October 11, 2011
My life changed forever Sunday afternoon. We were having a fantastic weekend…it was the first time in months The Hubs had been around on the weekend and we were enjoying a blissful few days together as a family. He’d gone to work that morning, but came home mid-afternoon and we all loaded up in the car to hit the outlet mall for new cold-weather clothes.
We got 1.1 miles from our house, to the first major intersection, and we proceeded through the light on green. I was watching a movie on our center console and never saw the car coming. It came from the right, running the red light, and t-boned us on the passenger side, slamming our car into another SUV waiting to turn left.
There are parts of it I don’t remember. For me the whole accident is more like snapshots in my memory. I remember the movie, then I remember my arms flailing, I remember hitting the other car, glass shattering, then looking up at the traffic light. I remember the feeling of my head hitting the window, then my knee hitting the middle console. I “came to” and immediately grabbed my belly, thinking I was still pregnant. Then I heard the girls crying and I turned to see The Hubs already out of his seat belt, turned around and calming them, and I got my phone out and immediately called 911. Everyone else was already out of their cars and someone else was on the phone as well.
While I was on the phone with 911, a fire truck pulled up behind us, appearing out of thin air. It was about that time The Hubs started looking out the windows (instead of focusing on the girls) and noticed the driver of the car that caused the accident was out of his car and checking out where he hit us. He immediately knew the guy was “off” and announced to me he had to be drunk.
I started looking around and realized the drivers window was gone. Shattered. The driver side mirror was hanging by a thread. The police showed up and asked us what happened, took our info, and went off to ask the others. We later found out 2 people stayed at the scene to give statements to the police that we had the green light.
I noticed the police officer start questioning the driver of the car that hit us and I was SO thankful my window rolled down enough for me to hear their conversation! The guy could barely get a coherent sentence together and told the officer he was coming from a gas station in the total opposite direction of where he was. The officer asked him if he’d been drinking or had taken any narcotics and he denied both. Then he consented to taking a field sobriety test and we watched in awe as he failed the skills one after another. By that time, another officer appeared at the broken driver-side window and said he’d run me home to grab our other car (and I got to ride in the back of the squad car! That was my first and last time to experience that!). None of the doors opened so The Hubs and I had to crawl out of the car through his broken window.
I made it back to the scene just in time to see this:
We tried our hardest to remain totally calm to keep the girls calm. Chloe was behind my seat and we had her thoroughly checked out and she’s fine. Since none of the car doors opened, one of the firemen crawled into the car through the trunk and took the girls out one at a time, then got their car seats out, so we could load them up in our other car and get them home.
There’s nothing that makes you appreciate what you have like almost losing it. There are so many tiny things that could have been different that would have made the accident a lot worse. The Hubs and I have gone over the whole thing several times and the only thing we both explicitly remember is NOT hearing tires screeching. The guy never saw us. He never tried to brake. He never saw the red light he blew through. He had no injuries and showed no signs of remorse for the situation.
Luckily The Hubs and I are the only ones with bumps and bruises and stiff, sore necks. Luckily the girls were properly restrained in properly installed car seats. Luckily I’m a freak about car safety and we were all properly restrained. I went out that night and bought 3 new car seats for them because we wouldn’t allow them to ever ride in their old seats again.
So please, don’t drink and drive. Don’t let someone you know get behind the wheel after a few drinks. We were incredibly blessed to just crawl out of our car and walk away, but plenty of others aren’t so lucky. Hug your babies tighter and love on them every chance you get–we nearly lost ours in the blink of an eye because of someone else’s mistake. I’ll never take them, or anyone in my life, for granted again.