Monday, July 19, 2010

Too Close

On Thursday afternoon I was on my way into Portland for an interview and just before getting to Scappoose I saw this Explorer in mid air coming towards me. It happened on a four lane highway and when I first saw the Explorer, it was in the turning lane and I was in the lane closest to it. I thought for sure it was going to land right on top of me. When I replay it in my mind I can see it all happening in slow motion. I can still see little details, like how it would be suspended in mid air in between each of it's rolls, how the bumper was starting to come off, and seeing the oil filter go flying underneath my car. I was hit with a few pieces of debris and there were a number of bangs from stuff bouncing around underneath my car. The strangest thing was that fluid from the explorer's engine sprayed all over the length of my car. When I saw that I knew I really was I close as I thought I had been. It was a little after 3 when it happened and there was a lot of traffic so I couldn't just veer off to the right to avoid him. I slowed way down, but there were other cars all around me and fortunately I was just far enough away. I ended up learning later that a Ford Explorer is 16 times more likely than a typical family car to kill occupants of another vehicle in a crash.

Like everyone else, I pulled off to the shoulder and tried to call 911. I couldn't get through so I ran to one of the cars to see if the driver was okay. I was the first one to the white car and the woman was alive, but certainly not okay. I think she was one of the people with serious injuries. I made sure she had a pulse and then waited until the ambulance arrived before I left (it felt like it took forever). I've never seen such a violent accident that close. There were four cars involved and at least two of them had their wheels ripped off and every single one had air bags deployed. Here is an article about the accident if you'd like to check it out. I hope everyone will end up being okay eventually.

When I showed up for the interview about 45 minutes later, I was still shaking a little bit. The lesson of the day for me was how quickly life can change. Things you have absolutely no control of, like the frequent roll over rate of SUVs, can completely change your life in an instant. Three of those cars were just driving along perfectly safely and responsibly. It only took one little Honda Civic to set off a chain reaction that happened so fast that they couldn't avoid it. I'm very grateful and thankful that I was spared from being the fifth car in this accident.


Mary Jane said...

So glad you are OK. What a scarry afternoon.

Micah and Christa Forsythe said...

Yikes.. I am so glad you are okay! What happened to the interview?