I’d like to politely take issue with the headline in the Jan. 30 Bee: “ ‘Freak accident’ kills Parlier schoolboy, 9.” While I appreciate the article quoting the Parlier superintendent, his unfortunate choice of words inaccurately describes the tragedy. This was not a “freak accident.” It was a preventable collision.
Recognizing that “accidents” are consistently the leading cause of death for children Diego’s age (per CDC statistics), this event is neither uncommon, nor (borrowing from insurance parlance) “an act of God,” like a meteor falling out of the sky. I encourage The Bee to emphasize a critical distinction here: preventable. Failing to control speed is the No. 1 cause of vehicles to “lose control” (extensively studied). Certainly investigators will clarify contributing causes. If the driver is truly unlicensed (though it’s unclear from the article if “did not have a drivers license” meant failure to carry vs. absence of the privilege), then an untrained driver willfully operated a dangerous machine.
Until the investigation is complete and we may learn what preventable errors and/or violations were at play, I would have recommended the headline be to the effect, “Crash kills 9-year-old Parlier schoolboy.”