Monday, August 2, 2010

Wheels Up, 22 Aug 86

I was cleaning up my office this afternoon, and I came across this old accident report. Each August, I get a little reminiscent and reflective, and seeing this report show up unexpectedly today made me 'think back'. We moved here in August 3 years ago. Got married in August 20 years before that. I moved TO Terre Haute (ew) in August 3 years before that. Lots of "firsts" in August in the past.

The little sketch that the police officer did to explain the accident's events had nice little details, like showing the under carriage, and the "wiggly lines" representing the airborne flight path that my '79 Olds Delta 88's trajectory followed.

Also note the "final resting place" note on the right hand side.

It's one heckuva way to "wake up" at 4am. Highly not recommended. Remember, when falling asleep while driving, your foot normally goes DOWN on the accelerator, and not up. I believe that the "couch" photos here were taken that same weekend, in Bloomington.

A year later, to the very day, I got married =)
The person standing next to the shell of what was left of the sky blue Olds is my little brother, back in his teenage years (it is not me). that was taken later the same day, after the salvage tow truck hauled it to a holding yard.

Note how the new Michelin tires my dad had put on the car just 1 month earlier did not survive the fire. The front driver's side wheel, which in the first impact moved to where you see it pictured, pinned my left foot behind the brake pedal. The second pole's impact - you can see the accordion style hood - pushed the retrofitted Buick 440 engine and rear wheel drive transmission far enough into the front seat that the radio was nearly at my right elbow. They couldn't get the driver's door open, so the guy I passed, and the guy whose front yard I landed beside, together pulled me out the passenger door, and dragged me towards to the curb, each one gripping an arm. Everything was surreal, pitch black, due to the local electrical black out that taking out two power poles will cause. Everything, except for the orange flames that had blossomed under the back of the car, and the sea of broken glass shards refracting the light in a myriad of little prisms. As they hurriedly dragged me to the curb and the Olds receded, I watched the fire spread from under the gas tank and trunk, to engulf the entire vehicle. Kaboom! There was a huge heat flash, but the 4am grass was cool and wet behind me, covered in dew as my two impromptu rescuers, Jim and Tim tried to shield me from the blast.

That as the third time I lost one of my 9 lives... the first 4 were in cars! The next 3 were riding in a speeding Chinese mini van in the mountains outside Chongqing, Almost walking in front of the path of a speeding double decker bus in Hong Kong, and BOUNCING to a very hard Southeast China Air Boeing 767 landing that opened up all over head bins and planted our front landing gear into mud at the end of the run way. Almost getting mugged by a 1/2 dozen Italian teenage criminals in a large Milano public park doesn't count, because they did not get close enough before the 2 Carabinieri on horseback rounded the corner to dissuade the miscreants. The 8th time was Meningitis in Dresden... so I guess I am down to one life left now...

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