20 years ago on this night…

…my then boyfriend (ex) and best friend (T) were in a car wreck.
We were coming home from a friend’s house around midnight. It was about a 30 minute drive and no one was talking, we were all just quietly passing the time until we got home. About 10 miles outside of town is where I hit black ice. What happened next feels like it went in slow motion, yet is happened so quickly. I remember my ex saying “Whoah”, there were head lights coming towards us and I was trying not to over steer or correct. It went black, we spun at least 180 (maybe even 540) and then we rolled one and half times down the ditch. I count a half because the car tried to roll again, but couldn’t make it up the other side of the ditch and landed with a heavy thud, rubber down. It was deathly quiet. I could see my ex sitting next to me just fine, but T didn’t make a peep. I asked in a panicked voice if she was ok, at least twice. She finally replied in what sounded like a very shocked voice that she was fine.

I then tried to get out of the car, but as it was uphill, my heavy-made-of-real-metal door wasn’t the easiest to open. When I did get it open and out of the car, I thought the train tracks were the road we were just driving on. It took a few minutes and my ex telling me where I was sitting for it to sink in. And then I freaked out a bit: I had just wrecked my stepmom’s car*!! I think I hyperventilated a bit, most likely cried and just over all lost it. I did ask for Mr Ribbit, my gigantic frog that I kept in the back seat, buckled up. (T had given him to me the summer before.) Yes, he had his seat belt on too.
My ex went to the road and tried to flag someone down, but people kept driving on by. Finally an off duty cop (or some sort of official person) stopped and my ex told him that there were two cop cars just up ahead in the direction he was driving, could he go to them and tell them we had just wrecked. A bit later one of the cop cars arrived to take us home. The three four of us piled in: T in the front seat, my ex, Mr Ribbit and I in the back. The cop kept asking if we had been drinking (no), smoking pot (no) or any other drugs (no!). I also remember that there was a not-quite-right sound coming from the car. Like it had something wrong with one of its wheels, which freaked me out at the time.

Once in the cop car, I had to figure out which home I wanted to be taken to: My mom’s house, which was closer, or my dad’s house, which is where I lived at the moment. I honestly didn’t want to have to talk to any of them in the middle of the night. I chose my dad’s house. The cop waited outside until we were able to get someone in the house awake. I went to my dad and stepmom’s room, trying to quietly wake up my dad. However, my dad and stepmom had switched sides of the bed and I was shaking my stepmom. I held it together long enough to say “We’ve been in a car wreck, but we’re ok”. And then I started bawling. At this point my dad finally wakes up, groggy and disoriented. He’s a heavy (and deaf in one ear) sleeper. My ex and I stayed at my dad’s and stepmom’s, where, as I said, I lived at the time. My friend T called her parents who came and got her and took her to the ER to get checked out.
The next morning, we drove out to my car to see how bad it was. As we were there trying to figure out how to pull the car out, another car slid on black ice and wrecked. You see, it really wasn’t my fault we wrecked. That area/corner was famous for wrecks in the winter. The sun didn’t shine on the road during the day and black ice formed. With the help of my uncle, we got the car out and I was towed home.

Even to this day, I know how lucky we were. There were several factors that were just right, that made it so that we walked away with only minor scratches and bruises. We all had our seat belts on. My car (GAL) was made of real metal and didn’t crumple. She was a 1964 Plymouth Dodge, V8 engine. We didn’t have a 4th person with us that night that should have been with us. I believe that she would have altered the weight and pushed us into the telephone pole that we JUST missed (you can see it in the left of the top photo). We were just so fortunate that night.
GAL survived quite well too. She only needed one headlight replaced, the tires removed, cleaned and put back on and the biggest headache: finding a new/used radiator that would fit a V8 engine. She also had some fracture line cracks around the 4 corners on roof, a dent in the back panel above/around the wheel on the driver-side and she leaked a bit more afterward, but I drove her around for many months more before I returned her to my dad and stepmom when I bought myself my own first used car.

*It was my dad and stepmom’s car, given to me on “permanent loan”, until I didn’t want it anymore.


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