Dispatches from a Reporter's Notebook

Searching for Answers

Posted January 15, 2007 9:00 p.m. EST

Another young person from our area died in a car accident this week.  Investigators say alcohol and speed were factors.  I think in addition to that they would add that driver inexperience almost always plays a role in all crashes involving teenagers. 

I can't remember how many of these types of stories I've covered in seventeen years- twenty, thirty, maybe fifty?  They all have grim similarities.  In most of these cases the friends of the deceased make monuments at the crash site complete with stuffed animals, pictures, notes, balloons and flowers.  This is the place were high school classmates hang onto one another and share their memories of their friend.  Sometimes they sit cross-legged on the grass leaning against one another their tear-stained expressionless faces staring into what has become a place to find answers.

I talk to the teenagers.  I go to the school and speak with the principal, teachers, and coaches.  Sometimes I make the long walk up the driveway of a family who is dealing with unimaginable tragedy and knock on their door.  I find myself doing the latter less and less these days because I know the answer is not on the other side of that door.  It's not in the pile of teddy bears at the crash site.  It's not on the soccer field behind the school.

"Why does this keep happening?"  Someone asked me in our morning meeting.  "Parents want to know." 

So do I.  So do I.  But after years of asking the question I still don't have the answer.

About this Blog:

WRAL's Amanda Lamb offers a behind-the-scenes look at what TV news reporters do, the people they meet and how their jobs affect them.