Suddenly everything went blurry, my legs weakened as I staggered to the doorway. Luckily, there were a couple of nurses nearby to catch me as I collapsed. The next few minutes were surreal. I could barely make out the faces of the nurses standing over me frantically checking my vitals. My thoughts were consumed with the idea that they must have missed something. Perhaps, I was now bleeding internally and this was the end. Turns out they didn’t miss anything and obviously it wasn’t the end. It was the emotional distress of the day catching up with me and my body just decided it was time to clock out for a few minutes.
A few hours earlier, my wife, my daughter (who was nearly 3 at the time), and I were driving down the highway on our way to look at homes for sale. It was late afternoon Friday June 22, 2007. The day was filled with sunshine and blue skies. We were ¼ mile from our exit when BAM! We were hit from behind by what felt like a Mack truck. I tried to regain control of the vehicle as we swerved from side to side. Then again – BAM! We were hit on the side. That’s the hit that sent us off the road. I recall heading straight towards an incline. The problem with speeding towards an incline is what’s on the other side – the downhill portion. It took a couple of rolls for my mind to process what was happening. By the time my mind caught up to the present moment and became fully aware of the situation we had 3 rolls left. I vividly remember those last 3 rolls. It felt like we were in a giant clothes dryer tumbling end over end. However, it’s not the physical feeling of those moments that haunt me. It’s the emotions I felt as I became absolutely convinced that when the rolling stopped, my wife, daughter, or both would be dead. It’s a feeling I will never forget.
When the rolling finally stopped, we were lucky to be right side up – and alive. We were also very blessed to have a wonderful group of people who stopped to help and comfort us as we waited for the emergency crews. When the crews arrived, I was strapped to a backboard while my wife was being cut out of the car with the Jaws of Life.
The injuries included stitches and a shoulder injury for me, my wife had suffered a broken back and a gash in her head requiring staples, and my daughter only a couple of minor scratches. As bad as that sounds, it could have been a lot worse. There’s no doubt we’re all alive today because we had our seat belts on. Prior to this accident, I never wore my seat belt. It’s actually a little bit of a mystery to me why I happened to have it on that day. I’m thankful I did and now I never travel without it on.
“Seat belts save lives” is more than just a slogan – it’s a truth and the 3 of us are living proof.
Please let this story serve as a reminder to always wear your seat belt.