Monday, September 18, 2006

Frightening Sunday Drive

Yesterday, on the way home from a bowling birthday party that Ian attended for one of his classmates, we hit a car. Brendan was driving, I was in the passenger seat, all three kids were sitting in their respective seats in the back of the van when we crashed into a vehicle that pulled in front of us.

We were travelling on a one way street at dusk in a slight drizzle. To the right of us at the intersection was a woman in a brown car stopped at a stop sign. We had no stop sign and so proceeded through the intersection when all of a sudden the driver of the car just pulls out in front of us. I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing, thinking we had to be able to stop, knowing that we wouldn't be able to. Brendan slammed on the brakes and we hit her on the driver side right behind her seat. Her car spun around across the intersection and ended up on the curb on the other side of the intersection. Brendan pulled through the intersection and onto the side of the street.

It was so fast. Driving, talking about going to get McDonald's for dinner, seeing the car stopped, seeing it pull out right in front of us, hitting it - hard. I don't really remember the impact itself. I mean, I remember the realization we were going to hit her, the sound of the hit, her car spinning, but I can't recall the feeling of the impact - the crash and bump I should have felt. It wasn't until after I checked on the kids that I noticed a scrape and a bruise on my shin, where my leg hit the dash under the glove compartment.

After Brendan jumped out of the car to check on the other driver, I jumped out and opened the back door to check on the kids. Emma and Zoe were so frightened, whimpering and crying, but safely buckled into their car seats. Ian seemed fine, his glasses were gone from his face, but he was worried about finding his GameBoy - so I knew he wasn't hurt. After calming everyone in my vehicle down, I waited to see what Brendan was doing. I knew the other driver had to have taken a much worse blow than we did, she was in a car, and was the one being hit by a minivan on the driver side, so I was a little worried.

Very quickly two police officers came and checked out the incident, called an ambulance for the woman and had an EMT check Brendan, myself and the kids out. Thank God we had them in car seats - all three of them. A few years back Illinois passed a law that said kids had to ride in booster seats until they were eight years old. It seemed a bit excessive, but we followed the law. Last night, Zoe was in her convertible car seat with five point harness, Emma was in her full back booster seat with seat belt adjuster, and Ian was in his backless booster. And I'm so grateful that they were. The girls appear to have no injuries whatsoever, and Ian has a nasty scrape/ bruise from the seat belt on his neck - but that's it.

While we waited for the police officer to finish the paperwork and let us know that we were not being cited, Emma kept inquiring about the accident. She told me several times that, "Daddy should be more careful." I tried to explain to her that it wasn't Daddy's fault, that the lady should have stayed stopped at the intersection but she didn't. She asked if our car was broken. I told her it was, but that we'd get it fixed. Her response to that was that we should get new pedals that would stop faster so we wouldn't crash again.

I've never been in a car accident before. This was really crazy. As I watched it happen, I just couldn't believe my eyes. Turns out the 21 year old driver of the car doesn't have a driver's license. It just reminds me that you can be the best driver in the world and do nothing wrong, and still be in an accident. Truly frightening.

I hugged my kids a little tighter and a little longer last night. I told each one of them that I loved them. I'm glad we're all safe.

For some photos and Brendan's take on the accident, click here.

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