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Posted 9/26/12 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Whether or not you believe that there is a God, one has to admit that someone was definitely watching over the students and teachers at Johnson Corners Christian Academy last week. For me however, there is no doubt that God was definitely present and was watching over the students and teachers at the Christian school east of Watford City last Monday when a horrific motor vehicle accident sent a semi truck barrelling into the school at lunch hour.
While one woman was tragically killed in the accident at the junction of N.D. Highway 23 and 73, the accident could have surely been more tragic had any of the students or teachers at the Academy been seriously hurt or killed.
It was simply “by the grace of God” that no one else received anything but minor bruises and scrapes when the several ton truck came roaring up the highway embankment, smashed through a chain link fence and hit a school bus and a pickup before plowing into the east end of the school. By the time the truck finally came to a rest it had destroyed the principal’s office, the school’s lunch room, as well as other rooms of the school that had either just been bustling with students and teachers, or where under normal days, they would have been at that time.
Why on this particular Monday weren’t the students, the teachers or the school’s administrator where they normally would have been?
Maybe it was just a lucky day that the school administrator was out of town at a meeting instead of being in his office. Or maybe it was luck, that for some reason, the students weren’t in the lunchroom at noon. And maybe it was just pure luck that the students who normally would have been putting on their outside shoes to head out to the playground at the exact location where the truck would come crashing into the school weren’t there when they should have been.
One could probably accept one of those things happening as being a lucky coincidence. But to have all of them happen at the same time and to keep all of the students and teachers out of harm’s way, one has to believe that miracles surely do happen. And on this particular Monday, I believe that God was definitely present and caring for the children and teachers at Johnson Corners Christian Academy.
While the number of motor vehicle accidents is increasing on most roads in western North Dakota as a result of the increased oil field traffic, one has to wonder whether or not the North Dakota Dept. of Transportation will now finally look at making some significant changes to their very busy intersection as a result of last Monday’s accident. That particular corner, which has two busy state highways, as well as a county road intersecting, is one of the most dangerous corners in the region. When you have that kind of traffic in the vicinity of a school, one would think that the NDDOT should consider installing traffic lights at that intersection. Or at the very least, the speed limit should be lowered at the corner.
An unspeakable tragedy was averted last Monday. It is time that the DOT consider changes at Johnson Corners that will make that intersection safer for everyone.