This past weekend was full of tragedy: From the mass shooting in El Paso, to the other mass shooting in Ohio, the day after. CNN reported that between the two incidents, 31 people were killed.
But tragedy struck closer to home this weekend, as well, when Lancaster civic leader Shannon McDonald died in a vehicle collision at 40th Street West and Avenue L. She had three of her five children in the vehicle and was allegedly hit by a drunk driver.
Sgt. David Jennings of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Lancaster Station said in a statement, that the children were airlifted to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles with minor injuries and were listed in stable condition on Saturday evening.
An outpouring of sentiment and condolences flooded the Valley Press Facebook page, shortly after her death was announced.
According to the Valley Press report, “McDonald was appointed to the Architectural & Design Commission in 2017, according to her bio on the city’s website.
The ‘long-time resident of Lancaster’ and mother of five — four daughters and a son — is described as an accomplished civic leader and activist who was once a foster youth.
She grew in the Antelope Valley, graduated from Lancaster Adult School and earned degrees from the Antelope Valley College and Cal State Bakersfield.”
According to her bio, “McDonald pursued her higher education by receiving her master’s degree in Public Policy Administration, and wrote her thesis on ‘Bullying and its Relationship to School-Age Suicides,’ in an effort to curtail the growing instances of bullying in the country, as well as to inform others of the seriousness of bullying on- and off-school campuses.”
Her bio also stated that she “volunteered at the Lancaster School District since 2014 and was employed with the Children, Youth and Family Collaborative (CYFC).”
According to her Facebook page, McDonald was involved with the Los Angeles County Homeless Coalition, served as vice chair of Title I programs at the Antelope Valley Union High School District and was a Board member at the Antelope Valley Partners for Health.
In other words, she was very well known in the community and her death is a loss to all who knew her.
The collision is under investigation and Lancaster Sheriff’s Station investigators are seeking witnesses and information regarding the incident.
The man behind the wheel of the full-sized Dodge pickup that collided with McDonald’s Chevy Suburban was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. The incident occurred at 12:45 p.m.
There’s absolutely no excuse to be intoxicated and driving at any time of the day or night, but that seems rather early for this man to have been intoxicated.
And the fact that it was broad daylight and he had any number of alternative methods of transportation available to him, makes it even more reprehensible. He could have called Uber or Lyft or taken the AVTA bus. He could have done a number of things that would have ensured he was not behind the wheel after having consumed whatever it was he may have consumed.
We don’t know the details, or if he was drunk, but given that he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, we are left to assume he was either drunk or on drugs — neither of which are conditions where a person should be driving.
So what’s the answer to ensuring something like this doesn’t happen again? Some might say more police presence on the roads is the answer and that might help, but it only goes so far with the resources they have and the obstacles they face.
The solution is a lot simpler and the responsibility lies within each person who drinks and does drugs: No matter what the situation, stay off the road.
There’s never a good reason to get behind the wheel when you’re under the influence. Until everyone adheres to this simple rule, there are bound to be more tragedies like this.