I woke up today, Aug. 15, in an empty bed. It was the 31st morning that I woke up alone since the death of my husband.

On the evening of July 15, I waited for hours in fear, not knowing why my husband, Robb, was not home and not answering his cellphone.

I called the police and the hospitals, over and over, in a futile attempt to find out where he was.

It wasn’t until later that night that the King County Medical Examiner called my home to say that my husband, Robert J. Mason, my Robb, had been struck and killed in a hit-and-run collision. It happened just east of the West Seattle Low Bridge on West Spokane Street where, like many nights before, he had been riding his bike home from work. They told me that his injuries were so severe, he died at the scene of the crash. Witnesses reported that the car that hit him just sped off, leaving his battered and bleeding body strewn in the street. The paramedics tried hard to save him, but they could not undo the sheer violence inflicted on his body. It’s everyone’s worst nightmare come true, and now it is my nightmare.

Today, one month since his death, I’m compelled to write for two reasons. First, the person who caused Robb’s death has not yet been caught. The driver does not have the courage or common decency to come forward and take responsibility for this tragedy. It’s important to find criminals who take a life and hold them accountable, and I pray the police will find Robb’s killer and bring this person to justice.

This unknown person leaves me with so many unanswered questions. I often find myself asking, “Why was the car going so fast?” I suppose I could ask that of anyone these days. As a society, we are all constantly running, harried and breathless, rushing to the next of our endless list of appointments. And when we are running behind, what do we do? We just drive faster to make up for the lost time. We forget that our cars are big and heavy and can easily become assault weapons that kill.


In the past few years, the increasing level of impatience and aggression on Seattle’s roads has been unmistakable and dangerous. This brings me to my second reason for writing, as I would like to make a plea to all motor vehicle drivers to do one simple thing: Be late.

Be late and slow down. Just stop, call ahead, and tell your next appointment that you’ll be there soon.

Be late and don’t injure yourself.

Be late and don’t turn your haste into someone else’s nightmare.

Be late and don’t be the reason for the 10 p.m. call from the coroner’s office saying that someone else’s loved one won’t be coming home. Ever.

Be late and don’t become a killer.

It’s just not worth the risk. Your actions behind the wheel are the result of your choices. So, please, look at the big picture and choose wisely, because one day, it might be your loved one who does not come home … and like me, you could be the one counting the mornings you wake up to an empty bed.

The family and friends of Robb Mason ask anyone who might have information that could help solve this case to call the Seattle Police Department’s Violent Crimes Tip Line: 206-233-5000.