Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 62 - First on the Scene

Well it happened again last night.  We were the first on a scene of an accident.  This is the fourth time this has happened in a span of less than three years.  In three of these cases we have seen the female driver that was under some sort of influence.  Also in all of these accidents, the drivers clearly were not "with us" if you know what I mean.  Last night on the way back from Orlando, we were one mile from our home and I saw an SUV with its lights on across the median facing the opposite direction of traffic.  I immediately realized something wasn't right and said, "Oh no, someone needs our help." 

As Steve called the police, I tried to open the door of the passenger side because the side of the driver didn't have any light.    The door was locked, I hate opening the driver doors because you never know what you're going to find.  Whatever it is you know it isn't going to be pretty. In one of the accidents, the young woman was covered with blood and I thought she was in her 80's.  When she removed herself through the window of the car door, I was surprised to find she was in her 20's!  I've heard stories before about people who have broken backs and get out of vehicles and then fall to their death because they moved in a way that severed their backs.  From all the other accidents we have happened upon, we knew that moving this individual was not in their best interest.

The horn kept beeping in sets of three....beep, beep, beep...pause...beep, beep, beep. When I tried to see if there was a person inside, I looked through the driver's door and saw the deployed airbag but I couldn’t see the driver. Did the driver lock the car and walk somewhere?  Nobody could have walked away from this. The tree was hit so hard that the vehicle spun to 120 degrees so forceful that the back wheels where bent from the force.  We tried opening the back of the SUV's hatchback and it was locked too.  A phone was ringing inside so someone cared enough about her to be calling her at 11:30 at night. Were they on the phone with her when she hit the tree?  I just wanted to make sure that we did all that we could do and short of busting open a window with which I didn't have any tool to do so, we just had to wait for emergency personnel to arrive this time.  When they did arrive, they shattered the back window and upon opening the doors found she was snoring!

Another one of the accidents was also a female but she was hit by a van running a red light.  She was a teenage college student and probably this was her first accident. We pulled over to see if she was alright.  We were amazed at the hundreds of people that just kept going.  The right thing to do is to stay if you have witnessed an accident.  You can leave after they have your information.  In this case, this saved this girls future.  The man who was clearly under some sort of influence had sued her and we were asked to testify on her behalf.  As soon as the judge finished listening to the man's testimony and seeing his previous convictions that threatened the removal of his license, Steve gave our version of what we saw and the judge did the right thing and removed his license.  This man clearly had no business driving.  It could have been me.  I was at the same light in the next lane to this girl. I started to go when the red light turned green but I saw something but couldn't figure out what it was so I didn't go.  She never saw him because he didn't have his lights on!  It was dark and he was driving a brown van. I just happened to catch a glimpse of a reflection of his front bumper for a fleeting second. Thank God, that could have been me.

That's all it takes…a fleeting moment.  I learned this when I was fifteen years old. Our lives can be ended or altered in a moment. My best friend Lori in high school was a victim of a drunk driver.  A drunk driver in an Chevy Impala hit her head on in a Volkswagen beetle going 100mph.  Not pretty. At sixteen, my friend was gone forever.  I learned three lessons at a very young age: 1) To cherish the moments we have 2) To live for the day and 3) To drive responsibly free from alcohol or drugs.  The right thing to do is to take my friend’s keys when they are drinking.  I'm frequently the designated driver and glad to be so.  I've seen too many accidents that show time and time again, letting a friend drive drunk may be the last time you see them. Having them temporarily mad at me is better than someone else being the first on the scene of their accident.

“I never worry about being driven to drink; I just worry about being driven home.” ~WC Fields

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