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Thread: Did You Ever Witness A Horrible Accident?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Did You Ever Witness A Horrible Accident?

    The other day there was a local news blurb about a horrible traffic accident. It brought back memories of an accident that this Bear was witness to about a dozen or so years ago.

    I was with my ex-wife (Carole). We were at a convention in Cincinnati (Convention Center). I helped close up the booth and, since it was around 1:00 PM, Carole and I walked the Skywalk, found a resturant/pub, and went in. Luckily I had my thinking cap on and only had a single beer, with a burger. (Driving in strange city.)

    Leaving downtown Cincy we jumped on the I-75 Northbound expressway. The traffic was moderate and moving at posted speed. As we went over a slight hill I noticed that all the traffic in our multiple lane expressway was stopped, about a quarter mile or so ahead. I started to pump my brakes to warn those behind me of the traffic stoppage ahead.

    We were in the far left lane, with a semi-truck next to us on the right. as we were slowing I noticed a semi-truck behind us, moving very fast. While coming to a stop I also began inching over into the lane with the truck next to us. The fast-moving truck behind us showed no signs of slowing.

    "What are you doing?", Carole shouted as I squeezed into the middle lane, forcing the truck next to us to squeeze into the right lane. As we did this and came to a stop very close to the stopped traffic, the trailing semi blew by us on the right.

    I shouted back at Carole, "I had to get the xxxx out of the way!"

    The big semi (carrying a 48-foot trailer of powdered bulk cement) crashed into the stopepd cars in front us. The first car he hit was a Camaro. It exploded on contact. He hit a few other cars, with those vehicles also exploding. A women jumped out of one (1) of the cars and, in an obvious panic, crawled across the expressway. (She wasn't physically hurt.)

    Carole and I were so close to the Camaro, now burning out of control, that we could feel the heat trhough our windshield. I immediately started backing-up, aware as I did, that oncoming traffic was still coming toward us. I'm sure that the sight of multiple burning cars helped slow them down, and protect us from crash.

    I jumped out of the truck and, with the driver of the car that stopped behind us, ran to the Camaro. We could not get within about twenty (20) feet because of the intense flames. (If you know Cincy, this happened just across from the Evendale General Electric Plant.)

    Eventually, I was interviewed by police and TV newspeople. I had to sit in my truck and write a written account of what I witnessed. Knowing that the driver of the Camaro suffered a horrible death certainly dampened my spirits for months afterward. (And knowing that if I was a minute earlier in the back-up it could have been us.)

    A few months later we had to return to Cincinnati. I was the chief prosecution witness for the trial of the truck driver. (He was not even a real driver. His company would put untrained sales guys on the road with these big rigs, so they could "learn the business".)

    I met the driver before the scheduled trial and we talked for a few minutes. He was an emotional wreck.

    The most horrible part: We then met the mother of Sean, the 18-year old who died in the Camaro. His mother worked for an area EMT unit and when the accident call came across the wire she mentioned to another EMT that she hoped Sean didn't get "caught in the traffic jam" that was caused by the accident. She knew her son was going to be on I-75, heading north, to his job.

    She asked me: "I have to know. You were first to his car. Could you hear him screaming?" I told her the truth...."No. I heard nothing." She seemed relieved with this news (as any parent would be). All three (3) of us cried together and said a prayer for her lost son as we sat in the hallway, just outside of the courtroom.

    The truck driver and the truck company settled that morning, before the trial ever started.

    I have witnessed small (insignificant) crashes. But the Cincy crash and the hallway talk with Sean's mother will remain etched in a part of my brain that I don't like to open.

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  2. #2
          Downtown's avatar
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    OMG. Bear - how awful.

    The worst I've ever witness is a dog that had gotten loose somehow on I-85 in Atlanta that was hit, and that was pretty horrible.

    A few years ago, a two seater plane flew into a bridge over a highway in Atlanta that we would have witnessed had it been 15 minutes later along.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yuck....and sad....

    I tend to show up just as the body is getting cold in the median......I've lost track of how many dead people I've past on the road over the last 20 years The last one was a guy in the median waiting for a chopper (no, not the motorcycle kind
    ) last year on Florida's Turnpike ......he died on the ground just as the chopper was on approach.....they waived the chopper off just before touchdown.......bummer........

