||[Apr. 19th, 2010|11:50 pm]
On Sunday I was taking Ed to work and had plans to return home and nap before I had to head to work myself. We were running quite late; Ed has been editing a film he shot and had rendered he file overnight and was trying to get it onto my laptop so he could work on it while he waited for me, and also we needed to stop to buy gas. |
Running late already, we round a turn and I see a car flipped upside down in the woods. It was down in the swamp, completely surrounded by and resting against trees. My first thought was "why is there a car body there, and why have I not noticed it before?" and then it occured to me, once I noticed the wheels were still turning, that this was an accident. And a very serious one.
I proclaimed something along the lines of "oh my god" or "oh, shit" or something, and Ed turns to me and asks what's wrong. He didn't see it at all! I threw the car into reverse, but then realized that rather than going to the accident myself, I needed to summon help. I dialed 911 on the cell phone, but we were in a very rural area with minimal signal. I could hear them only here and there, and they likewise. I drove rapidly to the nearest house, but they must have just left for church. Their dogs were outside which is the reason I thought *someone* might be home, but they were not. Ed was still trying to get a hold of 911 on my cell phone. I swore I heard screaming, but Ed says it was birds. I imagine he was right.
I immediately went to the next house and an older lady answered the door. She had about 7 kids passed out all about her living room so I imagine she must have been party-guardian the night before. I immediately told her what I had seen, and told her she had to call 911. She told me to come in and do it since I knew the details.
I called for 911 and gave the information and my name. I asked if I needed to go back to the scene and she told me since I was not involved in the accident I did not. I wanted to, but was afraid just the same. I honestly did not believe I would find someone alive in that car (it was an AWFUL-AWFUL accident...) or if they were alive, I was afraid I was going to find someone critically injured. I know basic cpr from midwifery classes, but I was not about to try to remove an injured person from an upside down automobile.
I decided I would take Ed to work and stop back on the way home since that would give the EMT's time to stablize everyone and get things going.
I dropped Ed off at his work and immediately started home. We live 40 minutes from where we work. The majority of the road is lightly traveled main roads, but are probably equalivant to back roads to everyone else who lives in less rural areas. The last 15 minutes of the 40 minutes is interstate.
By the time I had dropped him off and was halfway up the interstate towards the exit a state trooper flies by me, lights flashing. I trailed behind him, though I obviously was no where near him at the speed he was traveling.
When I arrived back at the scene the fire department was there, flares were about and a flagman stopped me. I explained I was the one who had called 911 and asked if I needed to speak to the trooper as my father had instructed me to do so after I called him to tell him the situation. The flagman did not know, so he asked a fireman who also did not know. They said the trooper would be back shortly, and I could park to the side if I wanted. I waited about 5-10 minutes and then the flagman came back and told me I could leave as 911 had my name, basically what I had been told by 911.
Everyone was solemn, and the fact I saw no ambulances concerned me. They had flipped the car over by that point, though it was still down in the swampy woods. I could see it clearly now; both front and rear windows were completely broken. The car had hit the tree head on rather than on the passenger side as my first glance when I saw it had indicated. I knew it was bad; worse than I had thought, even.
I drive on towards Goshen and I start to hear something overhead. A helicopter. I look up and see it's landing to the side of me. I knew at this point the driver was alive, though obviously cricically injured. The UVA helicopter is serious business. UVA is about 90 minutes from us, but the very serious cases are airlifted to their trauma unit as it's the best in the state.
I obviously did not take my nap. I went home and chain smoked and wondered what else I could have done.
Ironically I would later find out I knew the girl in the car. She is my seventh grade science teacher's daughter. She is about 19 years old and while I did not know her personally I do have one memory of her. One Halloween, when I was about 10, I was staying at my dad's house. I had already been trick-or-treating and had a plastic pumpkin full of candy. My dad lives far up on a hill and has no neighbors for miles and miles. He is definitely not someone who ever, ever has had children show up for candy. For whatever reason, my teacher showed up with his two children. I had to give them some of my candy as my dad had none set out for trick or treaters.
That's the one memory I have of her. It's just strange how fate works out that way.
My dad happens to have chicken pox (how weird is that, anway?!?!) and he was at the doctors today. He spoke to the nurse, told her I was the one who found the car, and asked how she was doing or if she knew anything. All she knew was she had been air lifed (I obviously knew this), and that she had to have an operation. I'm not sure what kind. A man from my town had a facebook status from the day the accident occured asking for prayers for her as they were not sure she was going to make it.
I'm hoping she can pull through.
This was the third accident I was first to arrive at. I'm not sure if this means I should become an EMT or something, but I really seem to have a knack for this. I really wish I didn't. This was by far the worse though.
I have issues with accidents anyway after my favorite uncle died in a car crash. We spent so much time at that accident scene. First to gather papers and such that had fallen from the car before we headed off to the junk yard to go through the car itself. And second when the coroner called; Dennis was missing some of his teeth.
We had to go back and search the grass for his teeth.
We found them, but the whole ordeal traumatized me.