It had been dark for several hours before I first noticed anything unusual. Our home is a block off 15th Avenue, a busy four-lane arterial. The non-stop traffic for the last couple hours on our usually quiet neighborhood street meant only one thing; 15th had been closed by the police.
I walked to the corner and there saw the residue of the traffic accident. Three cars, the middle car cut beyond recognition to extract the driver and passenger. The severity of damage indicated speed of the kind one would only expect on the interstate. I looked upon the wreckage, stunned. Even with steel door beams, multiple air bags and front and rear crumple zones designed to absorb the energy of a collision while preserving the passenger area, could anyone in an impact that severe escape serious injury?
Most of the emergency vehicles were long since gone, the flashing lights on the remaining police and accident investigation vehicles on their lowest setting, while the survey crew documented the scene. A few hours before, had I been where I now stood, the street before me would have been chaos. The middle car was shoved under the truck in front of it. It was on fire. The driver of the truck had his fire extinguisher aimed at the burning car. A guy from the sandwich shop ran to perform CPR on one of the drivers. Fire trucks, aid cars, sirens, lights.
But the street before me now was silent.
Today, five days after, the news came quietly:
“Sub Pop exec dies in wake of 15th Ave. crash”
October 25th, 2010 by Geeky Swedes
The horrible car accident at 15th Ave NW and NW 75th St. Thursday night has become a fatality. We have confirmed that Andy Kotowicz, one of the drivers involved in the crash, passed away early Sunday morning. Police say a Ford Fusion rear-ended the Subaru and pushed it underneath a truck. Kotowicz had to be extricated by firefighters. His four-year-old daughter, who was in the back seat, was rescued by a Good Samaritan. According to Susan Gregg-Hanson at Harborview Medical Center, she was treated and released the day after the crash.
Kyla Fairchild of No Depression was a friend of Andy’s. “He was a super guy,” she tells us. She says he was working at his dream job. Andy had been the Vice President of Sales and Director of Marketing at Sub Pop, where he worked for the last decade. Fairchild tells us that he recently moved back to Ballard with his wife and daughter.
“Andy was one of those people who oozed wisdom, warmth and kindness. He had a twinkle in his eye, a great sense of humor and every time we talked he had a fantastic new band to turn me on to.” Fairchild writes in a tribute to her friend. “He loved music as much or more than anyone I’ve met in (or out) of the music industry over the years. This is a reminder how quickly life can change and how important it is to tell the people around you how much they mean to you as often as you can. You never know when it will be the last time.”
It bears repeating: This is a reminder how quickly life can change and how important it is to tell the people around you how much they mean to you as often as you can. You never know when it will be the last time.
If you care, tell them. Leave them with no doubt that they are important to you. Do not save it for a special moment, a future date. Not just your husband or wife, not only your children, but those with whom you share this life, those who you enjoy being with, those who have influenced you, those who you would emulate, who have shown you kindness, who cause you to brighten when they appear, whose company you keep, whose presence makes your day a bit more pleasant, who bring flavor to life, those you know you can call upon when you need someone.
Don’t tell yourself there will be plenty of time later.
Let no one you care for get away without knowing it.