Tragic child death could lead to good: Mitchell

Written By By MARY MITCHELL Posted: 06/07/2014, 08:29pm

When a tragedy involving a child occurs, we look to place blame.

After all, kids can’t take care of themselves.

So, it is not surprising that the mother of Cherish Myers, the 19-month old girl struck and killed by a CTA bus on Memorial Day in the 7700 block of South Shore Drive, filed a lawsuit.

La’Tasha Upshaw is accusing the bus operator of “driving carelessly,” and is seeking at least $50,000 in damages.

Obviously, this family is devastated. The bus driver must be an emotional wreck as well.

According to a resident in the block, the toddler had “run out” in to the busy street shortly before the deadly accident, but a woman had pulled her back, the Sun-Times reported.

The second time she ran out in the street, Cherish was pinned under the bus, witnesses said.

Citations were not issued against the driver, police said.

Still, a wrongful death lawsuit is to be expected, especially since there is no shortage of ads for personal injury lawyers.

Frankly, I can’t blame Upshaw for seeking monetary damages since there were medical and funeral expenses that this family likely was not prepared to deal with.

A spokeswoman for the CTA has said the agency will not comment on the pending litigation.

But my initial reaction to this tragedy was outrage.

After all, South Shore Drive is a busy thoroughfare. Besides, what responsible parent would let a 19-month-old baby anywhere near traffic without having a firm grip on his or her hand?

Kids that young are fast. One moment they can be a baby-step in front of you, and the next they are flying down the street like they’re on wheels.

Heck, as a grandmother, I’m so paranoid about out-of-control drivers, (and there seems to be more of them on the road) I don’t even let my 7-year-old grandchild walk next to the curb.

So, I couldn’t fathom how this baby girl ended up under a bus.

But shortly after this tragedy, I happened to come across an article about Pat and Greg Samata’s $500,000 gift to “By The Hand Club for Kids,” an after-school program based in Austin.

The Samatas started the “Evan’s Life Foundation” after their 2-year-old son, Evan, was tragically killed in a traffic accident in 1992.

The family was at a café in San Francisco when Evan darted out into traffic and was hit by a car.

Frankly, I don’t know how families hold up after the loss of a young child.

In published interviews, the Samatas credited the foundation with helping them bear their grief while allowing them to assist impoverished children in the Chicago area for two decades.

“It’s a good demonstration of how something good can come out of a tragedy,” Pat Samata told DNA Info.

On Thursday, children from the “By The Hand Club for Kids” cleaned up a nine-square block area in the Austin neighborhood in memory of Evan.

“Greg and I are so pleased to see the money being used….to improve the lives of kids who might otherwise not have much of a chance,” Samata said in a written statement.

Right now, handwritten signs, stuffed animals and balloons line a fence in the block where Cherish was struck.

But at any moment, the landlord will probably ask the parents to remove the makeshift memorial. More than likely, CTA will settle this case long before it makes its way before a jury, and the tragedy will be forgotten by the public.

But when parents are out and about this summer, I encourage them to hold their toddlers a little closer.

I also hope Cherish’s grieving parents will be inspired by the Samatas’ example.

Like most of you, I don’t know why God allows innocent children to perish.

But it is on us to see that their suffering is not in vain.


Twitter: @MaryMitchellCST

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