A little before dawn Thursday morning, Byron Yellowhair pulled his car to the shoulder of the well-lighted Papago Freeway in central Phoenix, got out and started walking down the shoulder. Maybe he was drunk or high, and maybe he weaved out into the traffic -- he definitely had a troubled past. But he was 24 with life still ahead, dreamed of becoming a teacher back home on the Navajo reservation. He was an individual sacred to God.
Hit so many times, by so many cars, he was dismembered to an extent that even hardened DPS officers had never seen before.
The Republic reported, "officials said they will likely never know how many cars hit the man." Bedazzled by streaming video of school lunch menus or whatever, the state's biggest newspaper pays less attention to journalism basics. So one must hunt around for the "where" (near 24th Street), and it's never made clear how many motorists involved actually pulled over to wait for the law.
Even if some did, more, perhaps many more, drove on. Phoenix has a tremendous problem with fatal hit-and-run "accidents." One family lost two brothers, over a period of years, to hit-and-run drivers. Many never seem to be caught (story idea for a newspaper, Phoenix, if you have one). I remember another case involving a person in a wheelchair. The tone seemed to be set by Bishop Thomas O'Brien, who hit a man on a well-lit part of Glendale Avenue (speed limit 35 or 40), drove on and tried to get his secretary to arrange for his shattered windshield to be quietly fixed while his car was stashed in his garage. He claimed to have thought he hit a dog.
Crisis reveals character. Had O'Brien stopped and given aid and comfort, he would have been a hero. He didn't. Yet he is only one of a seemingly large cohort of vehicular assailants. Most of these murderers seem to get away with it.