The family members of a 20 years old lady named Michelle Runkle registered a case against the Columbia city and The Links at Columbia apartment complex after Michelle drowned and died in order to save a motorcar driver from floodwaters. Michelle was living in The Link for years. She died on the 14th day of September in 2008. Michelle’s parents have claimed that the lane namely the Clark Lane which she was passing through on the day she died was not safe to travel but still The Link did not closed it or put any sign of danger.
The Link was developing a culvert on the crossing of Clark lane and the Hominy Branch. The planning was to let the water flow under the lane. They started to develop the work on November 2007 and were expected to finish the work by February 2008. Light traffic was allowed to flow on the aforementioned lane while the construction work was on. The estimated time period was almost going to end. Before Michelle’s death the construction work was almost done except the northern end of the culvert. On the day of Michelle’s death it was raining hardly. The Hurricane Ike hit the Central part of Missouri and that caused a huge amount of rain. As the northern end of the culvert was not ready to use an alternative path was recommended for passers.
However, according to the claim of the plaintiffs no sign was there to warn motor car drivers to stay away from the lane. That is why Chris Crocker who was driving his car tried to drive on the lane unaware of the danger and fell into an accident. He along with his car was almost drowned when Michelle appeared. She at once threw herself into action to rescue Crocker. She saved him but unfortunately at the cost of her own life.
Michelle’s family filed a lawsuit on the 6th of September last. They have also accused Lindsey Construction Co. Inc. and Lindsey Management Co. Inc. of Clayton. According to Michelle’s parents if the lane held any danger sign or remained closed Chris would not have been gone there and faced the accident and then Michelle would not have to engage herself into any rescue work and to sacrifice her own life.
In defense The Link has pointed to the certain characteristics of Michelle. According to them Michelle was reckless, desperate, careless and irresponsible. And she herself is the cause of her death because as well all know the biggest enemy of a reckless person is the person himself. Michelle acted so irresponsibly to save Chris that she lost her own life. She should have take precautions first to protect her own life. If she would be a little bit more careful she would have been among us now. As a resident of The Link Michelle knew it well that the area was prone to flood. Michelle’s mother has also admitted in the court that she was aware of it.
Michelle’s death pushed her family into deep sorrow. Her relatives and friends also expressed their sorrow for the unfortunate death of Michelle. One of her friends has mentioned, “Michelle was very friendly. She was a very soft hearted and kind and helpful girl. She was not a girl to go on with closed eyes when a person needs help. We have never seen her to say no to anyone, seeking her help. It lied deep in her nature. This time also she acted like she always did. She saved a man’s life at the cost of her own. We will miss her very much.” One of the relative of Michelle has stated to the press,” We were shocked when we were informed that we had lost Michelle. Michelle was a very kind hearted girl. People like Michelle are rare in today’s world. Michelle’s death is a great loss to us as well as the whole society.”
Michelle’s mother Patricia Runkle is still waiting for the answer why the lane was not closed that day or why there was not any danger sign. She has mentioned to the reporters, “Michelle was a very lovely girl. She always cared for people more than her own life. Her death had left me in darkness and now everything seems to be empty without her.” Chris Crocker and his family members have expressed sympathy to Michelle’s family. Chris has mentioned,” Michelle was like someone god-sent to my life, who came and rescued my life when there was no hope left. I will never forget the girl and pray for god to give her peace.”
Was Michelle an irresponsible girl or not? Was she desperate or not? Who was actually responsible for her death – the people responsible for the construction of the culvert and public safety or Michelle herself? Let’s not talk about these questions. Above all this questions and confusions there is a truth that Michelle was trying to save a person’s life. It might be the case that she saw the man drowning and she did nothing but helped him. At that time if she would think like a responsible and careful person and took all the precautions for her own safety and then went to help the man, he might have been drowned and fished away with water by the time. But she did not. She did not think about her own safety. A very few people can think in this way. A few people have the ability to throw himself or herself into danger to save someone else. Michelle was one of them. Although she was only 20 years old she acted in the way in which a 40 years old man would tremble to act. She has done a work which deserves a grand salute.
The loss of Michelle’s family can never be compensated. We can only express our sympathy to them. And pray to god that he give peace to the great soul of Michelle.