Wednesday, April 14, 2010


On the way in to work this morning, on a back road, we came upon a fresh accident scene. There was a youngish guy standing by the side of the road, and behind him, an SUV had been flipped and totally trashed, surrounded by bits of debris. The car wasn't just totalled; the entire passenger compartment was pancaked flat. I immediately started thinking if there was someone still in there we'd have a hard time getting them out, but I also realized that there wouldn't be much left to get out -- no one still there would have much chance of having survived. But thankfully, there wasn't anyone in there.

What I can't figure out at all is how the driver escaped. Maybe the driver's side wasn't as flattened as the passenger side, but that seems very unlikely. He has to have gotten out before the car flipped somehow, and lucky for him, there wasn't a scratch on him. But if he'd been in the car it'd be a corpse they were pulling out of the wreckage.

He was understandably shaken, though considering, he was calmer than I'd expect. He was calling 911 even as we pulled up, and told us the accident had only just happened. We were trying to figure out if he needed us to stay when someone coming up behind us, in military camouflage, briskly took over the scene, checked the guy out, and waved us on. So we left.

The more I think about it the harder it seems to imagine how he could have gotten out of that without a scratch. I wish I'd taken a picture (as crass as that might have seemed) because without a picture you might not be imagining the level of damage to the car as being as great as it was, and thus, his miraculous escape as the unlikely feat it must have been.

When I was a kid my parents were in the volunteer fire department as ambulance crew, so there were a few times that we came upon an accident and pulled over to help. We carried a first aid kit in the car, and dutifully enough I still have a first aid kid and emergency kit in my car, but have never used it. If there had been anyone hurt in this accident I wonder how well I would have done with my long-rusty first aid skills and minimal kit.

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