Friday, 27 July 2012
By Marcy Belson
One accident in 75 years - that is the only car "wreck" I have experienced.
I was 15 years old and we had driven to California from Arizona to spend Thanksgiving with our family. We started home in the late afternoon and it was a four-hour trip by car. My mother was the driver and as we neared our town, a bridge had been dismantled for repair work with a detour down the side on a temporary gravel road.
She wasn't asleep but she might have been very close to it. My father in the front passenger seat and me with my cocker spaniel dog "Honey" were all sleeping. Next to me on the back seat was a large piece of Samsonite luggage.
She never saw the signs directing her to take the detour. She continued straight to the bridge, and too late - we were nose down, the car tumbling over front to rear.
I have a clear memory of waking up and falling in the air - dog, luggage, me, all airborne. We landed at the bottom of the river bed, right side up and amazingly lucky, the car doors opened.
Someone behind us, arriving minutes later, offered and my father accepted, a ride to the hospital to be checked out. I can't imagine that I would have left my dog and while I don't remember the details, the good Samaritan must have taken the dog with us.
I do remember being in the emergency room waiting for a doctor. By then it was after midnight, and small down hospitals had doctors on call.
We were so lucky that night, not a broken bone among the three of us. It's a wonder the Samsonite luggage didn't kill one of us. We were bruised and battered, but I went to school the following day and life went on.
Someone told me a week or so later that the wrecking company hauled the Cadillac through town and the gossips were saying that I was the driver and my parents were saying my mother was behind the wheel for insurance reasons. Not true.
I've been in a car that I drove into the Salton Sea and one that slid off the road, but never a "real" accident since that time.
Yesterday, as I sat with my husband having our lunch in the car parked on the Walmart lot, we watched as a woman driver in a small four door compact car rolled. She rolled it sideways, over and over, across four lanes of street. There was no other car involved, that we could see. Plus, no one else was hit as she careened across the street.
I figured she was dead. I asked Gordon to call 911 and he did but someone else had been quicker. The ambulance could be heard coming down the street. The firemen had her on a board and stretcher in less than five minutes.
The next time I have to make a decision about voting for money for the firemen, I will vote for them. They don't get paid enough for the work they do. Same goes for the police department.
I hope the woman is okay; I'll probably never know. Knock wood, it could have been me.
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