Monday, September 20, 2010

Counting my blessings... with haunting sorrow...

On this morning's drive, Sam and I came across a bad accident that had just happened. Later, after dropping Sam off at the high school, I called my BFF, Sandy. I try to talk with Sandy in the mornings as many days as we can connect. Some days we miss, but often we are both driving into work at the same time so we have a chance to talk. Yes, we are both driving and talking on our cell phones. But it is not illegal to do so in Michigan or Texas, and both of us are on an easy, mostly clear & straight route and we are very cautious. On more than one occasion, one of us has had to stop the conversation just to pay attention to traffic or whatever. In a word, we are both careful.

This morning, heading East, I was driving right into the sunrise. I told Sandy about the sun, because it was brighter than usual. Sandy was driving in the dark since it's an hour earlier there in Texas. I said, "I might as well be in the dark, with this sunshine, it's like I'm driving blind."

And I was, with the sun so bright on my windshield, which wasn't very clean, I was unable to see most of what was in front of me. I basically slowed down and followed the car in front of me. I think we were all doing that coz I was part of a long line of slower-than-usual cars. When I got into town, it was kinda hairy at the traffic lights. I seriously could not tell if it was green or not.

Then I talked with my sister just a bit ago. The accident that Sam and I saw was horrible. It was between a school bus (one from our district) and a red Jeep Cherokee. The fronts of both the bus and the Jeep were smashed. Not just smashed... gone. When Sam and I approached, there were a lot of vehicles stopped at the accident site, and traffic was down to one lane in each direction. The bus was half-way into the East-bound far lane facing West, and the Jeep was half-way into the West-bound far lane facing East. Since the bus was on Sam's side, he was checking it out. There was a person standing at the entrance, but the door and entrance was mangled. Sam thought there were kids on the bus, but he couldn't tell for sure because the sun was shining on the bus windows. I found out from my sister there were no kids, only the driver and another adult. Thank God.

I had my window down; I put it down because I was too warm in the bright sunshine. We got about level with the smashed Jeep, and I had to stop because an ambulance was approaching fast, all vehicles were stopped. I could hear the scene before I looked over... Laying face-down in the dirt on the edge of the road was a man, about age 35 I think. He was mostly covered with a white blanket, but not his head. Kneeling next to him was a woman, and she was sobbing and screaming and wailing, she was rocking back and forth kind of, and touching his head. I can't stop thinking about what I saw, and I cannot get that sound of her agony out of my head. I'm not sure I ever will.

My sister told me that she heard the bus driver and the adult passenger were taken to the hospital but were both ok. Kathy works in the school district, so she was able to find that out. No one knows anything yet about the man driving the Jeep, though. Kathy heard that the Jeep pulled out directly in front of the bus and they hit head-on. Everyone seems to believe the man driving the Jeep likely didn't see the bus because of the bright sunshine. A truck had pulled out just before him, and people seem to think he probably just followed the truck. Like what I did this morning at the traffic lights... How many of us have done something exactly like that...

I am still amazed at how that school bus smashed that Jeep like it was an empty beer can.

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