The tragedy that took a woman's life on the Middle Waitsburg Road in May of this year carries a life sentence for Mel Bohleen.
Anyone who knows him will describe him first as a kind man; a man who has tread lightly on this Earth all his life. His interests include nature photography and teaching primitive technology to youths via enactments and rendezvous.
This man isn't ever going to have another good night's sleep. His life has been inalterably changed. Anyone who wants to see him punished can rest assured he is and will evermore be by remorse and by his conscience.
Accusing him of murder is untenable.
Initially, the accident was ruled an accident. A hideously cruel accident. One life lost, one fairly well ruined.
Isn't that enough?
What's worse, it could have happened to anyone. Well, it already has. Too many times. And it is inevitable that more lives, specifically cyclists' lives will continue to be lost.
The mix of motor vehicles (not to mention harvest trucks and equipment in season) and bicycles on a narrow country road where there is often no shoulder is clearly dangerous.
For 20 years I have been complaining about this, and everyone I know agrees. Personally, I think the Middle Waitsburg Road and the Lower Waitsburg Road should be closed to bicycle travel except for sanctioned events. As an earlier letter to the editor stated, there are many, many bike routes, lanes and parks in Walla Walla for cyclists.