Friday, August 8, 2008

A Close Call

Last night after work, Erin and I went to a sewing class (I'm a master now, by the way), and I got home at about 9:30, just in time to cook Jack some dinner. At about 10:15, the food was hot and I was pretty sure Jack would be home any minute, so I decided to give him a call.

One ring. Two rings. Three rings. Four rings. Five rings and voicemail.

This is unusual for Jack, so immediately I felt like something was wrong. I pressed "5" for "numeric page," because he usually calls me back right away from that as opposed to when I leave a voicemail, and I hung up and called the school to see if he just got busy chatting with some students at there and forgot to come home, as he often does. As soon as the school's machine picked up, I heard the "call waiting" beep. It was Jack. I answered it.

"Hey," he said. "Wow, I'm shaking a lot. A guy on a motorcycle just tried to pop a wheelie and wrecked right in front of my truck and I almost ran over him. Oh, I have to go; somebody else is calling."

"Wha... okay... bye," I stammered, trying to absorb the gravity of what he just told me.

Apparently, Jack was driving home, and right after he turned from Angel onto Bethany, a motorcycle came up behind him, all loud and stupid like motorcycles do, and raced around him on his right. The guy then tried to pop a wheelie, but brought the front wheel way too high and had his bike almost perpendicular to the ground. The bottom wheel went out from under him, sideways, and started skidding into Jack's lane in a huge flash of sparks.

The rider cartwheeled across the road as Jack slammed on his brakes so hard he said he thought his back wheels would come off the ground, stopping just feet from the guy's motorcycle, which was now laying mangled in the middle of Jack's lane. The rider flew all the way to the median, where he came to rest face down, with his arm in a strange position. Jack was on the phone with 911 as soon as he was stopped, and he said he thought the rider looked like he was dead. But then he moved a little. Then a little more, then he got up, staggered around, then fell down again. Then again. Instantly, witnesses in other cars were stopped and out of their cars, surrounding him as Jack talked to the 911 dispatcher.

A woman who was driving behind Jack was following the guy home, and was trying to get him into her car to take him to the hospital. Jack said the witnesses said the guy wreaked of alcohol, so I'm guessing the woman didn't want the police showing up with the ambulance. Fortunately, the police officer arrived before the ambulance and didn't let him go, then went with them to the hospital, where hopefully he'll be charged for all kinds of stupidness.

We learned three things from this accident - well, we didn't really learn them because we already knew all of them, but this was a good reminder.

1) We hate motorcycle riders. You can tell me all you want about how safe you are on your bike; I still hate seeing you on the road and being behind you in traffic. And most likely, you're going to do something stupid at some point because you can. Or, if you're right about how safe you are, somebody else will still do something stupid and hurt you because other drivers suck too.

2) Gwen, our friend who is a paramedic, said that she has seen a lot of motorcycle accidents, and her statistics about wearing helmets are astounding: in every wreck where somebody was wearing a helmet, they lived. In every wreck where somebody wasn't wearing a helmet, they died. This guy was wearing a helmet, and he lived.

3) Things happen in an instant that could change your entire life, but God is always there. Jack said as soon as he saw the guy race around him he took his foot of the gas pedal, and didn't really know why he did it. I know why he did it.

Ps - Apparently Jack had been on the phone with his mom when it happened, and he said he was getting the "call waiting" beep from me right as it was happening. If he hadn't been on the phone with his mom, he may have been digging for his phone instead because it was ringing. Say what you want about talking on the phone and driving, but that conversation may have saved idiot motorcycle guy's life.


Amanda said...

wow! I'm glad Jack is ok! That would be terrifing!