Headlights exploding, metal crunching, air bags instantly inflating. My daughter screaming.
As I drove my daughter to a friend’s house on May 4, there came that awful reminder that your life can change in an instant.
It happened as I passed through a major intersection on a solid green light.
Seemingly out of nowhere, a silver minivan turned in front of me. For some reason, the driver decided to make a left turn just as I came into the intersection.
We T-boned right into the passenger side of this guy’s car. I heard the crunching metal, the hissing gas inflating the airbags, the crunching glass. But the sound I’ll remember the longest was my daughter’s screams.
We came to a stop halfway on the sidewalk, somehow avoiding any other cars. The guy in the minivan wasn’t so lucky. After our impact, he careened into two other cars that had been stopped at the red light waiting for their turn to go.
First, thing I did, of course, was check on my daughter. She was scratched where the seatbelt caught her from going through the windshield, a nasty bruise already developing around her collarbone. But she was going to be OK.
It was the first of tiny miracles I started noticing.
Within seconds of the crash, there was a knock on the car window. It was a city bus driver checking to see if we were OK and sharing something remarkable.
“We have cameras mounted on the front of all our buses,” she told me. “My bus was behind the other two cars who got hit. Caught the whole accident. Get a copy of that video and anyone can see this wasn’t your fault.”
Soon another woman walked up and said, “I just want you to know I was standing on the corner. I’m an eyewitness. I saw everything. This wasn’t your fault. I’m going to stay here until the police get here so that I can give a statement.” Who does that anymore?
I got out to check on the other drivers and passengers. Remarkably, everyone was OK.
“I never saw you,” the driver of the minivan told me right away. He later told the cop on the scene, “My line of sight was blocked by cars on the other side of the intersection also trying to turn left. I guess I never should’ve gone.”
Easy to think, “Uh, no, you shouldn’t have, jerk!” except how many times have we all done that? Taken that chance driving that you know you shouldn’t have?
The police officer cited the minivan driver right there on the spot, so there is no question as to who is at fault.
All four drivers have insurance, and the minivan’s insurance company is already owning full liability.
Oh, yeah, and now I have this person called “my husband” who I was able to call and have him come be by my side. That was interesting, comforting, wonderful twist after years of handling life crises as a single gal.
All is not perfect. My car has been declared a total loss. I actually teared up at the impound lot saying goodbye to this loyal old friend who gave her life to save ours.
My legs look like bruised rotting eggplants where the lower airbags exploded. Because of that and raw emotions, my steps have been slow and cautious this week.
They will heal. There will eventually be a new car as I dig out of tangle of insurance companies. Turns out the driver doesn’t have nearly enough insurance to cover the four cars he wiped out, so we each must use our own insurance, as well.
But we have excellent insurance, another blessing I put in the column of things that can so incredibly right, even when it seems, out of nowhere things have gone terribly wrong.