US diplomat left Ukraine, to die on Washington-area road

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Sarah Langenkamp was supposed to be safe.

Her husband, Dan Langenkamp, ​​said this Wednesday when recounting how his family ended up in the Washington area.

Langenkamp, ​​who worked with his wife at the State Department, described her as an American diplomat who was central to the country’s efforts to help Ukraine. (“People all over Ukraine know her because of her passion and incredible grasp of issues and her selfless ability to bring together people who know how to get things done,” he said). But the couple who have two children could not continue to live in the country because of the Russian invasion. The family was evacuated, and recently moved to a Maryland suburb in Washington.

“We returned to the United States for our safety,” he said. “She was supposed to be safe, and to me it’s absolutely unconscionable that she’s safer in Ukraine than she would be on the streets of metro Washington.”

On August 25, Sarah Langenkamp was fatally injured after the driver of a flatbed truck hit her as she returned from an open day at her sons’ new elementary school.

“As a mother, she was so dedicated,” Dan Langenkamp said. He described her as embarrassing him for how she could focus intensely on her career and then direct her attention to their sons, aged 8 and 10. “She was like our moral compass but also our beacon. I don’t know how we’ll do without her.

After Langenkamp’s death, some people online took note of his work in Ukraine and raised conspiratorial questions. Through social media, they asked: Was she a target? Was it successful work?

But anyone who lives in the Washington area knows that complicated theories aren’t needed to explain how the mother of two ended up being taken from her family before the start of the school year: the roads in the area are deadly.

The roads claimed cyclists and pedestrians time and again – and they claimed Langenkamp despite her being an experienced cyclist who used Google Maps that day to carefully plan her route. Dan Langenkamp said the trip was supposed to take him mostly on designated bike paths and, for a short time, along River Road in Bethesda. She was in the cycle lane of that road when she was hit, he said. Police said the truck was traveling in the same direction as her and turned right into a parking lot when it hit her.

“If cities are serious about making themselves walkable and bikeable to attract workers and talent, they need to do more than paint lines and bike symbols on the roads,” Langenkamp wrote on a GoFundMe page he created this week. “Such bike lanes – devoid of proper barriers, truck/car driver education, laws and enforcement – ​​are nothing but death traps, luring innocent victims like Sarah to them. They result in tragic deaths that leave children without parents and the world without its most talented and committed individuals.

He described the creation of the page as a way to raise money for local and national organizations working to make the streets safer.

“I am doing this because I am furious over Sarah’s death, and I am personally committed to ensuring that our mission to increase bicycle safety is achieved,” he wrote.

Two words that sum up the dangerous streets of DC: “Updated again”

My first thought when I saw Langenkamp’s page: A mother died doing what so many other Washington-area mothers have done in recent days: visiting their children’s school. His two sons are the same age as mine.

My second thought: The family of another victim on the city’s roads has been forced to overcome their grief to ask the authorities to do more than just promises.

Daniel Langenkamp joins a growing group of people in the region who have become advocates for safer roads after suffering unimaginable losses. He joins a group of parents who have lost children, children who have lost parents, spouses who have lost their other halves, and people who have lost friends, neighbors and co-workers.

He joins a group of people who are trying to stop their group from growing.

At age 5, she was killed while riding her bicycle in a crosswalk. His legacy should be safer streets.

“No one – no one – should have to imagine the fear and pain her child felt when he was punched and crushed,” Jessica Hart, the mother of Allison Hart, 5, who was punched and killed in last September while she was driving. his bike in a crosswalk, wrote for a traffic safety rally last month, following four traffic-related deaths. “No one – no one – should have to wonder if they heard your voice trying to comfort them as they lay in the crosswalk. No one – no one – should see dark red blood in the streets. No one’s life should end like this. My family is not alone. Too many other families know this devastation.

Earlier this month, Matilde Larson, the mother of Nina Larson, a 24-year-old aspiring opera singer who was killed in November while crossing a DC road, tweeted a video of her daughter singing. She wrote: “9 months ago Nina’s beautiful voice was silenced when a reckless driver violently took her life. All his stolen promise. More new performances… »

Langenkamp said he was “furious”. More of us should be. This is an area filled with wealth and expertise and there are known road safety measures that can be taken. Families who have been pushed into advocacy roles can tell you all about them. They can tell you where raised crosswalks are needed and what measure could have saved their loved one. Langenkamp wonders why Google Maps or other apps don’t provide the ability for people to see where bicycle and pedestrian fatalities have occurred, so they can plan to avoid those streets.

The district and surrounding counties have set goals to end road deaths. They can start moving in that direction if they start seeing these defenders as allies rather than critics.

Langenkamp has set a goal of $50,000 to the GoFundMe page. By Wednesday afternoon, over $150,000 had been raised.

Comments left by people who knew his wife describe her as “giving”, “unforgettable” and “one of the smartest and most beautiful people”. “Sarah was one of the best human beings I have ever known,” one person wrote.

“The promise she held not just for our family, but for America and the world has been ripped away,” Dan Langenkamp said. “And I can’t let his loss happen completely in vain. … She was going to do so much good for the world, and we have to save some of it.

I told her that from what people were saying, it seemed like she had already done so much good in the world.

“She did,” he said. Then he corrected himself. “She had.”

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