Accident Could Have Been Worse
by Andy Van Berkum
(Columbia, South Carolina, United States)
It was a cold October morning in Iowa. The night before, my sister and I had packed up a used pick-up truck she had just purchased for our move to Detroit. The truck was packed. We also had two cats with us, which were actually riding behind the two front seats of the two-seater. (They could have ridden up front with me, but they seemed to like it behind the seats, for some reason.)
About thirty miles into our journey -- we had just entered the city of Sioux City, Iowa -- the accident occurred. We were on the highway, which is four lanes divided by a median (two lanes for each direction) going over a bridge. The roads were not icy; weather conditions were fine, though it was blistering cold. At the bottom of a bridge was a man in a sports car, stopped in the median.
There was no reason to believe the man didn't see us; there was nothing to obstruct his view. But just as we were coming to the end of the bridge, he slowly moved out into the middle of the highway. It was too late to stop, and we slammed into the side of his car at 50mph.
In the moments just before the accident, when I realized that we were going to collide, I was not afraid in the least. In fact, I was light-hearted; I did not feel that I was in any danger. My head hit the windshield, but did not go through -- my sister and I were both wearing our seatbelts -- and I did not notice that anything was wrong with me.
Immediately, when the truck came to a stop, I got out and ran to the other side of the vehicle to check on my sister. She was horrified at the sight of me, blood streaming down my face. It was actually just some minor cuts to the bridge of my nose -- I didn't realize it was cut -- but it must have looked horrific. I was happy to see that she was alive, and, on the surface, all right.
My sister was pinned between her seat and the steering wheel. Police soon arrived on the scene and got her out. She had only suffered minor whiplash. She was mostly worried about me, thinking I was in much worse shape than I actually was. She was pretty shook up about it, but I felt fine. The front of the pick-up was demolished, a minor crack on the windshield from where I hit my head.
The man in the other car stood across the road next to his car. His car was bent out of shape, but he looked perfectly unscathed. He never did come to talk to us, or to apologize.
The cats were all right, too! Which was surprising, considering that there was also a large mirror behind the seats. The truck was towed and we were left with all of our belongings at the side of the road, freezing our butts off. But, luckily, some friends of mine just happened to be riding by. They stopped and helped us to call my dad, who came to retrieve us. Before he came another old friend spotted us and stopped! The truck had been towed by then, and it was just my sister, me, and our stuff lying at the side of the road, with my face all covered in dried-up blood. I realize now that I never did explain to him what happened -- I just asked if he could help us bring some stuff back home. But we managed to fit it all into my dad's car.