It's been a little over three weeks since Darren was killed on I-95 as he tried to cross the highway on foot.
I had only met him formally on one or two occasions, but I saw him several times a week in his car. My son or I (or both of us) would wave at him; Darren always waved back. He was a friendly spirit-- I know I could have turned to him if I had a flat tire or was locked out of my house. I have many neighbors whose name I forget, but whose countenances are deeply familiar and comforting.
The Providence Journal and at least one tv station made a point publicly speculating on Darren's motivation for walking across a highway. I understand that that the police, and the drivers of the cars, have every reason to analyze what happened. It is not, however, a matter that is useful journalistically. When the man is not alive, and we have no real way of knowing what was in his mind, then restating what the police "believe" serves no public interest.
Darren Mann and his family deserve the same compassion that is proffered a well-known philanthropist who also died on the road or the wife of a governor who was injured once upon a time.
Darren Mann was young and his death was tragic. I will miss his warmth.