My daughters were in a car accident last night. Vail Pass, 10,000 feet, Rocky Mountains. Descending into Vail. Treacherous enough even in perfect conditions. But the conditions weren’t perfect. It was snowing. Limited visibility, but the roads were fine. Nothing was sticking. My youngest, the passenger, had just texted me. Take it slow, I said. Don’t follow too closely. We aren’t, she texted back. Five minutes later I got the phone call. They came over a crest to five inches of slush on the road. Brake lights and spun out cars in front of them. They braked. Nothing. My oldest, who was driving, swerved to miss the car in front of her and instead smashed into a cement wall, buried in snow. What to do? Get out? Sit tight? And then came the semi. It braked, jack-knifed, clipped the car in front of them that my oldest swerved to missed. Drug it. Pulled the bumper off. The couple inside emerged, grabbed their baby from the back seat and went running up the hill along the interstate. A baby. Man, she could have killed that baby. She also could have been sitting there in the middle of the road, right where the semi came through, big and heavy and completely out of control. Instead, she hit the cement wall. Later, after I’d driven two hours to pick them up, to see their faces, their alive and well faces, to hug them and hold them close, their father texted. Something about how too bad she wasn’t paying attention. I said maybe she was paying attention. She had probably just saved her own life and that of her sister as well as the baby’s. He said I know. I said then you might want to tell her you know. He said I will. A smashed car, increased insurance rates, two rattled teenagers, four hours of driving for mom. But lessons learned. Invaluable experience. And another opportunity to exercise compassion, to love, to model coolheadedness, to be grateful for what wasn’t and for what is.


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kraftycatcreations
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 21:20:10

    Wow – A crash is never good, but that could have been so much worse! Thankfully it seems like the injuries were more emotional than physical. Kudos to you for keeping your cool and handling it all so rationally.


    • randee
      Apr 28, 2014 @ 21:28:52

      It helps when the first words you get are, “We’re okay,…” But I knew they were also standing on the side of the highway, watching cars come over that crest and toward them, in a snowstorm, with the interstate now closed in both directions. Scary. And I was two hours away.


  2. nerdinthebrain
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 21:38:56

    I’m so glad they weren’t hurt! That had to have been super-scary for all of you. 😦


    • randee
      Apr 29, 2014 @ 00:11:38

      Teenagers on the highway – always scary. I pretty much hold my breath until I get the message – that they made it or that something else happened. Thank God that this time it wasn’t too terrible of a something else.


  3. theclocktowersunset
    Apr 29, 2014 @ 06:45:19

    I’ve been waiting for this post, no pictures???? Well I’m certainly glad everybody is alright. At the least now you can trust in the fact they have a wider view of what a couple tons of steel and motion actually means and how much such a little thing like friction can impact the seriousness of the entire equation. And good job on the reaction and evade part, I hope she got a big fudge sundae for keeping the helm and making decisions in a critical moment. I know I ran through a few options before deciding that T-bone’ing the fella that pulled out in front of me was actually the best option.


    • randee
      Apr 29, 2014 @ 07:35:21

      Yes, I agree that veering off to the side and slamming into a cement wall may not have been the best choice (reaction), but fortunately it worked this time. It sounds like a similar situation I describe in https://randeebergen.com/2013/11/24/the-joy-of-a-parking-lot/ where a car was sideways in the road, someone came over the crest, he chose to not t-bone the guy in the middle of the road and instead go into the cross-country skiing parking lot. There he encountered ice, couldn’t stop, and slammed into two older folks just getting ready to ski. They were killed instantly.


  4. Anonymous
    Apr 29, 2014 @ 08:00:10

    Guardian angels on their shoulders, for sure. Thanks for the accurate description of what actually happened. Love you all.


  5. Lynette d'Arty-Cross
    May 01, 2014 @ 11:57:31

    Yikes! So glad to hear that they are okay! Hope you’re okay, too.


  6. betunada
    May 06, 2014 @ 08:16:56

    effing scary. can happen so quick ~


    • randee
      May 06, 2014 @ 08:41:49

      I know. It’s better not to think about it. I’m a firm believer of when your time is up, your time is up, otherwise you somehow miraculously make it through each day.


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