While on our way to visit my sister and her family in New Hampster, Kelly and I were unfortunate enough to be stuck behind a car that started driving a bit erratically. Then things really got crazy.
I had noticed that the car was weaving a bit within its lane. I said something to Kelly about it, something to the effect that the driver seemed to be having trouble staying in their lane. Kelly said something about them being distracted, like maybe they were on the phone or something. Then suddenly the car starts into the opposing lane. I thought maybe they were passing someone in a rather reckless manner, but then they barely missed a car and then a rather large delivery truck (one of those that has a small crane on the bed) swerved to miss it as well. Then it became really obvious that something was terribly wrong. The car went off the road and into a small depression/drainage ditch. Then it leaped out of the ditch into the parking lot of a restaurant (it was Bessie’s, to be exact), knocked the front of a parked Cadillac clean off, and then stopped when it plowed into the side of yet another parked car. Kelly and I saw all this as we drove by on the road. Needless to say we stopped and turned around to see if anyone was hurt and to see if we could help.
When we got to the parking lot the driver had already gotten out of her car and was on the phone. We talked to a few other people to make sure no one was hurt, and through some incredibly amazing luck no one was hurt. The careening car had just missed someone who was sitting in their parked car. The whole accident happened at a rare time when the parking lot was not full, also. So we made sure someone had called the police (I had just seen a Brentwood Police cruiser go by right after the accident) and then we waited for them to get there. When the car hit the ditch it apparently shattered the oil pan and cracked the front axle. I would be shocked if the car was not totaled in the wreck. It was a mess. Even after hitting the ditch, breaking the axle, and shredding the left front tire the car was still moving with enough force to knock the front bumper off that Caddy and send it flying, plus crunch the side of the other car, plus gouge a nice big trench in the pavement. I told the driver she was damn lucky that no one was hurt and that she was not killed. I fully expected her car to flip over once it went off the road like that. She had to be doing between 50 and 60 miles an hour when she went off the road. At that speed people usually roll their car when they go off the road like that. She did not have a scratch on her. And for some reason her air bag did not deploy either, which really surprised me.
Anyway, finally no less than three police cars showed up, two from Brentwood PD and one from the sheriff’s department. I talked to the senior officer and gave him my version of events. Once they knew I was a part-time cop in Cambridge, both he and the sheriff’s deputy asked me what I thought had happened, so I told them. I said I figured she had probably fallen asleep. I don’t know how else to explain it. That is what it looked like to me, anyway. So I gave them my contact info and then we got back on the road to my sister’s house, which was only a few miles away.
Afterwards I was thinking about how lucky all of us had been, including Kelly and I. Had the timing been just slightly different, and had the driver of the truck not missed the car, odds are pretty good that Kelly and I would have been involved in the accident as well. If the car and truck had collided head-on we would probably have been involved too, because I doubt we would have had the time or space to react and get out of the way. We had already noticed that something was wrong, and so I was trying to be mindful of what that car was doing. So everybody was lucky. Hopefully nothing like that will happen again for a while. I really don’t need or want that kind of excitement.
Don’t drive sleepy. Caffeine is your friend.