Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Roll over

I had to take my car to the dealership for air-conditioning repairs. It is just outside of warranty and too soon for this kind of thing, (Greta) but at least I had the time to go there and sit and do my reading for book club. On the way back I stopped to look in a store, since I could. Didn't see anything to buy, so I headed home. For those who know the area, I was waiting to do the U-turn to go north on Baldwin at Brown Road. First I heard a big smashing sound. I saw crushed up cars in the middle of the intersection. I looked at my radio knob to turn it off (can't think with music on) and at my purse, wondering how long it would take to dig out my cell phone and turn it on to call for help. Then another noise made me look up and there was a green SUV rolling over right before my eyes. I watched it flip side-over-side a full 360 degrees and land right back on it's wheels, facing me. There was junk all over the road and an incredible hissing noise coming from the truck. Would it blow up? I looked for the driver and there he was, upright in position. He proceeded to drive the smashed up hissing thing around and into the bank driveway on the other side of the road. People were shouting asking if he was alright, and a lady on a motorcycle was holding back the traffic on Brown. Some other cars pulled into the driveway after the green truck, and then everything was frozen. It was my turn to do something. So I made the U-turn and went over where the green truck was. I saw people in cars with their phones, calling for help. Someone already had the man out of the green truck, he was holding up his hand, it was bleeding but not too bad. I asked if there was anything I could do to help. He just said "I need an ambulance." Then a lady came out of a white minivan that had pulled in just before me. She was babbling fast about cars coming out of nowhere, and she was shaking. I told her to calm down and I gave her a hug, which seemed to help. I went and made sure the green truck wasn't running and was very tempted to inspect every aspect of it. Over the years in my job I had researched rollover kinematics, watched videos of simulations, tested sheet metal structure for stiffness in crashes, and even done a study on seatbelts in side-over-side rollover events. And here I just had a front row seat for a live one. But I couldn't hit "replay," or do a frame-by-frame slow motion. The police then came roaring up, checked on the man and then looked at me. "Did you witness this?" "Yes!" I said. "What did you see?" "Umm, there was a crash, then this truck was rolling..." "was the light green?" No, the truck was green and that's about as useful as I could be for him. He took my licence info and phone number and told me I could go.
So I drove home feeling shaken and not very useful or observant. But I did hug the minivan lady...was that enough?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Accidents happen VERY fast. There's not much time to think and react. Glad the rollover person could walk away. This is why your mother has consistently warned you about the dangers of driving and especially making left hand turns.
Mary Beth

Anonymous said...

Accidents happen VERY fast. There's not much time to think and react. Glad the rollover person could walk away. This is why your mother has consistently warned you about the dangers of driving and especially making left hand turns.
Mary Beth

Anonymous said...

OF COURSE hugging the minivan lady was enough. I'd dare say you went above and beyond. I heard a quote recently that I really like - "When we speak kind words, we hear kind echoes". I think this applies to hugs, too.

Heather

Anonymous said...

Thank God you were OK despite being close to that accident. It was very nice of you to volunteer to be a witness, but if the police didn't have you write a written statement, it is doubtful that you will be contacted, I guess.
Take care- Aunt Chris
And remember what your mother said about the dangers of driving and hugging strangers and bringing home their germs and making left hand turns.

Aunt Kathy said...

A long time ago, when a newlywed, I witnessed a crash at an intersection, and one of them spun into me! It was not a hard tap, but I remember how upset I was and hadn't the faintest clue about the color of the traffic lights. It was scary to sit in a police car and make a statement. Zenon worked nearby & came in minutes when he heard, and his hug was wonderful!