    This is why I drive slow most of the time.....drives my wife crazy....
    Others I know have seen semi's slam head on into motorcyclists, each doing about 60mph....road warrior esque..... They had nightmares later......
    Skilled Adoxographer
    I have two emotions....Silence and Rage

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    I didn't witness the accident, but I found the aftermath.

    In the summer of 1985, a friend and I found the remains of a drunk GI who had fallen asleep on the railroad tracks. I could give you details of the discovery, arms, legs, torso, jaw bone .... the fortunate thing is that I didn't see what remained of the guys head. It was in the tall weeds about 5 feet from where my friend and I had initially walked into the scene. We ran to the entrace of the base and told the MP's. The MP's seemed more shaken than my friend and I.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  5. #5
    We were on the Bluegrass Parkway a few years ago coming home from a wedding. There was a horrific wreck on the other side of the highway moments before we crested a hill. But we all saw a vehicle (BMW, perhaps?) land on its roof and slide a good 1/8 mile. As we passed the wreck site, there was a terrible tangle of vehicles and parts strewn about the road. Fortunately, the wreck occured near a town and EMTs were quick to respond.

    I can't guess how many hundreds of thousands of miles I've driven in 27 years, and I've seen the aftermath of a lot of nasty wrecks, but I'm glad I have never seen what you witnessed Bear. And I hope and pray that I never do.
    Je suis Charlie

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    I have not witnessed such an accident, however,

    When I was a Volunteer Firefighter/EMT I had responsed to a couple that 15 yrs later I still remember too well.
    Worst was a roll over/ejection into a creek bed, off a rural road at night w/freezing rain, get the ugly picture.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    I worked in the shipping department at the school bookstore in college. Our store was located in the University Center (Student center) and right next to busy, multi-lane 11th AVenue in Greeley. Being a main arterial through Greeley Colorado, 11th Ave. saw numerous commuters, and students crossing (oftentimes dangerously) and intermingling during the daytime hours.
    So after a morning of unloading boxes and checking in a shipment of books, I took my break and went outside for a smoke. (Back when marlboro got a portion of my paycheck) As I was sitting there smoking and watching to traffic on 11th I saw a motorcycle turn left illegally and stall right in front of a Toyota 4x4. The next was blurry, but I remember hearing a screech and a bang, looking over the find the motorcyclist pinned under the pickup and traffic stopped. A ton of people witnessed this as it was between scheduled classes.
    A few ran out there to help, a few got on cell phones to call for help, and of the Campus Crusaders knelt to pray at the side of the road.
    The biker was trying to get out on his own accord but people we trying to get him to stay still, just in case shock set in and he was really injured. The cops and EMTs came and interviewed people, I finished my smoke and went back to work learing that the biker had minor injuries and was realsed from the hosp[ital the next day.
    Kind fo scary to see, but glad it wasn't as bad as it could have been.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
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    I have witnessed some collisions.

    1. St. Mary's and Silverbell in Tucson - An elderly woman makes a left turn in front of an empty flat bed big rig. Violent explosion of glass and metal. I was waiting to make a left and still can see the replay in my mind. The combined mass of metal slid towards me, but did not strike my vehicle, missing by about a foot. The elderly woman was not carrying passengers, thank God, because the big rig had just about sheared the car in half. She suffered only minor scrapes and a mouthful of glass. Truck driver was uninjured as well.

    My rear view mirror seems to be where I see the most though.

    2. On Loop 202 Westbound in Phoenix- A retarded agressive driver loses control of her red celica and does three 360 degree spins across 4 lanes!!! She did not strike another vehicle, but caused several.

    3. On Interstate 17 Northbound in Phoenix - Traveling in the fast lane at about 70mph the car directly behind me loses a front wheel (WTF?) and slams into the concrete center barrier. Cars behind cannot stop, causes major pile-up. Don't know if anyone was seriously hurt.

    4. On Loop 101 North in Scottsdale - Some part of the freeway design near the Chaparral exit always causes sudden slow downs. I frequently see collisions in this area. One such ocassion a car slams into the back of a car (45mph maybe?) 3 or 4 cars behind me. They were apparently trying to swerve into the center median because the car spun into the center medain wire barrier. (These barriers are controversial here because cars can get through them into oncoming traffic.) I saw helicopter flying the direction when I was still in traffic later, but no idea what happened.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian GISgal's avatar
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    1. Visiting San Diego and heading out into the hills to see the Wild Animal Refuge. On an 8 lane highway a Chevy Blazer swerves to get around "slower traffic" (everyone is doing 80+ mph). He ends up in the gurad rail and almost into oncoming traffic going the other direction. It caused a 4 car pile up. I don't know if anyone was hurt. But was one of the first to call 911 on the cell.

