Every motor vehicle accident is tragic. No one gets into a car or on a motorcycle with the intention of dying. The tragedy is multifaceted. It affects families in different ways, sometimes killing a husband or father outright, other times severely injuring a mother or child, leaving them with crippling injuries, years of rehabilitation and a lifetime of pain. More than 30,000 Americans are killed every year in motor vehicle crashes, or nearly 100 every day.
Few deaths in Macon are as infamous at the one that occurred after a motorcycle accident on October 29, 1971. Duane Allman, leader and guitarist of The Allman Brothers Band had just returned from visiting New York. He was in a great mood, according to a letter sent to his young daughter, explaining the events of that day.
He should have been, as the Allman's had released At Fillmore East and he had worked that year with Eric Clapton on the recording of Layla.
Despite being hailed as one of the greatest guitarist of his generation, it would all come to a sudden, soul-wrenching end at an intersection in Macon, where a turning, flatbed truck stopped in front of his motorcycle unexpectedly. Allman attempted to maneuver around the truck and hit some part of the truck.
The motorcycle crash left him with massive internal organ damage. Doctors attempted to save him, but failed. His daughter writes, "My father was killed in an accident, a meaningless, blameless moment that could never be changed."
So it is with all motor vehicle accidents, where a trivial change of facts, the truck arriving 30 seconds earlier or later, Allman having left a minute sooner or driving a few miles per hour slower.
Time never changes direction. It only moves one way. But the pain always lingers, even 40-some years later.
Do what you can to avoid adding to that pain whenever you drive.
Source: Rollingstone.com, "'Please Be With Me: A Song For My Father, Duane Allman': First Look," Galadrielle Allman, March 4, 2014