12/29/2005

Ouch

I think when people hear B Rose they often think things like, "What a total Badass!" and "He is the personification of inner strength". But it’s not true.
Tuesday the 27th at about 2:00am, heading west on I-94 at about mile marker 33 I felt the truth.
My wife and I were coming back from Pittsburgh on our way to Minneapolis. It was dark and misting but the temperature felt warm. We only had about 50 miles to go before we were home. I was driving below the speed limit around a curve. All of the sudden the steering wheel felt weightless. We had started to slide, at first in one direction then the other. We had been doing about 60mph, so it was instantly a terrifying situation. Nothing I did had any affect on our course. I thought we were going to hit the dividing area in the middle of the freeway, but then we slid right past the apex of the turn and started to come around. 180 degrees later we were facing east and sliding north.
I have been in car accidents before, many times actually. When I was two I went through the windshield of a 64 impala. At 10 I shattered the windshield of a VW Rabbit with my shoulder when we hit a telephone pole. I have been in a car that hit a tree, 3 times in a car that hit another car and even more often been hit by a car on a bicycle. These were scary, but once the Jeep started to slip, I was terrified,
I was starting a journey that would end in an impact; this is nothing new for me. But I was taking my wife with me and that was the worst feeling ever.
My wife is the most important person in the world to me; we are different than a lot of other couples because we do everything together. She is my best friend and now she was in mortal danger right in front of my eyes. There was nothing I could do.
I felt the driver side tires hit the shoulder, square on. Julie remembers I made the comment, "we're goin". When my tires hit the shoulder that is what started us rolling. I don't remember a lot of us rolling. I remember the hard hits every time the jeep hit the ground. We rolled 7 times, leaving a 75yard+ strip of our luggage, Christmas gifts and jeep as evidence of our path.
The jeep finished its roll on its wheels. I remember it stopping, it coasted a few feet forward and every thing got still. I thought "Julie!” I might have said it out loud because she responded. We had both been wearing our glasses and now they were lost. I asked if Julie was ok, she said she was. I told her to try and get out of the jeep. I turned off the key and got out. Julie’s purse was on the ground just outside of her door she got her contact lenses out and put them in, I found most of my glasses on the floor by the brake pedal. I put them on and was able to see for the first time. We were alone in a field about 75 yards from the road. It was really eerie. I went to Julie and she seemed fine, that’s when I realized that I seemed fine. I was bleeding a bit and I ached, but all my parts were there.
We started milling around collecting our stuff that had been flung everywhere.
We were ok; we had walked away from this.
The jeep had taken a beating and it was written up as a “total loss”. 2 of the wheels were crimped and the tires blew off, the top was shredded, my seat was broken and it has a generally crumpled appearance. But the roll bar remained sound and the windshield never broke and when I look to Julie and she gives me a slight smile that says in a million words, “I know, we made it, we are still here…” I don’t think of it as a total loss. To me it’s nothing short of a total Victory, thank you jeep. You gave up everything to protect what is most important to me.

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