Yesterday for lunch, Dad met Susan, the kids and I over at the new Chinese buffet in Yukon. Lunch was good, but uneventful. We chatted, we ate, we left. Susan and the kids left in one car while dad and I stood in the parking lot chatting for a few more minutes. Then, he and I (who also drove separately) left, each heading home.
As I came over the bridge at Czech Hall at I-40, I saw several cars pulled over to the right hand side of the road. I immediately recognized one of the cars as Susan’s van. As I hit the brakes and swerved to the right hand shoulder. I saw Susan standing outside the van, crying. My gut instinct was that she had been in an accident, but I didn’t see any obvious damage to her car.
I flung my door open and ran over to her. “Those people are dead, I know it,” she said. She pointed over the embankment and down at the bottom of the hill was a severely damaged Chevy pickup. The tire tracks of where the truck had driven off the road were quite visible in the grass. The pickup had obviously rolled several times and landed at the bottom of the steep embankment.
I asked Susan several times if she was okay and she said she was. I asked her if she saw the accident and she said yes, that it had happened just a few seconds ago. Two other cars stopped as well. A man had gone down the steep hill and was checking on the driver. Another lady, a nurse, was standing at the top of the hill. Susan had offered a blanket for the driver who was at least unconscious, and the nurse said that was a good idea. Susan handed me the small blanket and I told her to take the kids and go home. Still shook up, she got back in the car and drove off.
I made it four or five steps down the hill as I began to hear approaching sirens. I stood, frozen, as the first fire truck pulled up. The first two firemen got out of the truck with what appeared to be a portable version of “the jaws of life”. As they began to work their way down the hill, the man standing down by the truck looked up at us and shook his head as if to say there was no reason to hurry.