Many who have been in serious car wrecks report the same phenomenon. Like a superior athlete charging through the opposition’s defence, time seems to slow down, allowing the runner to better anticipate and react to what’s coming next.
For Revelstoke resident Ross ‘Rosco’ Hurlbert, that moment came on Feb. 21, 2008, in Medicine Hat, Alta. He was a passenger in a speeding vehicle that was sliding sideways towards a utility pole. Like the athlete, he could anticipate what was coming. Unlike the athlete, he couldn’t react – only brace himself. The violent impact rocked the car, hurling it into the air, then slamming it back down on the passenger side. He was badly injured, including many fractured vertebrae in his neck.
“I’ll never forget it,” Hurlbert tells me as we stand outside of his home at Second Street and Robson Avenue. The accident has been the main source of motivation for his neighbourhood crusade.
He’s been campaigning for the past month to get drivers to slow down in the playground zone that runs along Second Street in the stretch between Beruschi Park and Community Connections.
“I’ve been doing a lot of looking back and forth,” Hurlbert says by way of explaining the neck brace he’s wearing. He’s aggravated his old injury by straining his neck while recording the license plate numbers of speeders. He admits he’s not sure what can be done with his list of numbers.
Hurlbert also lobbied to have the RCMP patrol the strip, which they have been doing over the past weeks. They were there last night making stops.
His campaign has been going on more-or-less under the radar for the past months, but it built to a crescendo yesterday when his dog was at the vet for minor surgery. It was an emotional reminder of the frailty of life and his time in the hospital.
Angry at the lack of progress getting speeders to slow down, he got in a couple of verbal confrontations with passing motorists on Aug. 23.
Hurlbert admits he lost his cool, fingering some drivers, which led to the incidents. I suggest that starting confrontations the streets might not be helpful. “I’ve already been told,” he admits. The RCMP have talked to those involved, advising everyone, including Hurlbert, to cool their heels.
Hurlbert was upset, so he also went online yesterday to spread his message on every local forum available.
Many have expressed support for his crusade. “They ask me, “Why aren’t you doing it on Eighth Street?'”
He wants Revelstoke to slow down in front of his home, and in every other playground zone. It’s also a reminder that the school year is about to start, so slow down in school zones too.
We’re wrapping up the interview when, as if prompted for maximum timing, a white Ford Ranger with a City of Revelstoke crest on the side drives past where Hurlbert stands on the sidewalk, clearly well over the posted 30 km/h limit.
His eyebrows pop up from behind his sunglasses, and he points at the truck. “See?”