A tragedy

Sometimes there are just stories that bring tears to your eyes . . .

A 6-year old St. Petersburg, Florida girl died this week after a tractor-trailer collided with her family’s minivan and knocked it into a water-filled ditch. While Heidi Harris sustained her initial injuries from the force of the violent rear-end collision, she essentially drowned, strapped to her booster seat as passers-by and firefighters dove into the water, desperately trying to save Heidi, her mother Luz Harris, and her 10 year old sister, Denise Harris.

The truck driver, Yisnel Gonzalez of Miami, was behind the Harris Family van, which had slowed to make a left turn into a a rural Osceola County, Florida driveway. Although apparently Gonzalez braked and steered into the southbound lane, he was traveling too fast and too close, and slammed into the back of the Harris van.

In addition to killing Heidi Harris, Luz and Denise Harris were also seriously injured in the crash.

Truck drivers simply must travel far enough behind other vehicles to assure a safe stopping distance. It takes a fully loaded tractor trailer 355 feet — a little over the length of an entire football field — to come to a stop from highway speed of 55 miles per hour. Seeing the devastation that a collision of this type can cause is a stark reminder of the importance of keeping a safe distance.

My sympathies go out to the Harris family for their tragic loss.

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