Memorial Day weekend has already claimed the life of two on a New Jersey turnpike when “Brilliant Mind” mathematician John Nash and his wife were ejected from a taxi they were traveling in on Saturday, according to a May 24 BBC report. Police say the two were thrown from their vehicle and media reports indicate the two may not have been wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.
The New York Post reported that the Nashes had originally planned to arrive back at Newark airport at 7 p.m. after leaving Norway, where John, along with a colleague, had been awarded the Abel Prize. But the flight was changed and they arrived at 2 p.m. instead, and their limo was thus not waiting for them as planned. The couple hailed a cab, but they did not know that the cabbie had only been operating for the past two weeks in his cab-driving capacity.
Nash, 86, and his wife Alicia, 82, came to the attention of the general public when the Nobe Prize-winner was chosen as the subject of a 2001 film about schizophrenia. Alicia Nash’s character in the film portrayed a wife who valiantly tried to stand behind her husband as he battled mental illness. Russell Crowe played John Nash for the film and did an outstanding job of a man who appeared sane to the world–and even himself, but who suffered from the debilitating effects of paranoid schizophrenia, while also managing to accomplish some of the most genius-level mathematical feats at the same time.
Both John and his wife Alicia remained staunch mental health advocates following the very public unveiling of his mental health issues, and it is with great sadness that these two departed life on a holiday weekend as a result of an automobile crash, which, regrettably, will not be the only traffic fatality forecast for the Memorial Day weekend according to public safety officials around the nation. Additionally, like the Nashs’ accident, many lives may be lost due to seat belts not being engaged at the time of the crash.
The Georgia Highway Patrol released their Memorial Day Holiday Traffic Count on May 24. The report, which tallies fatalities on Georgia highways between 6 p.m. on Friday, May 22 through midnight on Monday, May 25, currently shows that five people have died on Georgia’s highways during this 78-hour holiday weekend period, with four of the fatalities investigated by the GSP and one fatality investigated at the local law enforcement level.
So what are the most important dangers to watch out for while traveling this holiday weekend? According to Colonel Mark. W. McDonough, the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety:
Speed, a lack of seat belt use, and an impaired driver make for a deadly combination on our roads.”
DUI arrests over the Memorial Day weekend amounted to 322 people in Georgia in 2014. As many as 7,492 people received citations, and another 11, 137 were issued warnings. But officers are planning lots of road checks throughout the state, as well as high visibility patrols, so be smart: Don’t drink and drive; don’t text and drive; and remember to wear your seat belt, so if you are involved in an accident, you might still go home to your family–alive.