They sometimes tell us we're going somewhere far away as a joke. If you're in the middle of a slow news day, on some level you know anything is possible. It still comes as somewhat of a shock when you're handed an assignment and a city like Lancaster is on it.
It's a pretty long drive, made even longer by evening traffic.
At some point between the station and the assignment's location, I'm able to put it into perspective.
It might not be an assignment I'd hope for, but anything that's serious enough to pull me so far away into the outlying parts of our TV coverage area, well, somebody is probably having a worse day than me.
The only details I have are on the assignment sheet. A high speed police chase ended in a collision when the suspect vehicle hit another car and possibly a pedestrian.
Selfishly, I'm hoping the scene is cleared by the time I arrive and I'm concerned when I get there and find that it isn't.
That's usually a sign that the scene isn't just an accident scene, it's a homicide scene.
The streets are shut down and yellow crime scene tape mark a wide area. I navigate a route behind buildings, through alleyways and parking lots to get closer to where the accident actually happened.
I park and grab my camera, tripod, microphone and game face.
I'm met by people who are morbidly curious, but nobody who actually witnessed the accident.
One other station has managed to make it out before me. In my head I note that second on scene isn't bad. First is better, but it beats being last.
A Sheriff's department PIO comes over and gives us a quick run down of what they know so far. I'm thankful for the information and surprisingly we get no grief from the crowd standing just behind us. Sometimes the "put me on TV" morons won't even behave for law enforcement and there's not a lot that can be done.
The crash is pretty horrific. Details are still kind of confusing for me, but I don't need to immediately make sense of it.
What's clear is that the suspect's vehicle at high speed hit the car of an innocent person. The innocent person, a woman, and her passenger, her two year old daughter, were transported to a local hospital.
Both in critical condition.
The suspect suffered only minor injuries from the crash.
My thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends of the victims. The two year old girl later died at the hospital.
I guess that's the part that never really makes any sense.
It's Monday morning right now and I have to begin a new week. I hope today is a better day, but at least I can put it into perspective. Not just for me, for everyone, I hope it's not a bad day.
Trying to not make it sound trivial, but again, I know what a bad day looks like.