Tragedy arrives early in 2017

It didn't take long for heartache to arrive in 2017.

In fact, it actually jumped the gun, arriving a few hours before the normal New Year's Eve revelry ushered in a New Year.

James and Eileen Locke were doing what they did every Saturday. They were attending Mass at St. Pius Church on Lawrence Road in the Broomall section of Marple Township.

It was the New Year's Eve vigil service, but it was routine for the longtime parishioners. They usually attended the Saturday night Mass at St. Pius.

James, 74, and Eileen, 73, were attempting to cross Lawrence Road to get to their car after Mass when they were struck by a northbound vehicle.

I led the paper with this news on Monday.

I didn't do it to sensationalize the story.

I didn't do it to point a finger of blame at anyone. No charges have been filed as yet. It's entirely possible there won't be. I didn't do it to take a jab at the church.

I was struck - as I usually am - at the outpouring on social media and our website after we posted the initial details on the story.

Many readers noted how dangerous this stretch of road can be.

But most simply wanted to honor the Lockes, very good people, and very good neighbors, who were gone in an instant.

They both lived into their 70s. And they were taken too soon.