It was a beautiful afternoon…a family event celebrating a nephew’s high school graduation. Everyone was happy, relaxed. I, of course, wandered around my sister-in-law’s yard taking a few snaps of her lovely flowers. All was right with the moment, the day and given recent events it helped take the edge off  our recent loss.

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It was time to leave and my wife and I loaded up and left. A very short distance away, I saw a van hurtling toward us head on at high speed. I veered right and the van kept intersecting toward us. I swerved right further, now knowing we were headed off the roadway. I anticipated impact on my side. We went slightly airborne, I hit bottom and looked in my mirror as I saw the van take out a large tree and then roll. 

The van was the black arrow; my path is with yellow arrows.

I swerved around and jetted back toward the van. The driver was pinned in, bleeding from multiple head/face wounds. In a daze, he struggled to extricate himself from the van because he had 4 small children strapped into the rear of the van. Miracle of miracles, despite many cuts, the little ones were gently removed from the van as smoke poured from beneath the van. 

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At first, I did the normal first responder drill of immobilization and used available fabrics to stem the bleeding and keep the father still. The gentle talking and reassuring that his children were alright helped him slow down until a fireman could sit behind the driver to immobilize the CSpine while I kept the pressure on the cuts.

The firemen handled the smoke, the battery, gas, the jaws of life extrication and then relieved me. The driver was thankful. We called family to come to the scene. 

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The intersecting of life’s events, of destiny one moment to the next. The last week only reaffirms what we all know at varying times in our lives: never take anyone, anything for granted. Not your loved ones, not your health and safety, not your future. I do hope the driver will be alright. We are thankful the children appeared alright but I can only imagine the recollections the older ones will have of that topsy turvy ride. They were all transported to the hospital.

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As always thank you to the citizens that stopped to render aid; to the policemen, firemen and EMT’s who were stellar with the children, the driver, the driver’s family, the witnesses. In the blink of an eye it was almost different.