29 January 2018

When Carelessness And Distraction Collide

In my high school, one of the science teachers was also the soccer coach.   I heard that he used to give his students a "problem":  If a ball is rolling at 10 mph, a 140-pound player is running at it from one direction and a 180-pound player is running from another direction, what will be the trajectories of the players and the ball?

Then he would tell his students, "We can go down to the field and find out."  For the rest of class, they would watch the team (which included me) at practice.

Now here's another real-life physics problem, albeit without much humor:  A woman is driving a Buick at 62 MPH in a 45 MPH zone.  She picks up her cell phone.  

What will happen to the cyclist who just happens to be riding along the same road, in the same direction?

Jeffrey Gordon Pierce

Well, the answer to that one is grim, to say the least.  Jeffrey Gordon Pierce, a 53-year-old teacher at the Inman (South Carolina) Intermediate School was thrown off his bike after he was hit by said Buick, driven by Heather Renee Hall, an Inman resident.

Heather Renee Hall

Well, she was an Inman resident until yesterday.  Her new residence, for now, is the Spartanburg County Detention Center.  Jeffrey Gordon Pierce, meanwhile, is in the South Carolina earth:  He died at the scene of the crash.

And, yes, he wore a helmet.  Even that wasn't enough to prevent a horrible crash, let alone influence its outcome, when carelessness and distraction collided.  


  1. Personal mobile phones have turned out to be a menace in so many ways!

  2. ...and still the paper reports this as an "accident."
    This happened in July. What were her consequences for this crash?

  3. Mike--It bothers me, too, that incidents like these are reported as "accidents". An accident is not preventable. Jeffrey Pierce's death could have been, had Ms. Hall not used her cell phone while driving 17 MPH over the speed limit.

    Right now, she's in jail. I don't know what's in store for her. Whatever it is, it won't bring Jeffrey Pierce back!

  4. I didn't see the word "accident" in any of the links. I DID find that word in the statement released by the school district. While I found helmet info, I didn't find anything to indicate whether the cyclist was hugging the right side of the lane as is typical. Either way, there was no real need for her to text while speeding. Her kids and his family will pay the price for her reckless neglect.

  5. Steve--"Her kids and his family will pay the price for her reckless neglect." Exactly!