I just have to get what I saw today out of my head and am writing on pure emotion. But I’ll do my best (Peter Bunket) to stay away from starting sentences with conjunctions.
Last night I realized I was on three bars of gas. Which means I’ll need to fill up to make it to work, or at least till lunch. But instead, I went to Susan’s and did not feel like it at all and didn’t. I get up this morning, feeling tired and a bit rushed so I can get out the door. I was also really pissed at myself for not getting gas the night before as today’s headline news was gas jumped from the $3.70s to $4.15.
As I said goodbye to Ben, I realized I had to go in one more time to grab a jacket because I was cold. I get the jacket, drop off the newspaper in the kitchen and head out and fill my tank. (Thankfully, it was still $3.76).
It’s about 7:20 as I get on the highway, merging into traffic then waiting on a black Chevy Avalanche to get ahead of me so I can get behind him in the left lane. It’s the lane I like to be in, but have to now with the highway I take as the slow lane turns into an offramp with the construction.
I get maybe two minutes until I realize the Avalanche is completely stopped so I slam on my breaks and my car felt completely out of control as if I were on ice. But I felt very in control and even though the car whipped a bit violently left and right over and over, I was able to stop behind him with plenty of room.
I look to my left and see a deer running off the end of the other side of the highway jumping into the field.
“Oh, I’m glad he made it, can’t believe he stopped traffic,” I thought.
Then I realize there are two semi’s and a car pulled over on the other side. I look in the rearview, the car behind me is stopped to, then look to my right and my jaw just dropped.
A semi was completely overturned in the ditch. The front part was twisted and smashed face down and was just crumbled. It was so fresh I could see the smoke and heat coming up. Then I notice next to it a black SUV, a Trailblazer I think, which was smashed up against the fence with little room for them to move.
It was bad. It was so bad. My body went numb and my jaw litterally dropped. Sometimes people do that just to do it, but I had no control over myself–I was in shock with what I saw.
But people are amazing and as I sat there in a weird immobile state, I watched as people pulled over and ran out of their cars to get to the people in the accident. I got out my phone to text my boss because I didn’t think I could get through and in my head knew I was going to get out of the car and see what I could do to help.
Then a few cars made it out and I realized I could get through. I sat there for a minute or two trying to absorb this horrific accident I had seen, knowing it had literally just happened while I was pumping my gas. Then I drove away. What could I do? Nothing. I have no medical experience. There was nothing I could do other than be in the way, not be a witness because I had only seen it after it occurred and possible see dead people. While a few hours later, I know in my head driving away was okay. But this morning I felt awful as those wonderful people stopped and ran to rescue them.
It was eerie as there was maybe one car behind me as it’s typically a heavily traveled highway. Once I got to the downtown split, about 15 minutes later, my aunt called. It’s a new phone, I couldn’t figure out how to answer but called her back.
“…are you okay?” she asks, as if she knew I was a complete numb mess in my head.
“Yeah,” I mumble then burst into tears. I never, ever cry. Sometimes I feel like I’m a terrible person because I don’t cry. And the emotions took over me knowing I may have witnessed at least two people dead. Ugh, gives me chills. I had to take a minute to compose myself, feeling like an idiot for crying because I am fine.
I am fine. This has absolutely nothing to do with me, it has to do with the people that just had their lives changed.
She said, “I’m just glad it wasn’t you, I’m sad for them, and glad you’re okay.”
But it wasn’t supposed to be me, and it’s scary it was to happen to them. It couldn’t be me because I felt lazy last night, didn’t get gas, walked out a few minutes late today because I needed to get my jacket and get gas. And not just a few bucks like I do on mornings like this, but actually waiting to fill my tank. I thought about that this morning and it wasn’t me. I was scared for them. Perhaps it was fate but I don’t want to get deep. At all. That’s not where I’m going. It’s scary when you think about it.
It was just natural. Two deer jumped over a fence, because they’re just animals causing the Trailblazer to hit one of the deer (so the one I saw made it across) and then it caused the semi to wreck too.
It was awful. But the good ending to the story is according to the news all people involved are alive and no life threatening injuries. That’s incredible. It was so bad. And as a writer, journalist, whatever I am, had that been me going to the scene to cover it, I could keep myself totally composed. But something you aren’t expecting that is so raw and so real just really throws you off. I didn’t even think of staying to give information. I just had to go. Which was probably best because I can’t help save their lives.
But at least they are okay, I hope. Here’s a link to what happened.
It’s an odd start to the day and really just puts everything in perspective.
Thanks for listening.