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January 30, 2006

My Heart Weeps for Their Loss

But honest to God, what were they thinking? I will state my opinion unequivocally: No 16 year old should ever be allowed to drive someplace 360 miles away.

Grief counselors will meet with Milton High School students and faculty today after a soccer player and zany anchor of a student television show died in a weekend crash while driving to Jacksonville.

Walter Drew Sanborn, 16, died at Shands Hospital in Jacksonville following the crash Friday night on Interstate 10, about 20 miles east of Lake City, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

Posted by tree hugging sister at January 30, 2006 08:16 AM


How did humanity survive before we invented grief counselors?

Posted by: Tainted Bill at January 30, 2006 01:09 PM

This was left on the wrong thread and I've taken the liberty of copying here where it belongs.

Who do you think you are? You didn't even know him. He was an incredible person and had the capability of driving that distance... it was an A.C.C.I.D.E.N.T.!!!! How can you hold it against those that love him?! He had driven far before and just lost control... I have known him for years and I am deeply hurt that you would say something like this.

Posted by: Lynne at February 2, 2006 07:05 PM

Dear Lynne,

I am sorry for your loss. As I said, I am sorry for his family's tragic loss. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child in any circumstances and pray I will never be in those same shoes. Do not assume that I 'hold it against them' for you are very wrong.

The minimum legal age to drive in Florida is 16. Even if a teen has his year behind the wheel with a 15 year old learner's restricted license, they are still a teenager. They do not have the experience behind the wheel to react with the judgement a driver displays after some seasoning, especially on long highway hauls at high speeds. There are so many variables on the Interstate, it defies description. And tragic things happen at the speed of light. Yes, A C C I D E N T S, too. I'm sure he was an incredible young man ~ friends like you are testimony to that. But that wouldn't make his loss any more horrible if he wasn't. He was STILL sixteen. And here in this blog as well as in our home, sixteen gets to toodle around town for a couple years, maybe rock out to Navarre ~ not travel the length of half the state. Because when a tire goes on 98 or a rock hits your windshield or the car ahead of you spins out, you have a chance to react, survive it and learn. I also didn't make this up:

Car crashes are the leading cause of death of teenagers in the United States. According to recently released statistics, about 10 U.S. teens ages 16 to 19 die in teen-driven car accidents every day. And even though teens make up only 6.7 percent of all motorists in the United States, they account for 14 percent of the fatal crashes. Officials say teens' inexperience and recklessness on the road have a lot to do with the deadly statistics.

...There are 1.6 million crashes involving teen drivers annually in the United States. About two out of every three U.S. teens killed in a car crash in 2003 were male.

I am sorry for your loss ~ my heart weeps for his parents. But, in my world, if someone just wrings their hands at the loss, no one learns. If he'd been 35 in that car, would he have lived? Only God knows that, but the awful thing is you have to ask.

16 is too young.

Especially to die.

Posted by: tree hugging sister at February 2, 2006 07:52 PM

It sounds like he was a great fun kid to be around.

But no 16 year old kid, kid, should be allowed to go off on 6 hour drives.

Especially when he wasn't wearing his seatbelt.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at February 3, 2006 09:46 AM

Actually it was later found out that he WAS wearing a seatbelt.. +++++++. Drew may of only been physically 16 years old.. but mentally he was much older.. So if he was 35 and driving there.. it still wouldve happened. He was the most mature kid I knew. No matter what, it was an accident and couldve happened to anyone.

Posted by: fghgh at February 5, 2006 11:25 PM

Ooh, a name caller! Well fghgh I suppose you know a lot of kids since I'll bet you are one too.
The point is not how old he was mentally it is that he could not be an experienced driver despite his maturity. Guess that point is lost on you. No real doubt this boy was a good person and no one has suggested otherwise, be real though; young driver, long trip, high speed (freeway speed), it's a recipe for disaster. Not the first time either,look up the stats. How about doing something to prevent it from happening again instead of name calling?

Posted by: major dad at February 5, 2006 11:44 PM

Actually. no Im NOT a kid.And the point is It didnt matter how old Walter was.. It wouldve happened anyway. Also.. I bet you didnt even know drew..I bet you dont know the whole story of what happened. If youve ever talked to drew for more then five minutes youd know that if somthing like this couldve been prevented.. he wouldve done it. He was most responsible person ive known.

