Metcalf: The crash caused by the plague

Published 11:42 am Monday, June 19, 2017

It is late at night, I am home. Everyone is in bed as I have just returned from an anti-drug rally in a neighboring county. The phone rings and it is a call asking if I can go to the coroner’s office at once. A person I know just lost their child. No further details, just that this person whom I know well has lost a child in an auto accident. I am being asked to meet them there.

I quickly get dressed as I tell my wife of the situation. I get in the car and head out praying, no, pleading with God to allow me to be what he needs me to be in this situation. I searched myself on the way and found myself lacking anything that resembled what a mother and father could need at a time like this.

I walk into the coroner’s office and am directed to the room in the back. As I walk in, the scene is exactly what you might expect … a mother and father holding each other as they openly weep and wail as their child lies on a gurney, never again to come home. A senseless death caused by an auto accident involving the plague of substance abuse.

Email newsletter signup

I told you when I started this column that I would present every viewpoint of those affected by the plague. You may think as you sit in your living room reading this column that you are safe from the effects of the plague.

Then one day a vehicle moving at high speed comes careening into your life. It is followed by a sound you will never forget: the sound of metal being deformed. It proclaims the plague is now part of your safe and secluded life.

You have done nothing to invite this scourge into your life. Now you can never erase its entry.

Eventually new sounds barge in: sirens and people working, radios asking for others to come to your world and deal with the plague  you never expected nor invited.

For hours they work in your front yard doing all they can using all of the tools at their disposal. Then silence is around you but not in you. Your mind continues to replay those moments repeatedly. You ask God for silence, but there is none.

In 2013, 1,499 vehicle accidents involving drug use occurred. Of those, 583 people were injured and 37 people died. Three of those 37 were in Clark County.

We, as a community do not have to sit back and allow the plague to invade any more lives. We can make a difference. We can become one voice, one community, turned outward and focusing our energy on solutions to prevent further deadly outbreaks of the plague.

Ken Metcalf is a transplant to Winchester of nine years and has been working with the addicted for over 10 years. He can be reached at 

About Whitney Leggett

Whitney Leggett is managing editor of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. To contact her, email or call 859-759-0049.

email author More by Whitney