The car was spinning and I was literally not in control. I saw the center barrier wall of the freeway coming toward me. People talk about how times like this seem to pass in slow motion and it’s really true. I was trying to remember everything I had ever learned about maintaining control of a spinning vehicle – and nothing seemed to be coming to mind. Except to pray. I remember saying “Oh Jesus,” and it was a prayer! One of the kids was screaming. And the big black pickup truck which had cut me off and caused the problem was speeding down the freeway off-ramp. I was aware of it all, but it felt like I was in a dream.
When the car came to a stop we had not hit the wall. Then almost as an afterthought, an oncoming car hit the passenger side of our car, and Monica’s face crashed into the window. The poor driver of that car had not been able to stop, valiantly as he had tried. The last thing he had expected to see that day was a car stopped sideways in his lane on the freeway.
As I think back on it I remember, almost irrelevantly, being sad that his crunched car was some kind of a beautifully restored older model with a gorgeous ornate grille.
This all came back to my mind as I had quiet time in my magic chair this morning. I was reading The Daily Bread and there was a story about an accident and a hit and run driver. How many times over the years I have thought about the driver of that big black pickup, and wondered if he ever thinks about that day.
So many times I have recalled it all with amazement. Our car was totaled, of course. And I don’t know about the beautiful collector car that hit me. But Monica’s concussion was the most serious injury in a crash that could easily have been fatal.
By the time the police arrived, my composure was on the verge of crumbling. I was second guessing every move I had made, and wondering if there had even been a big black pickup.
The police officer talked with me, and then – wonder of wonders – he told me that there were two witnesses who had stopped and had concurring accounts of the crash. One person was in a car up ahead of us, parked on the shoulder of the freeway. He saw the crash and pulled over to wait for the police. The other witness, now parked on the shoulder some way behind us had seen it all; but it was too late for him to stop so he actually got off the freeway and came back.
Both witnesses had seen the big black pickup, and one of them told the police officer he had never seen such skillful driving as mine. That cracks me up. I know I am not a particularly skillful driver and I know I was not in control during that event.
I’m unspeakably thankful to God for protecting us and guiding my mind and my hands and feet. And I am forever grateful to the two people, (who I never met) who were conscientious enough to wait for the police and tell what they saw. And I hope that the man who hit me was able to restore his beautiful collectible car.