SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. - A teenage jogger was fatally injured when he was struck by a vehicle while jogging in the direction of traffic on an unlit road in San Tan Valley.Out here in the boonies of the Southeast Valley, there are very few streetlights or sidewalks, even in the housing communities. The road where this young man was killed is a semi-main road but it is still farmland with no lights and a gravel shoulder. I run these type of roads all the time and am astounded by how many people I have encountered running the same way as Jared; dark clothing, running with traffic and wearing earbuds. In fact a few were startled as I passed by them, as lit up as I am, because they were so not aware of their surroundings.
The Pinal County Sheriff's office says 16-year-old Apache Junction High School student Jared Paul O'Dane was wearing dark clothing, and wearing earbuds and probably didn't see or hear the vehicle him from behind about an hour before dawn Tuesday morning.
I really don't understand the reasoning behind the lack of lights and reflective gear on my fellow runners. It can't be a time thing because how long does it take to put on a vest or lights? I can't be a matter of cost because you can get reflective gear/lights relatively cheap. In fact my Run-Bright lights (see sidebar) are only $29.95 shipped. Plenty of shoes are reflective, my Skora Phase are and if you want to go really low budget, you can get reflective bands or a cheap flashlight for a few dollars. Honestly, if funds are that tight for you, I'll send you a free Run-Bright for the cost of shipping.
So please my fellow runners, be safe and be seen when you are on the road. Also run against traffic so you can see what's coming up on you.
If you want to make a donation to help out Jared's family with the expenses, they have set up a gofundme page Rest in Paradise.