Life changing crash

At 5:55 p.m. on November 15, my Mother and I had a life changing moment.  We were driving back to my Mother’s house after my basketball practice and a parent-coach meeting. I was looking down at my phone, texting a friend, when I felt the recognizable lean to go from Antelope street to Guernsey street.  There was a semi-truck across from us, but there was plenty of time to cross safely.  Little did we know, a red car was hidden behind the larger truck and  was going beyond the speed limit.

I felt the impact, I heard horns honking, then the airbags erupted, and our car was filled with an electrical burning fume.  It was so surreal, like from a movie.  The world went on mute and all the problems of my life went away.  I was only focused on the 180 degree spin of the car and figuring out my next move: getting out of the vehicle.  Once I could hear again and began to process everything that had just happened, I heard the sound of my Mother’s and my own screaming.  I threw my phone onto the ground and hit at the airbags that were surrounding me and keeping me safe.  The burning smell suffocated me as I gasped for clean air.  I batted at the air cushions then unbuckled my seat belt and opened the passenger door.  I fell out of the vehicle, crying and shouting.  I got up, but soon realized that my mom was still in the car, trying to unbuckle her stuck seat belt.  As I was about to crawl back into the car to help her, she got it undone and escaped.  I was holding onto the car door, struggling to move, when my Mother came around the car and pulled me into a hug.  We held onto each other for dear life, while we shakingly walked to the sidewalk and collapsed.

People quickly surrounded us, making sure we were okay and no one was hurt.  By 6:00 pm, there were police officers, firefighters, and an ambulance surrounding me and my mom.  I was impressed with the haste of the first responders and how quickly they had gotten to the scene.  Many people talked to me, asking me simple questions: “What is your name?” and “What is your date of birth?” before moving on to my Mother to question her about what had happened.  When I was left by myself, I often found myself observing the vehicle, how the officers worked, the reaction of passersby and those living close by, and looking for the car and its owner who had crashed into us.  Down the road, about 110 feet away from me, was the car that had hit us.  I looked at the damage done to our blue Prius and the red Toyota, which was now stopped in someone’s front yard.  The other driver was a young man, he looked to be in his early twenties and was unharmed.  No one else was in the automobile with him.  I was later told that if the semi truck that had previously been blocking our view of the red car, had not gone around us, it would have hit the shotgun seat and killed me and my Mother.

I rethink the events of that traumatic day and am so grateful for my survival, my Mother’s safety, and the other driver’s well-being.  The urgency of the police and firefighters was noteworthy.  The concern of people who did not know any of the victims was not something to be scoffed at either.  During a dangerous and frightening time, those people greatly helped me, my Mother, and the young man.  The car crash also heightened my appreciation for seatbelts and airbags, though I hope to never need them again.