There was a car-motorcycle collision Tuesday at about 12:40 p.m. on Merrimac way, near the Early Childhood Lab School entrance to the Merrimac Way Parking Lot. Passersby and pedestrians ran to the scene to aid a motorcyclist who was thrown forward, off his bike, on impact with a silver sedan. Paramedics and police arrived at the scene to provide medical attention and take statements. By 1:30 p.m. the scene had been vacated and cleared.

I was a witness at the scene of the accident and so gave a statement to the Costa Mesa police. Only two witnesses came forward, for whatever reason. Within seconds of the accident, the shock felt was immediate and widespread. Cars in surrounding lanes slowed to a stop, pulled over into the westbound right lane; phones were out; three passersby ran to the aid of the fallen motorcyclist; about nine pedestrians and recently parked students were out on the adjacent sidewalk comforting each other. I overheard individuals say, “Yes, I was a witness, I saw it front on.”

It's surprising that after such a proactive response from those at the scene, so few would leave a statement to attest to what happened. Witnesses became mere spectators. It's hard to know why this was but my own observation included the premature departure of at least one witness after an exchange of words with the officer tasked with compiling witness statements. This young man had been very active in checking on the status of the injured motorcyclist, checking for a pulse, whether he was conscious, etc. As he left the scene, his arms raised in exasperation, he said something to the effect of. “Well, I'm not staying to give my statement.” Why was a witness leaving the scene without leaving a statement? Why was he made to feel so agitated?

I see that today (Wednesday) a car accident was reported by Tarah Khan, "Second accident Wednesday near OCC."  K. Bao of the Costa Mesa Police Department is quoted saying, "there were no independent witnesses." After my own experience — being one of only two official witnesses to a horrific collision seen by many and from multiple angles — I have to wonder why this is, why so few witnesses come forward in these situations. I also ask myself why neither the Coast Report nor the Daily Pilot had any mention of yesterday's collision on Merrimac Way. What happened? What was the aftermath? Why is there no report?

I feel deeply for what happened and feel no closure. I fear a life hangs in the balance or worse — which has me distraught. As a motorist and bicyclist to and from OCC, I have frequently felt unnerved by others' erratic driving.

Truly, it was a sobering ordeal that highlights to me the multiple traffic violations in and around campus. This is a matter of public safety. I believe it needs to be addressed and a plan of prevention created for our campus community.

Natasha Noriega-Goodwin


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