Young boy and father die in Tragic crash.. warning graphic story and image.

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Taken with Nikon F2as and Nikkor 50 2.o AIS


Gregory Rogalsky




I have sitting on this image for several years.

Going through some boxes last week and I found the newpaper clip with my photo's from the wreck and than yesterday and I found this print.. And I think it's time to put it out there..

The day started off my Student David and I driving out south of Calgary to scope out a wedding locations. I was going to photograph his weddig the next week and I wanted to see the location of the ceremony and re-ception at his father huge cattlle farm...

They had a beautifull garden with blossoming flowers and had a gazebo .. The loction ws really quite pretty.

While driving out there I nioticed David was hugging the yellow line of the highway.. Given the speed and the wide shoulder I felt there was no reason to be that close to the on coming traffic..

While sitting in the passanger seat, I asked David and motioning with my hand to get over to the right...

He comment that ... "he liked to see what was coming" ..


I replied... David on the other side of the yelloe line is nothing but death..


And again asked him to move over.. Still he refused. Being incredibly head strong stubborn Still he resisted...
David happened to Champain Power lifter as well as being a bouncer and a talented martial artist in his own right....

Than I said, David if you don't move over I am going to punch you in the head and than grab the wheel ...he looked over, and we both smiled ..

It takes a strong man to train a man David and although I never would have hit him .. and we both knew it. He got the point..


Well he said.. "You are my Sensei".. And as he went to the right side of the lane.. And smiling again.. "I don't want to get puched in the head..

So we check out where the wedding was going to be the next week end. I took a few picture's of the place and start driving back to Calgary..


David was anxious to get home to see his very pregant girl friend and I wanted to get home to be with my Wife and three childern two dogs and four cats..



So as where driving in the distances I see what I can only describe as I toal mess on the highways.. Even from several hundred yards I could see that it was a crash crash and it was really bad.


I said to David to "David it's a really bad wreck and I think it just happend"
All David said was "Oh my God"


So as we got closer. He muttered "I used to be an EMT" .. I said "good maybe you can help"



So as we pulled up I grabbed my Vintage 1936 Carl Zeiss 180 2.8 and attached it to my Nikon F2as .. My hands where all really shaking and I dropped my Nikkor 50 2.0 AIS on the floor board of David's car..


Davided parked far enough away to leave room for the Fire trucks and ambulance that was sure to come..

So as David Ran up to the crash. I sayed back as another by stander from the other side arrived to the Truck and opened the door and reached in and started pulling people out.

First out was the mom, who although looked shaken looked unharmed..


Than came the first kids... I started to lose it..

Thinking OMG, there kids in there

But the first liitle girl stepped out, and than another little boy and they where totally fine..


I breathed a sigh of releif.. Just as David reahed the truck , the other man. Reached in an in his arms was the white limp body of a little boy..

He was white and wearing his bathing suit.. They must have come from the beach...


His abdomine was destended and I could tell from the his belly not moving ..


He was already gone..


So I ran up, and with the help of lady who came out of know where we turned the other two kids away and wrapped a blanket around them..


I kneeled down and told them that they had been in a accident and everything was going to be okay.. And it was really important they looked the other way..


So at this point David started working on the little guy..

They where doing CPR and pumping his little chest...

He kept feeling for a pulse...I took a few shots..


And it took everything in power to stop shaking enough, to not get a blurry photo...

I went around to the other side of the truck and what I saw will haunt me untill I die..

The semi had sheared off the the side of the truck and the Driver had his left arm... sheared off.. Him and the truck looked like a disgusting abstract with body parts blood and oil all mixing in together in a grotesque abstract..


Even thought it sickened me . I took a few shots and walked over.. At that point he regained consciences and when he moved. Blood started spurting out of the place his arm use to attach to his torso..

I thought OMG he is still alive..


I ran back over to David and they had the young boy upside down with blood draining out of his mouth and nose...


I said to David..as he gentle set the little guy down again and checked his pulse again Shaking his head.. nodding no.


I said he gone David.. You got to save the Dad .. He is still alive..

But David didnt move, and kept doing CPR on the little boy.

So I grabbed the other man who must have been the driver of the Semi ,. and we went over and using a towel we applied Direct presure to the mans wound..


In the distance I heard the sirens..


The rest of the incident is frankly a blur...


All I remember from the ride home with David and telling him "he did a great job trying to save the little boy.. There was just nothing that could have been done.".

We started crying and he pulled over for a bit.



My wife was late for work at the phatmacy. And I so I called her to tell her what happend . And I quickly went to the Super Store to "soup" the film and than grt home.. I phoned the paper and than grabbed my kids and took them with me to get the film and get down to the Calgary Sun to drop off the film..


I didnt show the pictures to my kids. And the folks at the sun where really nice to us, as they decided which pictures to use for the nexts days paper...



It was a front page story and my photo's (not this one) ran in page three..

The quote the will always stick with me was somthing that David said..


"It stuck me how fast how peices of your world can be taken away"..

story and Photo's by



Gregory Rogalsky
 
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A truly painful story, Gregory!
Well documented! This photo brings over all the pain and chaos that comes with this kind of accidents.

I think the words of your friend David sum it up perfectly.
The lives of everyone in that family are shattered. All in a just a moment.
Recovery from this may take a lifetime, if ever.

