How on earth did we walk away?

I typically spend my Saturdays with my Mother, who is 87 and has dementia, and lives in a lovely assisted living facility nearby. This Saturday, I took her to a local charity event created to raise funds for local High School kids who cannot afford to buy their own dresses, tuxedos, hair styles and makeup for their Senior Prom. Mom didn’t completely understand the concept, but she enjoyed the featured speaker, who happens to be my yoga instructor, and the fashion show, featuring beautiful girls in colorful dresses with their handsome escorts in suits and tuxedos.  After the event, we went and had a nice lunch, and walked around our little historic square until she was tired and ready to go home.

We were driving south down a busy four-lane highway, when I saw a car behind me start to come around me on my left. All I saw was a man in a small car, traveling at a high speed, so I was really shocked when I saw him decelerate rapidly, then disappear from my peripheral vision, and even more shocked when the front right corner of his car hit the left rear quarter of ours.

“Oh my God, we are going to die”

This was the only thought in my mind, as I felt our car started spinning to the left, while still moving forward. We spun I don’t know how many times…banged across a raised median, spun some more, and ended up sitting four lanes from where we started, facing south into oncoming Northbound traffic.  When the car came to a stop, we looked at each other, surprised to be alive. A couple in a convertible stopped in the shoulder next to us, and I rolled down the window and begged them to call 911 for us. I had to make sure my mother was OK, figure out if either of us were hurt, and I was in a panic and too many things were running through my mind. They stopped, and the woman got out, while talking to 911, and looked into the car to see if we were OK. A sheriff’s deputy from a nearby county stopped on the southbound side and came over to check as well. I could see the car that hit us, on the far side of the road, facing the wrong way as well, and a young man in a ragged white tank top was outside the car, talking on a cell phone.

The first deputy started directing traffic around us, since the car wouldn’t start, and I couldn’t move it out of the road. I had no idea at the time that three of the four wheels were totally out of commission, and one was actually folded under the car, which caused the rear end of the car to be jacked up in the air.

Mom was not in shock, but she was stunned. I first noticed that she was all wet, from a bottle of water that must have sprayed all over in the crash, and then that I was wet too. She said she was not hurt, and I just couldn’t believe it. Suddenly, there were 7 or 8 police cars, two ambulances, and a fire truck. A Georgia State Patrol officer came and told me he was taking charge of the investigation, and the EMTs checked Mom’s vital signs and checked her chest for fractures. She has osteoporosis and a lot of bone loss, but after the EMTs assessed her, we were all amazed that she seemed to only be bruised from the seat belt doing its job.  After the EMTs checked on me, I got on the phone with our insurance carrier, to open a claim and get a tow truck sent.

At some point, one of the officers took off going south with lights and sirens blaring. It turns out that the driver that hit us took off on foot trying to evade arrest. They brought a printout with a picture of a man for me to identify the driver. Well, I had only seen him briefly in a fast moving car, and then from across 4 lanes of traffic, in the middle of a trauma, so I wasn’t sure it was the same man in the picture. Apparently he had been wanted for other offenses.

One tiny spot of humor happened when I opened the trunk to see what remained and the two State Patrol officers’ eyebrows went up as a strong smell of alcohol rose up, due to a bottle of red wine that didn’t survive the crash. We all laughed about how fortunate it was the wine was in the back so that we weren’t covered in red wine rather than water. It helped to relieve the tension for just a minute.

Meanwhile I had been trying to reach my husband, who was at work, as well as, close friends, to see if someone could come get us from the side of the highway. Since Murphy’s Law was apparently in play, when I reached my husband, he was tied up with an investigation into an accident that had happened on a motorcycle demo ride at work. Fortunately I was able to reach a friend, as the investigation was winding down, to pick us up shortly. The EMTs were so kind, they helped me gather all the items out of the car, including the shopping I had done before picking up Mom, and then they took us to a nearby fire station to wait for our friend.

We were waiting in one of the ambulances when the State Patrol officer came to tell me that they had captured the driver that hit us, and asked if we would wait until they brought him back to the scene for me to identify him. Of course we waited, and I had a chance to really take in the state of Mom’s Toyota Camry that saved our lives. It was staggering and I could not contain the tears and the shaking. I had kept it together long enough to assess our status and get the claim open, plus give my account of what had happened two or three different times. Now I lost it. 

