Ruminations

Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Forever Gone

"The police knocked on our front door and then our world was turned upside down from that moment on."
"I miss his hugs."
"You can't move on. I keep reliving that day over and over again."
"That was the last place that he was alive and I feel close to him [the roadside memorial they built]. I talk to him when I go. I tell him what we're doing for the day, if it's a good day or a bad day. I let him know that I miss him."
"It could happen to anyone in the blink of an eye. It could be anyone's child."
"I need answers. I want to be able to go to Michael's grave...[and say we found who did it]."
Kathy Morlang

Morlang
Brian Visneskie‚Äč and Kathy Morlang pose for a photo at the Strandherd-Armstrong Bridge construction site in Ottawa On, Wednesday Oct 9, 2013. The Morlang's son Michael, who worked on the bridge, was killed in a hit and run. Tony Caldwell/Ottawa Sun/QMI Agency
The municipality of Ottawa, Ontario gathers statistics that claim about 3,600 hit-and-runs annually; incidents where a vehicle has been involved in a collision; has hit a pedestrian, has gone out of control and caused property damage; and then the individual behind the wheel, ostensibly in control of the metal monster temporarily gone amok, pushes the pedal to the floor and leaves the scene, as though expunging from reality that they were there, involved in an accident, a crime, a tragedy.

For 30-year-old Michael Morlang's mother that very hit-and-run that took her son's life, repesented a tragedy; for her son it meant he would not see the sun dawn the next day, transforming him from a 30-year-old to a 31-year-old young man with a promising future beckoning down an entirely different road. It all began so innocently, with Michael attending a Saturday night bachelor party on August 10, 2013.

On August 11, a woman driving her daughter at 5:10 a.m. to a riding stable, passed a man walking alone along the side of Frank Kenny Road, in a stretch of 80-km/hr highway with only three houses on that lonely early-morning rural travelway leading to Navan, south of Ottawa. She thinks to herself how unusual it is to see anyone at that time of morning on a two-lane road in a dimly-lit atmosphere.

As she drops her daughter safely off at the stables, she thinks to herself: "I'm going to go back and pick up that young man and take him where he's got to go." That kindly impulse to do a favour for a stranger never comes to fruition. By the time she has returned to the same stretch of road 20 minutes after first sighting him, she finds his bloodied and battered body astride the middle of the road.

Planning to stay over at a friend's house Michael was dropped off by mistake on that two-lane road. He decided to walk, then, to his friend's house when he was struck.

Michael's mother Kathy Morlang and his stepfather, Brian Visneskie now mourn the absence of a young man who was dearly cherised. Their minds have been absorbed since their son's death by thoughts such as who had been driving that car, what caused the collision, and why didn't the driver stop. Did the driver stop momentarily to assess the condition of the young man their vehicle had hit, with them at its controls?

"Sometimes [not reporting to police, choosing to depart the scene, deciding to leave the injured person to their miserable fate] it's to avoid liability -- maybe they don't have insurance or a licence, and sometimes it could be criminal in nature, such as drinking and driving", assessed collision investigator, Sgt. Derek Menard.

Investigators in analyzing vehicle paint evidence at the scene of the death of the young man, feel the northbound vehicle was a product of General Motors between 1997 and 2010. But it would have sustained extensive damage and it might have been turned in to a garage for repair, or a body shop in the area, so they asked for aid in finding the driver's identity.

Calls did come in to police with tips, but nothing substantial appears to have been tracked to enable police to feel they have evidence that could be used to identify the malefactor. Of those 3,600 hit-and-runs reported in the Ottawa area each year, about one thousand are investigated by police. There is ample good reason to continue investigating this one.

Michael's parents spent some time and heartache building a roadside memorial to their son. Building crosses installing solar lights, planting flowers. The memorial site draws them daily, becoming a place of comfort to them, as the site where their son was last alive before a lightning-swift catastrophe brought it to an end.

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