I can hardly imagine what it must feel like to see this so close up and personal, Gregory.
I suppose it still haunts you.
 
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Thanks Bart, I really apprecaite you taking the time comment.

For years, I could only think about the little boy who died..

But now, I like to think about the mom and kids who lived.

I hope they are dong well..


As for my pal David... After I shoot his wedding.. He quit training after the birth of his heathly little boy..

The wedding was a really somber affair.

The shadow of the crash wighted heavy on the day..




It's amazing how people come in and out of are lives and the extrondary role they play in it..



I will get the photo of the paper uploaded in the next little bit to give better details of the exact dates.

In truth, I wanted it to be more personal take on the expericence of the crash from my own perspecive...


It's time I step behind the wheel that I don't think of my pal's David Quote..


Everyone out there, drive safe..




Gregory
 
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This one really hits home because i know you so well Greg. It truly rips your heart out! I commend you & your friend for pulling over to help & also having the courage to take the shots. If its meant to be seen as a tragically, heart wrenching image that may save future lives on the road( texting,talking on the cell phone, drinking,eating or whatever!) Then it serves it's purpose. This will be etched in my mind forever.Thanks for having the courage to take & share this devasting image.
 
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Thanks Steve,


More than ever, I really apprecaite your support.


I still havnt taken the time to scan the newpaper clip..

Perhaps this weekend when I get a few minutes.




"Once you see an image you can never unsee it"




Gregory
 
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near Montreal, Canada
A heart-wrenching story. Thanks for posting Greg, you and David did well.

I experienced a "right next to me" fatal accident when I was younger, some 45 years ago. I know this never leaves you.
 
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Thanks Frits and Wibur Steve,


Here are are newspaper clips I promised..


That night at the Calgary Sun I really pushed for them to run the first photo I published on the Nikon cafe ( And thank you very much for letting it run)


To qoute the photo Calgary Sun editor at the time.. "It was one of the best hard news photo's he had ever seen". And he really wanted to publish it.

And I was okay fine than run it..




But the powers above him wouldnt run the photo as it was "to graphic".


I was ready to walk with my all my photo's, but I felt it was important to get have at least show something...


Many photographer's I know who shoot for the paper have run into simular circumstances and not have there best work shown..



I can tell it's really frustrating , and it feel like the your efforts are waisted..

And while the picture is grahic, it was more about it being a little boy than anything...


But that one one photo tells the story.. And when I went jornalism school that is I was trained to do.. Tell the story with photo's and if one photo could tell the story of what happeded .. It was that one..




And yes as Frits has mentioned one never forgets when your part of such tragic events..


At the time I was really torn to helping more and taking photo's..

I feel good about what I said to the kids. And honestly the dad was so messed up perhaps it blessing he passed...


So many times tragedy happens and it's a big story and than the next bad things happens..

But for the people involved, the events forever alter the paths of there lives.


I can't help mentioning my childern are driving back from Saskatchewan today with there mom.. Like I just texted her... "drive safe"



That goes for everyone..

























Gregory Rogalsky
 
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I've been checking out this thread a few different times over the past 2 days just because it stirs so much up. That photo is as compelling and rich of a story as many Pulitzer winning photos - wow...

Sean
 
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Thanks Sean, Your comments are very much appreciate.


Thanks Jim, Thanks for taking the to comment..


Just talked to my kids,, There home from there 8 hour drive, safe and sound...



Gregory
 
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Gregory,
A truly horrific and shattering account, and as someone who has never encountered first hand an accident like this one, I can't even begin to imagine how you felt and how it has affected all concerned.
But for what it's worth, your shots are excellent. PJ at its best.
 
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rbsinto, Thank you sir..

Coming from you, that means alot...

When I get out to Toronto, we got to go do some street shooting together..


Gregory
 
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Louisville, KY
Great story and great pics. I've come up to a couple wrecks with my camera in my truck but I've always felt bad about breaking it out and taking pictures during a tragic event. Just something about taking pictures in moment that could be someone's last. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with doing it. Just something that keeps me from doing it.
 
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Low Life.

Having shot several bad wrecks in the last thirty years, I couldnt agree more about feel bad about taking photo's..




To me if you didnt feel something, you wouldnt be human...


It's just .. like you said, the last moment's of life ..

Or how someone died.. And one could make a fair argument. That picture's like that, shouldnt be shot or shown..

And there is another mind that says.. Print in big and show the world....

And I am right in the middle... oo

The fact that it took me over 10 years to release "the photo" and tell the story, is to me an indictaction that I had reservations...

In the end it was seeing the picture and wanting to tell the story that pushed me over the brink..


I just felt it was time get it out... And glad I have..


I must say, that I havent really done much photography since posting this shot and the story..

Waiting on a new job to start.. Feel like I am in a holding pattern....

And after seeing these shots again. It's hard to go back doing the destruction of the habitat project I am working on..

To much negativeaty for one man to endure..

Life....Isnt always easy...



Still got my Martial Arts, and as I have said many times.. Without that, I wouldnt be here..



But I really apprecaite all the support and encouragement I recieved about this photo and story on Nikon cafe..

Thanks one and all.






Gregory
 
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