Posted by: fghgh at February 5, 2006 11:54 PM

Well, than that shoots the huss I was going to cut you for your language. As an adult in this forum, you don't get to call people names ~ no one does. We've expressed an opinion you choose to take issue with, fine. We welcome you to argue your opinion until you're blue in the face, but you keep a civil finger on the key board ~ that's how it works.

Posted by: tree hugging sister at February 6, 2006 12:09 AM

Dont talk about things you dont know about. I dont care about my laugage. I can express myself anyway I see fit. If I wanna say +++++++.. Ill say +++++++. Besides this isnt about my lanugage..this is about drew so Ill say what I want the way I want. If there was one thing drew taught me it was to express myself without caring about what other people think.

BTW. If you didnt know Drew then you have no idea what his capabilties were. He wasnt just some typical irresponsible teenager so you cannot even place him in the same catagory.

and actually.. if you didnt know drew then you shouldnt even say anything about him.

Posted by: fghgh at February 6, 2006 12:18 AM

WEBMASTER'S NOTE: I've removed the above offensive language.

I can express myself anyway I see fit.
Anyplace but here. Here you do it civilly, or you don't do it at all.

And your repetitive comments have nothing to do with the point. No, I didn't know Drew, but, from everything I've read, I sure wish I had. He sounds as if he was an extraordinary young man and a truly special human being. Have we said otherwise anywhere? Have we said anywhere he was a 'typically irresponsible teenager', as you put it? ANYWHERE? No. In FACT, we haven't said anymore than he was a TEENAGER and you would be hard pressed to argue that he wasn't. Not one person has said word one impugning his memory. As a matter of fact, the only mention of his name at all is in the link to the New Journal's article.

You, on the other hand, have been abusive and obtuse. Bad things happen to good people, fghgh. I think because of your pain, you are reading into our concern about any 16 year old's lack of driving experience and seeing something entirely different than what's actually been said.

Posted by: tree hugging sister at February 6, 2006 12:42 AM

my point is that Drew isnt just a statisic like all those dumb links. He is uncomparable. Like you said .. you dont know drew. DONT TALK ABOUT HIM THEN. DONT MAKE HIM YOUR EXAMPLE.

Posted by: fghgh at February 6, 2006 12:50 AM

Jeez fghgh, it's late, but I need to point out one thing, since you're not seeing it clearly. NO ONE was talking about him at all, until you and Lynn dove in to defend him where no defense is needed! NO ONE was talking about him. Did you read what I just pointed out to you in my last comment? You must have missed it.

As a matter of fact, the only mention of his name at all is in the link to the New Journal's article.

My opinion in the original post said "NO 16 year old", which includes our own son when he was that age and a belief that has been affirmed by the other commentors. With not word one about your friend. As for those 'dumb links'? They speak for themselves and to the gist of the post ~ about any, A.N.Y. 16 year old's lack of experience (notice none of us said 'reckless', 'irresponsible', etc. or even implied it) on the road.

I know you all are hurting badly, but you're looking for bogeymen where they don't exist.

Posted by: tree hugging sister at February 6, 2006 02:57 AM

Think about this..

How would you like it if your son died and someone made a post about it using your son as an example, pretty much saying that its your fault for letting him drive that far. I hope to God that Jack and Ester (his parents) NEVER see these post. Each situation is different and considering you dont know the situation AT ALL, I suggest that you find a new example.

Posted by: fghgh at February 6, 2006 08:33 AM

Sometimes the truth hurts, if the shoe fits wear it. The situation is that the the young man drove a considerable distance and an accident occured, unavoidable, maybe. The whole point of this is that we lose an awful lot of kids in vehicle accidents that maybe didn't have to happen, that's the tragedy just as this one is. Don't be so thin skinned because you know the victim, this is a discussion and personal emotion has no place in it. By your standard no one could ever comment on any accident for fear of upsetting someone. You want another example as long as it's somebody you don't know. Be real.

Posted by: major dad at February 6, 2006 10:03 AM

A NEW example? How about another one?

"...died on I-10 in Lake City! Isn't that, like, a gazillion miles away from here?"

Lake City ring a bell? That wasn't your friend, fghgh. That was another 16 year old from Pensacola dying in almost the exact same place last MARCH.

It's hard to miss Kelly Hill among the dozens of photographs of teenagers lining the walls of the choir room at First United Methodist Church: Just look for the redhead who's always smiling.

