On Feb. 5, a fatal hit-and-run accident was reported in Santa Maria. A man and his dog were killed.

Later, a photo was published of the sad-faced young man arrested as the driver. No mention of the man and his dog.

Well, that man had a name, family, friends and a dog named Billy. He was an honest, hard-working man who earlier that same day had stopped by my desk to proudly tell me Feb. 5 was his five-year anniversary working with the LUSD Grounds Department. He was rarely sick and never late.  

When he did not arrive to work at his usual start time, it was so out of character, his supervisor was worried. My next call was from his daughter, who told me he was the man who had been killed. I knew he ran with his dog in the evenings after work in Santa Maria. He was a buff guy who worked out regularly.

His truck is parked in the maintenance yard, his jacket and water bottles are on the front seat. Sympathy cards are on the counter signed by his co-workers, along with an envelope for donations. Cards and money won’t ease his family’s pain.

One unchecked moment from a careless young driver, and a very nice man with plenty to live for had his life violently taken from him. In my short commute to work each morning, I regularly see drivers talking on their cell phones, running stop signs or exceeding the speed limit. No phone call, text or reason for speeding should ever be an excuse to take a life.  

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