    2. Not as serious but witnessed a car turning up an off ramp to the freeway. He caused a three car. But traffic was only moving at about 25 mph. Called that one in to.

    3. First big snow storm of the year in 2003. I was on my way back to the Fox Cities from Milwaukee on I-41. It had rained before it snowed and there was about 3 inches of snow on top of ice. A chain reaction of about 15 cars piling into the ditch happened. I narrowly escaped going into the ditch myself. I called that one in as well.

    4. Before the EAA in Oshkosh as I was on my way down to volunteer, I was going southbound on I-41 at just about the location of accident #3, but in the opposite direction. A semit to avoid hitting someone who was swerving into his lane, jerked hard on his steering wheel. He flipped the semi. This caused a large pileup and closed two lanes. I again some how missed this one. No one was killed.
    “I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” - Thomas Edison

  10. #10
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    The week before Christmas I was driving to our office luncheon and a guy went through a "T" intersection about 100 yards in front of me and slammed into a tree. About 5 seconds later and he would have T-boned me. I pulled over and ran to the car. The air bags had gone off and his face was cut and bleeding. He was shaking and gasped a few times. While I was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, all his vital signs stopped. I pulled him out of the car and was about to begin CPR when the police arrived. The officer tried using a defibrillator on him to no avail. EMTs arrived and they tried as well, to no avail. Quite an experience to watch someone die. I found out later he was 75 and a diabetic who may have gone into shock, since he was observed driving eratically for about a 1/4 mile before.

    But Bear, that is some story! Even in my V.F.D. days, I never saw something so horrific. Have you ever heard of someone becoming scared to drive after witnessing something like that? I've met many who are scared to fly, but driving is no problem, despite the statistics against them.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Luckly I haven't been on or witnessed any major pile ups or big accidents.
    Beyond once when my dad ran over a dog that was fooling around in the middle of the road, while we were going at like 100 km/h and with an incomming truck on the other lane of the road. (I believe I had posted this before)
    Other than that, it's just the typical moron that does an illegal manuver and ends up crashing at like 40 km/h or so.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    On this very night, ten years ago, along this very stretch of road in a dense fog just like this. I saw the worst accident I ever seen. There was this sound, like a garbage truck dropped off the Empire State Building... And when they pulled the driver's body from the twisted, burning wreck. It looked like this...





































    Yes, Sir, the worst accident I ever seen.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  13. #13
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Rumpy, I know you are but what am I?

  14. #14
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    The worst one I saw:

    It was about two years ago and the future Mrs & I were headed into San Antonio in the rain. The expressway is arranged with the access roads above the elevation of the main lanes, so you have these huge concrete walls on each side.

    Keep in mind it is raining...

    A mid-90s model red corvette comes flying past us doing at least 100+ mph (I was going about 75). Corvettes are not known for their ability to maintain control in wet weather, so you can probably guess where this is headed. The highway made a chicane style curve and the corvette lost control. I immediately got on my brakes as I watched the Vette spin out of control, impacting the concrete wall still going up in the high 90s. The Vette exploded on impact. As our police chief would say, the driver was DRT (dead right there). I got to fill out the statement explaining what had happened, which wasn't too difficult. It really didn't bother me to much since it happened because of the driver's own stupidity; you can call me a cold-hearted bastard if you want.

    I think my story pales in comparisson to Bear's though. That was just some poor guy in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner
    Rumpy, I know you are but what am I?
    You don't want to get mixed up with a guy like me. I'm a loner, DetroitPlanner. A rebel.

