I guess I am just a little numb these days. I get a lot of practice at it with all the news I have to cover. In one week I went to a two-alarm structure fire, an armed robbery of a dry cleaner and this morning a head-on collision just east of city limits on 11th Street.
All the assignments start to feel the same. I was pulling out of the Tracy Animal Shelter after shooting the pet of the week photo when the dispatch came across the scanner. Head-on collision, one person trapped and one car on fire. Just another assignment. I called the office and headed to the crash.
It was bad one listening to the dispatches. An air ambulance was called , one lane was blocked and a victim was in serious condition. I pulled up short of the crash and walked across the east bound lanes of 11th Street near lovely Road to the crash.
A Ford Explorer truck heading east out of town crossed the double yellow line and drove into oncoming traffic in the westbound lanes. The truck collided with a Ford Escort heading west into town. The impact was devastating, twisting the Escort and trapping the driver. Crews from a nearby auto repair shop put out a fire that started in the Escort. The driver, a 25-year-old woman from tracy was still in twisted wreckage, critically injured.
I've been to many of these crashes. It's a formula I run through my head with out even realizing. Pictures of the wreckage, shots of the roadway, a close up of debris, maybe a shot of the traffic backed up on the roadway, the pictures all start to look the same. if there is an air ambulance I have a shot of the victims wrapped in yellow being carried to the helicopter.
The pictures are so unfeeling. They don't show any of the confusion, the sounds the shock or despair at the scene. Maybe it's because of me. The more you see of this the more you learn to block it. You see it's a devastating crash, possibly a fatality and it doesn't seem to matter. I still take the photos, everything looks the same to me. Pictures of wreckage, pictures of victims.
I guess that means I'm a good journalist, I can push things that are horrible away from mind. Really who would want to go see someone who is injured or dying in a car wreck? That's not who I am. It's my job and I do it well I guess and part of it is being unfeeling. Race to a crash, watch someone die, back to work and go shoot a basketball game. that's the job. It just seems odd. There should be more compassion but I don't know where to place it at on the job.
Do I feel bad about the crash? yes but honestly I feel more angry that someone would drive so carelessly and subject someone to such a devastating crash with the possibility of killing them. Maybe I'm just a little bit jaded from the news coverage. I tend to see why it should have never happened in the first place than sympathy for the injured. Maybe it's just a way to keep that slide show of every horrible and bloody sight I've ever seen from playing over and over in my head late at night. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.