We don’t really do romantic valentines days at our house. We never really have. Jesse brought me red roses two days ago. From the grocery store. And I was not offended. It was a sweet gesture in our budget. And he had jackson give them to me. Perfection.
He asked me what I wanted to do for v-day. I wanted to go to the closest target (an hour away) and maybe grab lunch with my boys. Ro-man-tic.
The weather was foggy and cold when we left home, which sucked because it had been so nice all week. I almost didn’t bring a heavy coat, but ran back in and grabbed it right before we pulled out of the drive way. And I almost switched jackson to be front facing in his car seat because he’s getting kind of intolerable to listen to him whine because he’s bored and can’t see us in the car, but we ran out of time.
On the way jesse drove and I played a game on my tablet as jackson threw all of his toys on the floor and whined about it. The roads seemed okay, we were all traveling the speed limit. We were about 10 miles away from town, when out of the corner of my eye in the opposite lane I saw a dark truck go spinning into the median ditch. It hit an approach head on and started flipping end-over-end down the median towards us. It was the most terrifying thing I had ever witnessed. We immediately pulled off the road and I called 911 as jesse ran to the pickup. Others behind us stopped. Jesse and I switched spots so he could be with the baby in the car while I ran to the victim who was laying face down in the ditch about 50 yards from his wrecked truck. It happened so fast, we never even see him get thrown from the vehicle.
As I approached, I was certain he was dead. His face was purple and mottled. As a nurse practitioner, I took over, kneeled in front of the young man. He was conscious, talking even. He wasn’t breathing well. He was in pain. People were bringing blankets and coats – it was 18 degrees and sleeting – to keep him warm. I knelt in the wet freezing ground in front of his face and learned all about him, asking him questions to keep him awake, and holding him down so he wouldn’t try to move. Thank, thank, thank God I threw in my coat. Too bad I was wearing ballet flats and had put my hair up wet! Brrrr.
It took forever for EMS to arrive. I felt so helpless – all I could do was keep him talking, keep him warm, and keep him still. Sadly, I could smell alcohol on his breath. At noon. As we waited, lots of people had stopped to help, someone shouted, “there goes another one!” I looked up, and about 200 yards down the median another pickup pulling a trailer rolled into the ditch. How they didn’t hit any bystanders, we’ll never know.
Eventually he was safely loaded into an ambulance. He was alive, but not in great shape. Definite back injury, and I think he probably broke ribs and punctured a lung at least. Not to mention a wicked concussion – he had no recollection of the accident and kept asking the same questions over and over again. I gave my statement to law enforcement and tried to warm up in our car. Then we slowly drove into town. We went to eat, but I was so shook up I didn’t have an appetite, jesse agreed he didn’t either.
That boy – he was 17 – is remarkably lucky. Lucky for his life. Lucky he didn’t hit anyone else. And really, lucky he couldn’t remember the accident. The other people who went into the ditch were okay – they were wearing their seatbelts.
The whole incident was crazy. So, so insane. Never a more appropriate day to be thankful for the ones we love. Hug em close! And jackson is staying rear facing for a while. Way safer!!