their last day on earth. For thousands of people in the United States each and every day, that happens to be the case though.

                Amanda Fewless lived her last day on May 29th 2013. She was a 22 year old honor student at LBCC. Her life ended within sight of the LBCC campus when she was involved in a three vehicle accident. The sound of the collisions could be heard from hundreds of yards away, and the accident drew the attention of many people in the immediate area.

                Police are still investigating the accident. Four people, all from Albany, were involved in the three vehicle accident; Mr. and Mrs. Vincent, Byron Martin, and Amanda Fewless.  Amanda died instantly; the other three involved are not in any sort of critical condition, but Mr. Vincent did go to the hospital for minor injuries.

The initial news reports can be seen here…

                I was outside my apartment when I heard the sound of collisions and tire screeching on asphalt. It was obvious that something serious had just happened. The sound was so loud, that it immediately drew me towards the closest intersection by my apartment. I did not see anything, so I rounded the other corner towards Pacific Blvd./Hwy 99. From a distance I could tell that something had happened almost right in front of the bark dust place. The fact that more and more people were gathering around the area made it even more obvious that something had indeed occurred.

                I quickly walked towards the scene of the crash in case somebody needed immediate assistance. As I got closer, I noticed that nobody was frantically moving around the scene of the accident. My heart-rate briefly relaxed because I thought that nobody had seriously gotten injured,  but as I got closer, I could make out the form of one of the vehicles involved, and judging by the damage, I knew that someone was probably dead or seriously injured. I asked the first two people that were standing on a sidewalk in the vicinity of the scene if everyone was ok. They told me no, and that “a lady was still inside the vehicle”. I walked over to where the demolished Geo was and looked inside and around the vehicle. I could only see parts of Amanda, her body laid reclined far backwards and to the right. Most of her body had been covered by a blanket that had obviously been draped over her by initial responders to the accident. I could still see parts of her, and knew that she was more than likely gone, but I was curious if there still wasn't a chance, if maybe someone had covered her up prematurely. I could see her blonde hair hung down towards the ground, and a dangling, lifeless arm could be seen. Blood had begun pooling and continued dripping on the pavement below. Even though I was pretty sure she was no longer of this world, I walked over to the opposite side of the road closer to where a group of people stood and asked if someone had tried feeling for a pulse. The dazed looking man I had asked told me that he had seen her, and that she was “gone”.

                At that moment, I realized that there was nothing I could do. Nobody else seemed to be badly injured, and paramedics/police started arriving on the scene. My instincts made it so that I wanted to try and help out somehow...but I knew that emergency officials had work to do and did not need me in the way.

  Everybody who had gathered around stood in shock as news spread that a young lady had just died. Feeling pretty useless and like a gawker, I walked away back towards my apartment. I prayed for the unknown girl and her loved ones and then my mind started going to work as I started thinking about all sorts of things. For whatever reason, my first reactions were to call my sister and then write Rob (my LBCC journalism instructor) and let him know what had just happened.

                After about fifteen minutes, my “journalist hat” came on, and I wanted to go find out exactly what had happened. I was mostly curious about who the young lady was who had just lost her life on that Wednesday afternoon around 6 p.m. 
Police were still talking to the people involved and bystanders in hopes of piecing together what had just transpired. I skirted the accident scene and took in the destruction. Amanda’s Geo sat crushed in the left lane of the northbound side of the road. I walked south towards where the white Nissan of Byron Martin sat. Police were interviewing him, so I did not approach him; instead I briefly looked at his damaged vehicle and then made my way back south towards the scene of the accident. I could see police interviewing the man who had told me that the young lady was “gone”. Near him and the officer was a woman sitting inside a truck. I approached the woman, who happened to be one of the individuals involved in the accident. As I talked to her, you could see the sorrow in her eyes, and tell that she was still in a state of shock. Her concern went out to the family of the girl whose lifeless body continued to be pinned inside the vehicle that was in plain sight of the grieving lady. When I asked her what had happened, she wasn’t very sure. “It all happened very fast”, she said. At one point, she just remembers telling her husband to watch out for a vehicle that was coming into their lane. I stood there and continued talking to the lady until the police officer got done with the husband and made his way over to interview the lady I had been talking to.

                I approached the gentleman who happened to be the driver of the Dodge truck involved in the crash and also the man whom I had initially asked if anyone had taken a pulse when I had walked up to the scene of the accident. He continued to have a dazed look on his face. I began talking to him, and he recalled about as much as his wife did about the actual accident.

 I asked him again about the young lady in the Geo metro and the initial assessment made about her immediately after the accident. “You could tell she was just gone. There was just too much trauma to her head”, he said.
My “journalist cap” had come off when I saw the look on both their faces and after I had talked to them. I didn’t want to ask them for contact information or any other pressing questions. All I wanted to do was get away from the scene again and shut my brain off for a minute. As I walked off, I took in entire scene one last time. It was different from when I had first arrived. Vehicles had moved, emergency vehicles were all around, the whole road was shut down, more bystanders had gathered, but Amanda and her crushed vehicle remained exactly where they had been since the crash. A yellow plastic sheet was draped over her body, her lifeless arm still hung motionless and in sight. 

          I did not know Amanda, but I am sure that I passed her some day while on campus. Who knows where she was going or what she was doing when her life ended. It is sad to lose someone in the community, especially someone so young. My thoughts and prayers are with her family. May His smile be upon you. Farewell, Amanda Fewless.

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