Over the weekend in the town where my store is located a 14 year old boy was killed in a car accident. The driver and another passenger were also 14. My heart aches for these kids families, so very sad.
The driver has the same last name as we do and his first name is very similar to my 19 year old sons. My store is closed on Sundays & Mondays and I live 15 miles away and do not get cell service at my home. When I was driving into work early this morning I received 9 text messages from acquaintances and relatives asking if my son was okay, they heard that he was in an accident and was the driver that killed this young man. On my phone at my store there were 4 missed calls from these childrens school, no messages.
I am so sad for these kids and their families. My cousin called this morning and told me that many people at the local hospital where she works are saying that the boy driving was the owner of my stores son. She is correcting them, but how many people think this and not getting the truth. It is my understanding that although this was a stupid accident, people in this town are almost witch hunting the 14 year old driver.
It is not my intention at all to sound or be insensitive to the families, so please do not think this is what I am doing. I am concerned that although we have no association to these kids, the belief that the driver is my son will harm my business. I want to release a statement but I am unsure what I should say. Please help. And honestly know that I am so sorry this has happened and I would never do anything to upset anyone involved. I feel terrible for thinking that this will negatively affect my business, it feels almost insensitive, but the reality of doing business in a somewhat small town and the rumors that are already flying, it worries me.
Any help will be greatly appreciated.