Sunday, July 28, 2013

Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery also Friends of Accident Victims

At 8 a.m. on a recent Saturday morning (July 13, 2013), the volunteer group Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery was setting up for a restoration event and cleanup day. Half of Mount Moriah is in Yeadon, on the north side of Cobbs Creek Parkway, while the other half is in Philadelphia. The day’s work was to focus on the Yeadon side, near 62nd Street and the parkway. 

Friends Board member helping accident victim
At about 8:30, an automobile accident involving two vehicles occurred directly in front of the cemetery entrance (see map). A small SUV and a Chevy Malibu traveling in opposite directions collided in front of the volunteers who were setting up their registration table. The volunteers ran out into the street, stopped traffic, and began to help the victims. Cobbs Creek Parkway is a busy road and it curves at the cemetery entrance - the scene of frequent accidents (evidenced by the mangled guardrails). Four members of the Friends group controlled traffic in both directions for over an hour, preventing further problems (you can pick some of us out in these photos as we're wearing yellow shirts).

Other members of the Friends helped the injured drivers (neither vehicle carried passengers). Police and Rescue were called via 911 and ambulances arrived. When it was determined that both drivers were conscious, and only banged up a bit, the Friends group set up orange road cones around the wreckage and began clearing debris off the road. (I actually walked up the parkway a bit to where the water company was doing some work and asked to borrow four of their cones.) Friends’ Board members brought water and chairs out to the accident site for the drivers of the vehicles. One woman crawled around both deployed airbags and out of her car, which was smashed against the guardrails. The other woman could not get out of her SUV and had to wait until rescue workers helped her out and onto a gurney.

Friends' registration table at Mount Moriah Cemetery entrance
Interesting how this situation unfolded. Almost immediately after I placed the call to 911, three renegade, wreck-chasing tow trucks arrived on the scene. As police did not arrive until I called them a second time (an hour after the collision occurred), the renegades hung around all that time. One of them even refused to move his vehicle so we could see the backed-up southbound traffic we were trying to direct. I explained this to him and he said, “Maybe that’ll cause another accident.

(Watch the ABCNews video: The Troubled Past of Wreck Chasers)

And other accidents certainly may have occurred if the Friends had not been there to help. This area of Cobbs Creek Parkway is non-residential and so there would have been no one around but other drivers to help. I mentioned earlier that I had to call 911 a second time to request the police. This was odd, so 911-administrators take note: When I placed the original call to report the accident, the 911 person asked if there were people injured. I said ‘’yes.” So she asked if I wanted the “police” or “rescue.” I said, “Well, I guess I want ‘rescue.’” So that’s who showed up. Apparently, if you ALSO want police in such a situation, you need to be that specific!

The north and southbound parkway drivers were for the most part patient with the situation. There were however, a few jackwagons who yelled curses at us and tried to drive around the wreckage. Luckily, there were only two vehicles involved in the collision, which was amazing given the volume of high speed traffic in the area. Both vehicles (one which appeared to be totaled) spun out in the northbound lane, so this left the southbound lane available to shuttle traffic through in one direction at a time.  

Friends Board member helping visitors find ancestors' grave
After the two drivers were taken away to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, family members began to arrive. Friends volunteers communicated information to them and helped calm them down. About two hours of this, the ten members of the Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery returned to their main objective for the day – cutting grass and organizing the volunteer effort for cleanup. The remainder of the day was spent doing this as well as helping visiting families find graves of their ancestors.

Learn more about how you can help preserve Mount Moriah Cemetery and the surrounding neighborhoods on our website.

One way to help if you're not physically able to attend a restoration event (schedule on our website), is to go onto the "How to Help" page on on the site and buy one of these cool fund-raising t-shirts like the one I'm wearing in the photo at left! 

Tee shirts are $16 for sizes Small to X-Large, 2X – $17.50, 3X – $19.00

Please contact us at to order.
Checks for tee shirts can be made payable to the Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery and sent to
P.O. Box 5321, Philadelphia, Pa 19142