Saturday, March 8, 2008

I walked away without a scratch. How the F*** did that happen?

Wednesday night was probably the scariest night of my life. And all I could think about were two things:

1) I wonder how many eggs are cracked open
2) I really have to dig into writing my memoir because I almost didn't get to write my collection of essays about my life because I almost died.

I left work around 7:30ish and hit up Mr. Z's on the way home. I loaded my groceries into the truck and headed home. It was a chilly night and kind of odd-- there was a lot of water around, but yet some ice. It was as if the h20 was confused... do I freeze or do I melt. Most of the treacherous, rural road I take home everyday that I hate with passion, Route 118, was clear.

The last thing I remember was listening to David Bowie on 102.3 The Mountain. I was just chugging along-- not going to fast because I drive like a grandma anyway. Next thing you know, I totally lost control of the truck and was skidding across the highway backwards, also spinning out several times. I don't know how the hell it happened the way it did, but I hit the embankment just the right way that I just slid down-- rather than roll the truck over as it fell down into the ditch. (The picture below doesn't look like it's that big of an embankment, but it was about six feet.)

It was miraculous that there were no oncoming cars. I had the highway to myself as I spun and skid out of control.

When the shock wore off, I took a mental inventory. I was buried in the snow in an embankment on the opposite side of the road, the east bound lane, facing east-- the total opposite direction I was going. I was snug in my seatbelt. I turned off the engine and called Dave-- losing him several times before I was able to convey what happened. For some reason, I was calm-- no tears or anything. I was just shaken up.

Dave said he'd be on his way. I looked up. A woman in a white car had turned around to check on me, and so did a man. The woman turned out to be the cook at the bar I live across from. I told them both I had someone coming for me. The man made sure I was okay and then left. The woman, Liz, stayed with me.... motherly (or nosy).

NOW a PennDOT truck drives by and drops some cinder down on the black icy road. I can't blame PennDOT for my accident-- as the water probably had been washing away the cinder all night and they had to keep laying it down-- it was an odd night, teetering between freezing and melting.

The PennDOT driver stopped to make sure I was okay as well, and put down some flares. He stayed until Dave got there. I slushed through the snow and realized that there was not a dent or a scratch on the Yukon. I also realized something else.

"Holy Shit!" I screamed as I noticed the perfect landing. I had landed between an creek and a telephone pole and tension wire... the way this accident happened was if a Hollywood stunt man plotted it out to excite, and then relieve thedience.

I was okay, there was no damage- there was no need to call the state police- however since it was dark, rural and the noted problems and history on 118, the tow truck driver wouldn't come without the police knowing he was there. Liz called the police and they said they didn't need to come and they'd send the tow truck to get me out. The driver arrived with a flat bed-- but this road is dangerous and there is no way he could do his job with traffic, so he called the Sweet Valley Volunteer firefighters and three of them came out for traffic duty.

They put out more flares (the ones from PennDot had burned out) and blocked the road from either direction. Dave hopped in the Yukon to steer the truck while the driver pulled the truck out with a winch. It was freakin' amazing..... they almost nailed the tension wire since I was so close, but with the driver's directions and Dave's careful steering, they managed to get the truck out. The road was closed less then ten minutes.... I was so appreciative of everyone's help. The volunteers got there in a heartbeat-- just can't believe how lucky we are to have people like them who will come at the drop of the hat to help.

I am by no means a religious person so to hear everyone who was at the scene gasp at how I landed and say "someone was riding with me" made me feel very lucky to be alive. I have nightmares a lot about getting into a car accident and in those dreams, I feel so helpless and out of control. That is exactly what it felt like to be skidding across the road- only I couldn't just wake up. It was real this time.

By the way-- only ONE egg broke during my groceries' wild ride.


I really hate my road. I dread my drive home every night. I don't so much mind it during the day, but I despise driving it at night, and this accident just confirms my fears. Last summer, I wrote a letter to the editor about Route 118 and then a few months after that, there was another deadly accident.... here are some links.


Jim Rising said...

It's lucky for you that happened just that way. A few more feet either way and we might have had a different and not as good story.

Big Fish said...

Wow, Donna. I'm so glad you're alive! Please get writing. That memior needs the world to read it.

BtheEnemy said...

Holy crap, that is SO freaking scary. Glad you're all right! What the hell would I do without my daily dose p' Donna????