My afternoon on Friday was interrupted by alerts on Twitter that a truck had crashed into Simeon's, a downtown Ithaca restaurant. My local emergency contacts asked us to get the word out that the blocks around the scene were closed and people should stay away, and I resisted the impulse to grab my camera and head down there, until IPD told me a press conference would be held at 6.
Officials determined pretty quickly that one person had been killed at the scene, but were not identifying the victim until after family could be notified. A friend who used to work there got in touch to say how freaked out she was, and soon told me she'd heard who the victim was. Of course, I kept it to myself until we got the official word on Saturday morning.
Sadly, the victim of the crash, a Simeon's bartender, was a young mother who, though it hasn't been announced, is pretty widely known to have been expecting her second child. She leaves behind the father and their 14-month-old daughter.
I didn't know Amanda well by any means, but it's still jarring to have a person I've casually chatted with about the wine list, especially one that so many of my friends knew, ripped away in an instant. We can protect ourselves and be aware of our surroundings and eat well and drive defensively and still, with no warning, everything can change.
The incident is especially jarring for me because Ari and I used to have our offices on the second floor of that building, right above the restaurant. We used to eat there all the time, and in fact had a really nice advertising trade deal with them.
Lots of reasons this was all tough to write about, but in a sense, it was probably helpful and cathartic for me to write about it anyway. Several people over the last couple of days have told me they really appreciated our coverage, or praised my writing in particular. Nice to hear, but I wish it hadn't been because of this.