Tuesday, January 3, 2012
The New Year Comes in, Crash, Boom, Bang....
Yesterday, January 2nd, was to be, by all accounts, my New Years Day, after all it was the holiday and Bowl Day...I would get up fairly early, pack a duffel bag, jump in Patricia's Nitro, and head north and west to near LaOtto, Indiana, where I would go to Rick's place, and spend the day with the same gang that does the annual Mushroom Hunts each May in Michigan...Rick, his sons, Clay and Guy, and Clint, our old Celina friend, and college buddy that was at Ohio University when we roamed the grounds of Ohio U and Athens, back in the middle 70s. A lite snow had fallen, and Patricia, after her workout, had warned me that the city of Celina streets were slippery, with a coating of ice under the half inch or so of fresh snow that was being blown by the wind....this was the reason I decided to take the four wheel drive vehicle.
After pulling into the Northside Marathon station, where I filled the tank and got a large coffee to go, I headed north on US 127 towards Van Wert...a mile out of town I called Rick, letting him know I was on my way, telling him that the city streets in Celina "sucked", but that 127 didn't seem bad, and I would/should be there in a bit over an hour, if things went well... they wouldn't". He told me if the roads were bad that we could always do our annual football, beer and buffet, pig out at a later time...."nonsense" I say, "the Nitro will make it fine".
I drove the 20 miles to Van Wert without problems...a few slippery spots, but I was cruising about 58 miles per hour and made it behind a 18 wheeler, it was about 10am when I entered the city limits. The big rig crawled along Washington Street(127) so when we got into town, I decided to jump to Jefferson Street, north to Bonnewitz Avenue, and then pick up the four lane US 30 and head west to Fort Wayne, and beyond...I should have stayed on Washington Street.
As I turned north onto Jefferson I knew that the streets in VW, like Celina, had not been treated. Near 3rd street, as I drove north, I had to do a slight swerve to avoid a car sliding though the intersection....then as the new GPB system (which Hal and Lisa had purchased for us for Christmas), was yapping "stop ahead one quarter mile, then turn left", I began to slowly break....nothing, but a sickening sliding as the wheels locked up....I was going maybe 5 MPH for God's sake, this wasn't happening was it? Yes it was....another 18 wheel tanker truck was heading east on Bonnewitz....I was either going to slide into him, he was going to broadside me or I had to make a quick maneuver....I decided to tap the gas and turn right onto the Avenue, instead of crashing through the intersection(which was a T) or taking on the semi. I turned right, but nothing was gripping, and in slow motion I watch the Nitro slide into the north side of Bonnewitz, hitting the curb with all fours....that would have been OK, but as I looked up, I saw a silver Saturn, heading right for me....the driver had no chance in these conditions, and as I watched in super slow mo....she crashed head-on into me.
"Damn"! The high sitting Nitro crashed over the top of the hood of the smaller car, sending the hood of that vehicle into a crumbled mess....fortunately the air bags on neither vehicle deployed...frankly the speed was just too slow. I sat for a second, then jumped out to make sure the women driver, about my age, was OK....she said she hit her leg, but was OK....I went back to my vehicle and called 9-1-1. The emergency operator ask me where we were, and when I told her, she replied..."Hold on, somebody will be there real soon, there are now three accidents on that same street, the other two with injuries". As it turned out, by the time we had the accident report done, there had been at least six accidents in town in a matter of minutes...it would be a long day for police, and tow truck drivers.
The officer, Jeff, who I had met back in my Health Department days, apologized when he told me he would have to charge me for "failing to control"....I didn't think much about it at the time...a minor traffic violation, and he was following routine procedure. As I assessed the accident scene, her car appeared totaled or close to it...the Nitro received some front end damage, and the radiator unit at the bottom was trashed...both vehicles would be towed. With AAA plus, I would received a trip back to Celina...I cannot tell you how many times over the past 25 years that AAA has towed me or the boys home, without charge,after a wreck or breakdown. Expensive yes, at some $100 per year, but it has been well worth it in the long run.
So I arrived back home about Noon, via the Mace Company tow truck, and watched the bowl games at home....basically without interest, as Ohio State and the not-so Big Ten, once again had a bad day of football, but no nearly so bad as mine.
Stay tuned....updates on all of this exciting installment of "Pat's Daily Rant"....I know it could have been worse...check this out from a 100 miles or so to the south of us:
I-75 is always and adventure.....I have driven that portion, south of Cincinnati maybe a 100 times or more.....always a lot of traffic, and if one person screws up on ice, fog, or snow, this is usually a common result.
Photos-All though the photos of the wreck don't look bad, the other driver's Saturn is probably totaled...the Nitro, while it doesn't appear bad, is going to need some front end work and a new radiator at least....the first two photos are from the crash scene, and the last, while the Dodge was sitting in our drive, after being towed home.