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Draplin Design Co., North America


Still shook up.

So we’re hauling along today, coming up towards an overpass. There’s a big rig in front of us, both of us in the right lane. But a 100 yards before the overpass this beefed-up SUV towing a pop-up camper veers, starts to skid, loses control and rolls three or four times, with the camper going up over the shoulder, coming to rest at the pillars of the overpass. We watched the whole thing.

Cloud of dust, black underbelly, white roof, black underbelly, white roof, black underbelly, etc. Glass and taillights exploding.

We come to a quick stop. I throw the thing in park and run out towards the mangled vehicle, so afraid, feeling the adrenalin surge.

This is serious. People are hurt. They might need to be pulled out? Is the car going to burst into flames? Were people thrown from the vehicle? All this, running through my sweating head as I quickly made my way up to the wreck.

I remember not wanting to walk around the vehicle, afraid of what I’d see.

Just as I did, other people were running over the median to help.

It was an older couple, with their granddaughter. A Hispanic man quickly climbed up on top of the vehicle, opening the door and with the help of a couple guys, and pulled out the little girl. She was unhurt for the most part. Just a couple minor cuts.

Then I saw movement in the front seat and a man started to scoot out of the broken windshield. His legs has some pretty good cuts, but for the most part, he was okay. Just shook up and in shock. People were amassing at this point, offering first aid kits and 911 calls. I just stood there, slowing down the traffic that was driving by in the sorta open lane.

The man’s wife was still in her seat belt, suspended in her seat. A doctor ran up and took control of the scene. People were consoling the little upset little girl, and the wide-eyed older man. About 10 minutes into it, a couple fire units came from either direction. The firefighters and medics had the woman out of the front seat and onto a stretcher in five minutes. It was incredible to watch them kick into action.

Mom and I gave our statements to an Iowa state trooper, some contacts and were on our way.

Right there in front of our eyes…a rolling vehicle. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen. All these years driving back and forth across these states, and never saw anything this intense and visceral.

You know how they say that time slows down in accident situation? Like, kind of slow motion? When I think back, it happened so fast, but, oddly, in a slow way. I think that’s just how the brain remembers something that traumatic. Slow motion, sort of.

A scary moment, out on eastbound I-80, milepost 96.

There Are 8 Comments

1st thought: Glad everyone survived, including you and yer Mom.

2nd thought: You might be the last person I would want to see coming to my rescue.

Posted by: Jess on 08/01/10 at 8:59 PM

That’s insane buddy! Glad you guys are alright. Drive safe man.

Posted by: jonathan on 08/01/10 at 9:52 PM

Lives can change in a split second. One minute, you’re kicked back and enjoying the scenery… the next minute, your world explodes.

Brother, keep safe and hug your loved ones.

Posted by: Jeff on 08/02/10 at 7:05 AM

That happened to me once on a group motorcycle ride - bike in front of me started wobbling and went down. Fortunately I was far enough back to avoid it, but I had a front row seat to watching this guy hit the ground and slide about 30 feet.

Fortunately he was wearing good gear, so he got away with bruises and a little road rash. But yeah, it was pretty traumatizing to see. Still have those slo-mo flashbacks.

Posted by: laura on 08/02/10 at 8:41 AM

Damn, glad everyone is ok. Yeah, I hear you on the slow-motion remembrance. I can recall just about everything catastrophic that has either happend to me or I’ve witnessed with vivid detail.

Posted by: Digital Dave on 08/02/10 at 9:21 AM

keep the rubber side down! trailers can offer up some scary situations if a tire pops, axle shears, etc. glad that family was okay, and you were able to help.

Posted by: mitchmorse on 08/02/10 at 10:17 AM

I hear you, I was driving late on 95 and saw a car going the opposite way hit the median then flip over 3-4 times. scary stuff that stays with you for a while.

Posted by: Christopher on 08/03/10 at 6:08 AM

Wow. Went by that very spot later in the day - wondered what had happened that left a camper pinned like that. What are the chances that I’d read about it here?

I agree that the slow motion perception is interesting; I had the same feeling of slow, inevitable doom when riding in a car that spun off the interstate.

Posted by: andrew on 08/05/10 at 5:23 PM
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