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11 October 2008

I'm really shaken up right now. [More:]We went to the Pumpkin Fest today. We went on a hayride. We bought pumpkins. We ate ice cream and unusually huge cream puffs. We drove home.

I turned to look at my dirty, tired kids in the backseat. I turned back around and there was a blue minivan coming straight at us, driving the wrong way down the busy highway. My husband swerved around it and stopped us safely on the shoulder.

We both assumed the car was passing unsafely. We declared the driver an asshole. We looked behind us. It was still going the wrong way. "Something is wrong," he said. I reached for my cell phone.

As I was struggling to get my shaking hands to dial 911, the car veered off the road into the woods. I did not hear the crash, but we saw the trees falling down. They were not small trees.

The 911 operator picked up and we told them to send help. Cars stopped. At least half a dozen. People went running into the woods to see what they could do.

My daughter said, "We should help them!" I told her we did help. We called an ambulance. Lots of other people had stopped. We would only be in the way at this point. Lets go home, I said. We'll get some dinner. They'll be OK, I said. Airbags and seatbelts and help on the way. They'll be OK.

But I don't know that they're OK. I don't know that they could be. And for fuck's sake, it was a MINIVAN. The kind of vehicle you buy to fill with children. And so here I am 8 hours later, compulsively checking all the local news sites, trying to find out who was in that van and what happened to them.
Unless you are EMT trained, you did what you should. Glad your family is safe.
posted by ColdChef 11 October | 22:41
What a horrifying experience. I'm glad you and the family are OK, and ColdChef (and you!) are right- you would only have been in the way if you went back there, AND you had kids to look after. You did the right thing by calling 911.
posted by BoringPostcards 11 October | 22:46
I agree, you did exactly what you could do. Also, you can follow up by calling that town's police station and asking there about the accident if you need to follow through.
posted by MonkeyButter 11 October | 22:55
Thank you all. I really needed to hear that. Now what I really want to hear is that there were no kids in that car. It is just absolutely amazing that all the cars behind us managed to get around them too. Whatever the outcome, it could have been much, much worse.
posted by jrossi4r 11 October | 23:09
Yeah, the kids shouldn't have had to wait to see whatever happened, and no one would. Waiting for the people to arrive wouldn't do anything but light the situation red with sirens. You couldn't have waited out a rescue scene with tired kids growing anxious. And what if you did. All they would see at best were ambulances and machinery. At worse, who knows.
If something happened, you can find out best in your local paper or police blotter in the morning when they run them.
posted by ethylene 11 October | 23:14
Jeez, I'm glad you and your family are okay, jrossi.
posted by box 11 October | 23:18
i meant should, especially in your situation.
posted by ethylene 11 October | 23:22

And *whiskey*
posted by occhiblu 11 October | 23:52
I'm so glad your family is OK. I am CPR-trained and I completely agree with ColdChef/eth/et al. - your first responsibility is towards your kids in this situation.
posted by muddgirl 12 October | 00:07
What everyone else said. You did good today.
posted by arse_hat 12 October | 00:22
You did the right thing. When I was in my crash the ambulance had a hard time getting close to the actual accident because of how many people had stopped "to help."
Even if no one was seriously hurt, some minor wounds bleed a lot and to your kids could have looked a lot worse than they were when they got the people out.

Hopefully everyone was OK.
posted by kellydamnit 12 October | 00:59
What everyone else said, and extra whuffles.
posted by Specklet 12 October | 02:43
I would have stayed to give a report to the responding police officers. But I guess I'm extra-thorough.

The thing I fear most on the road (based on experience and reports from friends) are:
1. Minivans
2. Vehicles with handicap plates

The most dangerous vehicle I've ever seen on the road was a minivan with handicapped plates.
posted by Eideteker 12 October | 06:51
How scary... glad y'all are okay. Yay for quick reflexes.
posted by Pips 12 October | 06:54
Whoa...I agree, you totally did the right thing. And, remember, lots and lots of other people buy minivans, even when they don't pack 'em with kids.
posted by richat 12 October | 07:17
And some don't make them live in it full time.
Even when they need the extra room.
posted by ethylene 12 October | 08:10
Wow that's a world rocker, right there. Hope they were ok, and I'm glad you guys are.
posted by chewatadistance 12 October | 08:26
jrossi, I'm so glad y'all are OK. Hoping the minivan is too.
posted by LoriFLA 12 October | 08:56
remember, lots and lots of other people buy minivans, even when they don't pack 'em with kids.
True, my roommate got one because he's in a band and it's good for gear, (and it was $100).
posted by kellydamnit 12 October | 09:45
What a scary situation. You did do the right thing, dearheart.
posted by Stewriffic 12 October | 13:04
You did everything right, so please don't worry. At the very least, to find out anything, you could call the police station and ask if they need your statement, since you were a witness to when and how the van went off the road. And since you have them on the phone, you could sort of inquire to the condition of the passengers. Just a thought. Because I would feel the same way - wanting to know what happened, and are they alright? Other than that, there was nothing else you could do.
posted by redvixen 12 October | 13:13
Do you have press credentials and database accesses as well? It shouldn't be hard to find out what happened from the police, like red said.
posted by ethylene 12 October | 13:42
Thanks everybody. You've all made me feel so much better. We gave all our contact info to the 911 dispatcher, so I assume they'll call if they need a statement. I'm taking the fact that it hasn't shown up on the news as a good sign. If there was a horrible tragedy, it would have been covered. I don't have press credentials, eth, but I do know a few working reporters. If I don't hear anything tomorrow, I'll start making some phone calls.
posted by jrossi4r 12 October | 15:28
Like everyone's said, you did the right thing in calling, so don't worry. And yeah, a story like that would have made the news by tonight, and tomorrow's newspaper. If you don't see it in the paper tomorrow, I would assume it turned out ok.

Scary as all hell though.
posted by CitrusFreak12 12 October | 18:32
Oh how distressing. (((jrossi4r)))

You did the right thing. I hope you find out that everything is ok.
posted by gomichild 12 October | 19:39
jrossi, you're entitled to call the police yourself if you like. They may not be able to give you names or details yet, but if they can, you are certainly entitled to ask and they will understand. Give it a try if it would put your mind at ease. You're entitled to the same public information a reporter is.
posted by Miko 13 October | 10:58
Just go back from watching Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome at the theater! || I spent the day at an apple orchard