Kelly Hill "Even when she's not the main focus, you can see her in the background smiling," said church music minister Rick Branch, who directed the youth choir in which the lifelong church member sang. "She was a very cheerful person."

Kelly, a 16-year-old sophomore at Washington High School, and her boyfriend, Andrew Bridges, 17, of Melbourne died in a car accident Friday night near Lake City.

She was traveling west on Interstate 10 when she lost control of her car, traveled across the median and collided with an eastbound semi truck, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Kelly had traveled to Melbourne to pick up Bridges, and the two were headed back to Pensacola at the time of the accident, family members said. Neither was wearing a seat belt, troopers said.

Going above and beyond to help people, even those she didn't know well, was second nature to Kelly, friends and family members said.

"If a friend or someone was upset, she always made sure everything was OK," said Catherine Smith, a Washington High sophomore. "She was always so loving."

Kelly's mother died when she was young, and she lived mainly with her grandparents or with her aunt, Wendy Warren, and her family.

"Whenever a foreign-exchange student arrived, Kelly was the first person to approach them," Warren said. "She was just a wonderful person."

Grief counselors were on hand Monday and will be available as long as necessary, said Washington Principal Nettie Eaton.

So when IS it okay to say "NO 16 year old should be allowed to drive..."? These were both outstanding young people, who were STILL only 16 years old. Do you wait until it's a kid who's not so popular, not so dynamic, maybe won't be mourned by so many...is that when it's okay to say 16 year olds aren't experienced enough to drive for hours on an interstate? How many kids does it take to make it acceptable to you to finally point out the truth? A hurtful truth, yes. Hateful truth, no.

Posted by: tree hugging sister at February 6, 2006 10:42 AM

Just wait. Wait until you lose a best friend. Then you'll see why people like me dont want people like you talking. The situation is different completly. Being 16 has nothing to do with Drews accident. and for the record.. He WAS wearing a seatbelt. Its unfair to say that " NO 16 YEAR OLD SHOULD BE ABLE TO DRIVE... " When every teenager is different. Some can handle long drives.. maybe some cant. But you cant just throw all teenagers into one catagory, its ridiculous.

Posted by: fghgh at February 6, 2006 03:59 PM

People 'like me'? Like 'people who care enough about something senseless happening that perhaps could have been avoided so they say something'? You mean like that kind of 'like me'?

And how was the situation 'completely' different? Explain that one. Two dynamic 16 year olds, from the SAME town, mature beyond their years, swerve into the SAME median outside the SAME city and lose their precious young lives, less than a year apart. The only differences I can see is the poor Kelly hit a semi, they weren't wearing seat belts and your friend's passenger was lucky to live through it. (It was an ENTIRELY reasonable first impression that your friend wasn't wearing a seat belt from the news reports. Normally that's the only way one is 'ejected' from a vehicle, so the epithet in your first post was completely uncalled for.) The fact of the matter is both horrible losses are virtually identical in every way. How awful is THAT?

Maybe if more people like me and the other PARENTS here spoke up, maybe more best friends would be alive. It might be unfair to say "no 16 year old should be allowed to drive 6 hours one way". Who cares if it's unfair? Life is unfair ~ like those two children dying so tragically. I could care less if being 'unfair' makes my kid mad, but means he might be around a little longer. I'll take being 'unfair' over taking a chance on something the statistics you hate and the stories that break your heart in the paper say is a risk ~ an avoidable risk. Oh yeah, I'll take it. And you know what? That same 6 hour drive is still going to be there if he/she wants to head out on the road in a couple years. I want them to be around for the trip. Every last one of them.

Posted by: tree hugging sister at February 6, 2006 05:01 PM


Posted by: fghgh at February 6, 2006 05:31 PM

Bless your heart, fghgh. You're a good friend. I know you think you were very lucky to have him, but he was very lucky to have you, too.

Posted by: tree hugging sister at February 6, 2006 05:39 PM

I stumbled across this page while looking for information on Drew's funeral service. I hope the webmaster understands how hurtful this page is to those who care about the Sanborns and are trying to keep Drew's memory alive. I'm sure everyone in the family is beating themselves up about this tragedy, and don't need your two cents to add insult to injury.

Posted by: vmg at February 7, 2006 01:23 PM

I'd like to take this opportunity to pay my respects to Walter Drew Sanborn, the great-grandchild of Albert Wass.
The people of Transylvania shares the sadness of his family.

Posted by: J4H at March 10, 2006 01:36 PM