Saturday, January 23, 2010

911

First, I want to start by saying everyone is fine. That's what my dad says whenever he's about to reveal some terrible thing that happened to someone in the family. Not comforting at all, is it? But really, everyone is FINE, and nothing happened to anyone in our family. See, that's called compassion. Now, on with my post.

Thursday was Brooke's 7th birthday. (I know. I can't believe it either. But we'll save her birthday photos, etc. for the next post...) I still had some shopping to do for her party, and since Katie starts school at 12:00, I decided we should leave early so I could spend a little one-on-one with her before dropping her off. We jumped in the truck and I pulled out onto the road, headed toward the freeway. I almost sped up to get in front of another car, but for whatever reason, I waited for him go by, then got over into the turning lane. Once we were on the freeway, I was driving unusually slow. By that I mean, I was going the speed limit. I even remember thinking, I should just start driving the speed limit from now on. It's really not that bad... (I know, I know. I don't need a lecture--I just gave myself one.)

Anyway, we were almost to our exit on Antelope Drive when off to the left, about 4 car-lengths ahead, I saw a puff of white and saw a white Jeep kick up gravel in the median then turn 90 degrees, cross all three lanes of traffic right in front of me, and slam squarely into the 20 ft. concrete wall at about 50 MPH! This is something you see on police dashcams on the news, not right in front of you in real life. It was unreal. Of course, I immediately slammed on my brakes, pulled off the road, grabbed my phone & called 911. I was hesitant to approach the vehicle--guess I've seen too many movies where crashed cars blow up--but I saw someone waving out the blown-out back window. Two other witnesses stopped, so we all ran up to see what we could do. Through the side window I could see a car seat, so my heart just sank. The guy in the back said it was just him and the driver. Whew. The driver was really, really bad, though. I went back to the truck to make sure Katie was okay. Poor girl saw the whole thing. She was really worried, so I climbed in and shut the door, and we said a prayer together. It definitely helped us both to calm down. I went back out to the Jeep to see if there was anything else I could do. (Talk about feeling helpless! Telling someone not to move, and to just keep breathing seems so silly now.) After what seemed like ages, officers, EMT's & firefighters finally started to show up. I think there were about 4 UHP's, 2 fire trucks, 2 incident management trucks, 3 Layton City police cars, and 2 ambulances surrounding me. What relief I felt! As I retreated to the warm truck where Katie was, to fill out my statement, I had a front row view to the rescue that took about 40 minutes. It was like watching a synchronized swimming routine. I was struck by the ease with which everyone seemed to move around each other, all the while getting their job done without hindering the next person. I was amazed. Katie and I sang songs.

The next thing I knew, the entire freeway was at a stand-still. As the guy from the back seat got loaded onto an ambulance, the descending AirMed helicopter landed about 5 yards away from us. I almost thought the truck would blow over. The poor guy had to be really bad off to be literally 100 yards from Davis Hospital, but being loaded up on a chopper headed to Salt Lake. I don't think I've ever seen so much blood in my life, and the smell is still stuck in my nose. An hour after the initial accident, and after an impressive extraction, AirMed took off, and the freeway started flowing again. The officer in charge gave Katie a little badge for being so brave, took my statement and thanked me for helping. One of the DOT guys stopped traffic for me (Where's HE in real life?) and we continued on our way.

We no longer had time to do any shopping, so I took Katie to school, then headed back home. As I passed by the scene where the Jeep laid in a crumpled heap, I couldn't help but think of the choices I'd made earlier. What if I hadn't let the car go ahead of me? What if I decided to go my usual zipping down the freeway? If we had been even one second ahead of where we were, that jeep would've pinned us to that concrete wall.
All I could do was thank my Heavenly Father, and sob the rest of the way home.

Here's the article written up in the Standard Examiner. You can actually see our truck through the back window of the helicopter in the first picture.

5 comments:

Marisa said...

Wow. What a scary experience. So glad you were being watched over and you made the choices you did!

Fiddlefish said...

So glad you were listening.

MOMof7 said...

OK. So I am now in tears! (Somewhat reliving my own experience and choices here.) I'm so glad that you heeded those promptings!! We are so truly blessed when we CHOOSE to listen. Love you and so happy that all is well!

Kate said...

I have tears in my eyes! Love life flight but hate it at the same time. Scares me every time I see it after Luke's accident. So glad you and Katie are ok, very miraculous that your lives were saved!

Tasha said...

Holy Cow Amanda! That is so scary. What a teaching moment you had with Katie though. I'm glad you are both okay.