They gave me time to compose myself and then brought the guy in the white tank top to stand in front of the ambulance. It was absolutely the same man that I had seen across the road right after the accident. State Patrol didn’t give me all the details, but they did tell me that he was a very bad man, and he would be charged with a number of offenses in addition to causing our accident, and was going away for a long time. I guess that is some consolation. But nothing compares to the fact that Mom and I both escaped horrible injury, or possibly death, from this terrifying experience. The fact that we walked away from careening across 4 lanes of a very busy Georgia highway, didn’t hit any oncoming traffic, and only had minor bruising was indeed a miracle!

P.S. I did not even think about taking pictures of the car until after the fact. These awful images were taken at the tow lot, on Sunday evening.

2006 Toyota Camry 1

 

The front of the car, as it landed

Close up of rear wheel forced under the car

Close up of rear wheel forced under the car

Guardian Angel (Found on alastar-packer.hubpages.com)

Guardian Angel (Found on alastar-packer.hubpages.com)

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36 thoughts on “How on earth did we walk away?

  1. These things are very traumatic and take time to get over. I am so glad you and your mom are okay and so sorry this happened. Take time both of you to baby yourselves and don’t underestimate the fact that you have both been through trauma. Hugz and gratitude that you are both okay.

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  2. Holy snappin’ duck shit, Roby! I’m glad you could write about it but I’d rather you didn’t have to go through that. I can surely empathise, sympathise and recognise a miracle when I see one. Welcome back to the land of the living. Peace be upon you and yours. REDdog

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    • RD, it’s funny, I was thinking last night…if I didn’t have a blog, where would I express this? I appreciate your perspective on this, since I consider you the resident expert on all things crash-related! 😀

      It was indeed a miracle, and we are so grateful!

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  3. Oh. My. Gawd. My mouth was agape while reading this. You two really did have a guardian angel that day!! *shakes head* WOW. Did either of you have whiplash or any other injuries that showed up later?

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    • Beth, I know, right??? I have often wondered if my guardian angel was fast enough, now I know that the answer is yes, and she is agile, too!

      The night of the accident, I thought I might have whiplash. I think Mom was really not aware of what was happening as it was happening, so was maybe less tense, so not impacted except for the bruising from the seat belt. For me, after some wine, some ibuprofen and a nights sleep, I feel MUCH better, so I don’t think it will be an issue. Thank God!

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    • Kim, thank you for coming over and commenting! We are so very lucky to be ok…what started out as a routine Saturday outing went so wrong, but came out ok in the long run! Hugs back to you, I hope you are surviving the never-ending winter!

      PPS The rest of the story is that one bottle survived!!!! Yippee!

      Cheers, Lynne

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  4. This is so bizarre! I happened upon your blog entry after seeing the link from Grant Searcy’s Facebook page. I was on the road home on Hwy 400 and saw the wrecked cars. I have been wondering about the accident. Now I know…… I am so glad you and your mother are ok and they caught the guy who caused the accident. It is amazing the affect one’s person’s act can cause.

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    • Tina, thank you! It is bizarre, and such a small world. We were sitting at the Fire station waiting for a friend to pick us up when I got a call from one of the CNAs at Mom’s assisted living facility. Her care coordinator also passed by the scene and called her to look up my number and call to make sure we were ok! 🙂 Love small town living, right?? And yes, so glad they caught the guy and he can’t do any more damage to random strangers…

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  5. Wow! Thank goodness you and your mom were wearing seatbelts, and you could walk away with no physical damage!
    And go you for keeping it together long enough to make sure Mom was ok and deal with emergency personnel.

    Glad the fallout from this is just a good story.

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  6. Oh my God. 😦 I do not like this at all. I’m so glad you’re okay and that neither you or your mother was hurt. I’m glad they found that guy and that he’ll be held accountable for whatever else it is that he has done.. I imagine quite a few people are seeing justice served now. Hope you’re coping and healing up well!

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    • Thank you, Aussa! We are just so lucky to be ok. And two weeks later, we got the check from our insurance company and we are moving on. The dirt bag is in jail and can’t do any more harm!

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  7. Holy. Shit. I’m so glad to read that you both made it out safely. That accident sounds horrific. Sometimes it’s clear that someone out there is looking out for us. Thank you universe…

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  8. […] March: In March, posts were limited, but I did share the launch and a review of a new novel by a very talented blogger, Claire Duffy, called Identity Part 1. This ongoing saga just culminated at the end of 2014 and was thrilling to the end! I hope that she shares the entire series in book form soon. March brought a great local tragedy when our beloved Irish Pub, Shenanigan’s, burned in the pre-dawn hours. No one was hurt, but an institution was temporarily grounded, and many put out of work. It would be seven long months while they rebuilt. Also in March, I shared what could have been a tragic accident on a routine outing with my 87 year old mother, but actually had an amazing outcome in How on earth did we walk away? […]

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