Thank you to Chris Pitts for the invitation to write here.
My first post was going to be a mostly happy one about progress on trees, and I will still write that post, but as an almost lifelong resident of West Newton, I can’t ignore the tragedy that happened Tuesday night in West Newton Square, where two customers in Sweet Tomatoes were killed, and several more people injured, when an SUV coming down Chestnut Street drove through the wall and window.
I’m so very sorry for the families and friends of Eleanor Miele and Gregory Morin. I didn’t know either of them, but when this happens so close to home, it could have been any of us who lost a friend or family member. And I’m pretty sure Gregory is someone I was going to meet planting trees in April, which makes me even more sad.
Like many of you, probably, I’ve stood at the counter of Sweet Tomatoes waiting for their very good pizza. It’s been my go-to place for takeout for annual post-Thanksgiving dinners with high school friends. And even more often, I walk that bit of sidewalk on the way to Shing Yee. It’s frightening to think how much worse this crash could have been, had there been pedestrians passing by.
We think of Newton as a safe city, and it mostly is. I never imagined something like this could happen in my own village’s square, but it’s really not so unimaginable. We’ve read about tragedies involving runaway vehicles happening in other states and other cities; there’s no reason to think we’re immune. And only a year ago (February 2015), but it seems longer, I came upon this scene of a car that had almost run into the former Keltic Krust, then under renovation to be Judith’s Kitchen. I recall there were injuries, but no fatality.
Maybe there will ways to make us safer, but we’ll never be perfectly safe from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There are too many examples of that. I don’t have any answers, except to appreciate every day, and try to be nicer to people while we can.