    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  16. #16
    I was riding my bicycle and had just come around a tight bend on a two lane road, a car behind me, about one hundred feet, comes around the bend. Instead of staying in the right lane the car goes into the oncoming traffic's lane, a head on collision occurs less than twenty five feet from me and my bicycle. The person in the correct lane gets out of the car and as he walks to the car, he yells "what the f*** are you doing a**hole, oh my god lady your face is bleeding, just be calm, don't move..." A resident called EMS and I was of no use, but waited around incase no one wanted to do CPR, if it was needed.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian MitchBaby's avatar
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    For me, I never saw the accident happen, though I heard the screetch of torn metal and the sirens that followed it. I was working at a restaurant here in Vancouver, when a drunk driver in a pick-up, doing about 200 km/h (roughly 150 miles/hr) sideswiped a honda civic hatchback and threw it 30 feet into the air, over the edge of a construction site where it dropped another 30 feet. When I got to the accident site, about 1/2 block from the restaurant, we could only find 1 car, no one knew where the other vehicle had gone.

    Apparently, the guy in the civic was still alive at the bottom of the construction pit, but no one knew where he was because there was no light. He was found about two hours later and at that point he was dead.

    the drunk driver didn't even have a scratch on him, and his truck was smashed. The kicker of it was that I knew the guy in the civic, he worked in my restaurant, and he was coming by to pick up his paycheque...
    Mitchbaby: Proud to be a :canada: planner and a :canada: surfer

  18. #18

    Off Topic

    the drunk driver didn't even have a scratch on him, and his truck was smashed. The kicker of it was that I knew the guy in the civic, he worked in my restaurant, and he was coming by to pick up his paycheque...
    One of my coworkers has a sports car and was bragging about how she had to drive home drunk. Well, at first I politely explained why it was an unreasonable and irresonsible thing to do, she blew me off so I ripped her a new one and she gave me the "f*** off prick" look. Education sucks, doesn't it.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    I'm just curious of where you get a pick-up truck that goes 150 mph. Do you guys feed your cars crack up there?
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I happened to look out a rear window of our house when I was 14 or 15 and saw a boat on the lake clipped by another boat, then a man at the rear of the boat fell out and didn't come up, and everyone on the boat started screaming, so my mom called the police. Some other boaters pulled up, found the guy and got him out of the water and took him to a vacant lot where the police/helicopter were arriving, but the guy was dead. I was later called by one of the lawyers for a statement but never got called to court.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian AubieTurtle's avatar
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    A man jumped to his death off a tunnel exit right outside my livingroom window on Friday. I saw him out there and the police had all the streets blocked off and were trying to talk him out of it. I couldn't stand to stare out the window in case he jumped. I kept hopeing that the next time I passed the window, I'd see him in police custody. But instead I ended up seeing him lying dead on the street below. Despite the best efforts of the fire department to clean up the blood, there is still a stain on the pavement I can see when I look out the window. It's very creepy.
    As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. - H.L. Mencken

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Floridays's avatar
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    When I lived in Atlanta, my office was in Peachtree Center (downtown). The stoplights were pretty far apart so many people jay-walked across the street. Some of us were ready to cross and a woman stepped out early and was hit by a car; I saw her bounce off the windshield and onto the road. The car wasn't going very fast, fortunately, but she got up and was all bloody and disoriented. Very scary.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Luckily I've never seen anything too bad, but the worst close call I've seen was the one time I was in Toronto. A 3 year old boy ran full speed from the sidewalk into the middle of a busy downtown street with a huge grin on his face. Luckily the driver was very alert and stopped just in time as the parents scooped him up. I always remember that when I'm on a busy sidewalk with my kids.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Budgie
    I didn't witness the accident, but I found the aftermath.
    Same here… on US-2 in the UP Gas Truck jack knifed during an ice/snow storm, and was hit by a few other cars, and then a logging truck. I approached just as the first cop cars showed up. It was not something that I wanted to see, or ever see again.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian MitchBaby's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The Irish One
    One of my coworkers has a sports car and was bragging about how she had to drive home drunk. Well, at first I politely explained why it was an unreasonable and irresonsible thing to do, she blew me off so I ripped her a new one and she gave me the "f*** off prick" look. Education sucks, doesn't it.
    I've even gone so far as to take keys, by force, away from friends, and once even my ex-gf's father. If I'm driving, I never drink - EVER. I've lost two friends, and one extended family member to drunk drivers... There's no F***ing excuse for it - EVER...

    Just a month ago, around Christmas, I was out drinking with friends, and one of the guys there was in a wheelchair from a DD accident where he was the drunk... turns out he still drinks and drives - yet he's one of the local insurance companies poster boys for Not drinking and driving.

    Pisses me off.
    Mitchbaby: Proud to be a :canada: planner and a :canada: surfer

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