Thursday, December 9, 2010

Please Take Care and Be Safe

I'm sorry this is so long. I'm writing this as a warning for others but also to purge the events from my brain. Please excuse the rambling, run-on sentences. It's been a day from you-know-where.


Today started out normal in an abnormal kind of way. We woke up to the fact that Izzy was going to need to go to the doctor today. It wasn't anything serious, we just wanted to make sure that the fever he's been fighting wasn't due to strep or an ear infection. Luckily for me, Jason had the day off so it wasn't really that big of a hassle. (No worries about what to do with Zander and whatnot.) The doctor did a strep test "just to be sure", but she really felt that he's just fighting off a virus of some sort.

The test results were going to take about an hour to come back so we decided to run to the commissary before leaving base. (We live about 30 minutes away from the base, so if it was strep we wanted to be able to pick up his prescription before heading home.) After getting our stuff done, we called the clinic and were given the all-clear. We headed toward the gate to make our way back home. We weren't able to take our normal gate due to an accident so we re-routed to the secondary gate.

And this is where our somewhat-normal day took a decidedly large detour.

Jason was driving, thank God. The little kids were watching a movie and the two of us were chatting in the front. I have no idea what we were talking about now. It could have been anything or nothing; I have no clue. What I remember is Jason saying, "No, no, no, NO, NO! Oh God, don't look--No, no..." Of course I looked, just in time to see (from my perspective at the time) a minivan cut off a truck a few vehicles in front of us. The truck veered, corrected, and then over-corrected. It careened into a ditch, sending a dog flying from the bed at the first jolt. The dog launched about 30 feet into the air, going over 60 miles an hour at least. While this was a horrible thing for the dog to go through, it was probably better than what would have happened if he'd stayed in the truck. The truck flipped when it hit that ditch. I'm not sure if it only flipped once, either. That truck was way out of control. My clearest memory of the whole thing is that poor dog flying through the air. Everything else is blurry.

By this point we were stopped. I don't remember Jason pulling over, but we were on the side of the road. I pulled out the cell and started dialing 9-1-1; Jason jumped out of the van and ran toward the truck. He was the first one there. I sat there and prayed for the phone to connect; it felt like it took forever and I thought I was going to have to drive to a place with actual reception and then all at once there was a voice on the line. I don't know if I've ever been more relieved to hear a voice on the other end of the line.

I did my best to tell them where we were. I couldn't remember the name of the road at first (we haven't been here that long and live 30 minutes away from base; I'm not down there very often). I remembered the name of the gate we left from, though, and once the operator said the name I was able to confirm it. I told them that there was one guy out of the truck and a dog had been thrown, but that I didn't know if there was anyone else inside. (There wasn't.) The guy took all the information I had and my name and told me that help was on the way.

While all that was going on, Jason and another guy were trying to get the driver to stay still. (This is from what he told me after it was all done; I wasn't close enough to see/hear all this.) He had a head injury and his arm was very hurt (probably broken from the way it looked) and he was in shock. He kept cussing at everyone and telling them to leave him alone. He wanted his phone, he wanted his dog, he did not want anyone messing with him. Eventually the shock became great enough that he just stayed there on the ground. They managed to find his phone and Jason got the dog corralled back to the area so the driver could see it.

And we waited. It felt like an hour but I think it was about 20 minutes. (Still a long time, but we were kind of out there in the middle of nowhere.) The boys and I stayed at the van. One of the women involved in the accident came down and used our phone to call her husband. All but one of the cars (a total of at least 6, but there may have been a couple more than that) stayed for the duration of the event. I have to say, I think that is an impressive percentage.

Emergency personnel arrived and took over the scene. They went through and took statements from everyone and people gradually left. I think at the end it was us and the driver's mom left. (She came after the fact but I'm not sure how she ended up there.) She was trying to pick through some of the stuff spilled out of the truck and Jason had control of the dog until the Animal Control people got there.

Turns out that the guy tried to double pass. I didn't see that part, but Jason and several others did. Basically, he tried to pass the minivan while the minivan was in the process of passing another vehicle. Jason said he thought the truck was probably going over 70 mph. When he said, "Don't look" it was because he initially thought a child had been thrown out of the truck. I'm so glad he was wrong. I'm not sure I could have gotten over seeing something like that. I'm having enough trouble processing the dog.

I'm so proud of Jason. He ran into that having no idea what he was going to find. He didn't even stop to think about it; he just did. I didn't see what it was like up there where he was, but I do know that it couldn't have been nice. He had blood all over his hands and clothes when he got back in the van.

The guy and the dog were hurt pretty badly, but emergency personnel thought they would be okay. Nobody else was hurt at all although we were all shaken up. I mean that literally; we were all visibly shaking while talking to each other and the police. I've seen other wrecks before but this was by far the worst.

The boys didn't see the dog fly out of the truck. Zander did see the truck flip, though. We were out there for about 2 hours (yes, with our groceries in the back) and I spent most of that reassuring Zander that everything was going to be okay.

I don't know if any of you speed on a regular basis. I'm telling this here in part to try to remind people, please be careful out there! This guy would have only gained a couple extra minutes passing as he was trying to do. I'm sure he thought that the worst that could happen would be a possible speeding ticket, but it didn't go that way. In a split second he went from being in a hurry to bleeding on the side of the road. That could happen to anyone.

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