My wife has complained in the past that I have a tendency to run toward the gun fire. There’s a funny story about the time she and I were walking down the street in NYC with some friends and witnessed a cop hanging off the door of a moving vehicle as he tried to initiate an undercover bust, but that’s for another day. Today, it was toward an accident.
The scary thing about what happened today was that it could have been us. We had just pulled over on the side of the road (corner of Leary and Redmond Way) and thought about pulling back out into traffic to make a left onto Redmond Way and park behind Gerks. Another car was pulling past us in traffic, so I opted to stay in the spot on the side of the road. Just as I was putting the car in park, the other car was in the middle of the intersection about to get t-boned.
I continue to be amazed about how my senses react to different stress situations. I was distinctly aware of the dilation of time causing things to slow down as I watched the sedan flying westbound on Redmond Way toward the SUV that had just passed us. And then the SUV was flying through the air. I heard the accident, but have no visual imprint of the one car hitting the other. The backend of the SUV came all the way around and then was rolling through the intersection. My perception was such that the sedan was moving so slow, and then *blink*, and things started moving at super high speed.
As I was sprinting toward the accident, I was vaguely aware of someone yelling to call 911, so I checked that off the list of things about which to worry. I also noticed Mason running out of the Gerk’s Ski and Cycle toward the accident, which gave me a little bit of comfort knowing I could trust one of the people on the scene. The Seahawks game was recently over, and there are quite a few bars right in the immediate area, so I wasn’t sure how coherent people would be who were arriving on the scene.
I was the first one at the overturned car, and immediately counted 4 passengers. The driver (the father) was responding that he thought everyone was OK. On reflection, I am a little upset that I was so laser focused on the overturned vehicle that at no point did I think about the car that caused the accident. Turns out she was OK.
The father either opened the sun roof, or it was already open, but I crawled into the car and verified that both he and his wife were without apparent injury. No blood visible, which was surprising given the amount of glass on the ground.
At this point I turned my attention to the kids. I looked at the father and told him I was going to get them out first. I looked behind me and saw some people coming to the car, and one person even climbed on the now top of the car (the passenger side) and was coming in through the rear door passenger window. I was busy trying to get the seatbelt undone for the little girl in the rear passenger seat. The little boy was completely puzzled about what was going on, and (I am not kidding) was still playing his Gameboy 3DS.
Once we managed to get the girl’s seat belt undone, she fell onto me, but the guy on top of the car pulled her out. I was talking to the boy, and he was going on about how cool it was that they flew through the air. He was really well composed for a young man in such an event. As I was undoing his seatbelt, he asked me to find his sister’s gameboy. Very thoughtful.
Once I pulled him out, I noticed for the first time that my wife was right behind me. I handed her the boy and asked that she get the kids away from the car. Next up was the wife, who was, to put it kindly, in a panicking state of shock. The husband had managed to keep his cool through all of this and was talking her down out of the seat. She was shaking pretty badly. When we get her out, I again handed her to my wife. It was at this point that the fire engine arrived on the scene. Total elapsed time was definitely under 5 minutes.
Once the professionals arrived, I got out of the way. There were a few of us who gave statements to the police, and were helping with the family, but our role was complete.
In all, it’s quite amazing that no one was hurt. The driver of the vehicle which caused the accident was fine. She was an elderly driver, and it was clear she was a bi shaken up and feeling quite bad about the whole thing. She apologized to my wife a few times. Quite an interesting way to wrap up the weekend.