Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Unfortunate Event

First, the fun stuff: We leave Seattle around 6:45 as planned. Traffic wasn't bad and we made it up to Bellingham by 8:00 PM with the intentions of eating at our favorite rest stop: Casa Que Pasa. Our disappointment was great when we found it is closed for an undetermined amount of time. We found a pizza place with tasty pies.

Our arrival time at Whistler was around 12:00 AM. The roads up were a bit icy, but not too sketchy. We awoke on Saturday to disappointment: no new snow the night before. We headed up Whistler mountain to find mediocre conditions. Julie and I decided to stop boarding after lunch in favor of shopping in the Village. We met the boys back at the condo and then went for sushi at Sushi Village. Yum!

A little bit of snow fell Saturday night, so the conditions were more favorable on Sunday. We boarded all day and had great fun. It wasn't an epic powder day, but it also wasn't icy and crunch like the day before. We headed down the mountain around 3 and then stopped for some eats at our favorite pub before hitting the road around 4 PM.

We were a bit sad to leave since snow was in the forecast for all week. Evidence of this was the rain we had to deal with on the way down the mountain which made the driving conditions unpleasant. Mountain roads are often dangerous - especially when drivers go far too fast. We were about 10 minutes outside of West Vancouver when the Unfortunate Event happened.

We are behind a pick-up truck that is going the speed limit or below - he's driving very safely. And then it happens - a little red car comes around the bend and comes right into oncoming traffic. I see the car go completely into our lane and yell, "Oh Jesus!" because I knew what was going to happen. SLAM! It has a head-on collision with the truck that is in front of us. Amazingly enough, there were no oncoming cars in the northbound lane and there just so happened to be a small, paved shoulder to the side. Tony manages to get our car across the other lane onto the shoulder. Within those few seconds, I was bracing myself for the collision we were about to be in. I am baffled that we did not hit another car, drive into the ditch, drive into the side of the mountain or be hit. Anti-lock breaks and Tony's quick reflexes spared us from our own accident.

We came to a stop and looked back - the accident was pretty bad. The truck was on its side pinned against the guard rail. The front half of the car was smashed and the smell of gasoline was overpowering. People started pouring out of their cars to check things out and several started calling 9-1-1 (including Chris). The first Paramedics arrived 5 minutes later. Soon, multiple fire trucks and paramedics arrived. They had to use the jaws of life to get the driver out of the car. At one point, they pulled out a booster seat and infant car seat from the back seat of the car. Fortunately, both were empty. We aren't sure how long we were there. We had to go to the police station in West Vancouver to give official statements and left there about 9:30 PM.

The driver of the truck came out of the accident with minor injuries. The driver of the car was taken by helicopter to the hospital in Vancouver for surgery. The officer that took our statements will be keeping us updated on how the driver of the car is doing.

It's events like these that remind me of my own mortality and how dangerous car collisions can be. Please drive carefully and defensively and give the ones you love a big hug.

1 comment:

Stine said...

reading things like this take me back to my own jaws of life experience. I'm SO glad you guys are ok, sounds harrowing.