Thursday, June 7, 2018

Car Accident June 6, 2018

Yesterday did not go as planned.   This account (that I typed out for dad) best explains all the thoughts that are swirling around in my head about the events of yesterday morning (in a lot more detail than all of the hurried texts I wrote yesterday):

At 9:45 am, the kids and I were stopped at a traffic light when all of a sudden there was a deafening crash, our heads were filled with sharp, intense pain as they snapped back, the van shot forward out of my control, glass shattered, everything flew around the inside of the van, I could barely see (my glasses had flown off),  the back of my seat jerked back, knocking Caleb's shoes off and away, we were all screaming and crying, and the smell of smoke filled the van.   The next thing that registered was "we've been hit Hard from behind, and ....Praise God!   we're all alive!"   (We heard later that the drive hit us going an estimated 60 miles an hour!) I was then completely overwhelmed with the fact that I couldn't see... Moriah climbed up front and looked for my glasses and found one half, they had broken exactly in the middle of the nose piece (at least the lens hadn't shattered).   A woman appeared at the passenger window and told me I needed to call 911 and that it looked like the other driver was drunk.   I think I was in shock, because I could barely even figure out how to work my own phone, and begged her to stay with me. 

While still on the phone with 911, the kids and I climbed out the window - since not a single door would open (they were all bent in some way from the crash).   All of our seats were broken, cocked back at an odd angle.   There was so much going on - firefighters arrived, the dispatcher wanted me to stay on the phone with her, I couldn't see, the kids were crying on the curb, and I just wanted to be with them.  The woman (Karisa) who had come to the window (and it turns out saw the entire thing happen), took over the 911 call, someone found the other half of my glasses, so I at least had Two pieces to hold together, and I was able to comfort the kids a bit (couldn't call Philip yet, since the 911 call was still happening).   Then I suddenly remembered that just the day before, I had put my second pair of glasses (with the sunglasses clips on them) in glasses holder in the van!   Praise God!   They were not broken and I could SEE!   Another woman, Naomi, who had stopped after the crash, was also there most of the time, helping with the kids, had found tape to try fix my broken glasses, and was just a very sweet, comforting presence.

The other driver, (a man, looked to be about 28) who had already come to my window right after the crash, stumbled over and in a very slow and flat voice (with a vacant look in his eye) said something like "gee, I'm really sorry".   Karisa told him to get away from the kids and get back in his car.  He did this and looked to have passed out or fallen asleep on the head rest.  He then woke up and lit a cigarette, while all the fluids leaked out of his car.   Karisa later texted me this: "He drifted into oncoming traffic twice before that, to the point that he almost hopped the curb on the other side of the road to the sidewalk.   He was passing out at the wheel.   The bus driver and I both saw him before we even turned onto that road from Harry St.   I said out loud in my car several times - He's going to hit that van... He's not stopping - and then he did.  I just wanted to break for him because I saw you sitting there." (There was a city bus and the driver caught it all on his bus cam!)

I called Philip and he immediately headed over. The police gave me a clipboard and couple pieces of paperwork to fill out (seriously?  I could barely remember my own name at that point, much less my license plate number or my social security number!)   While I was trying to fill that out, the EMS was also checking us out, taking my blood pressure and pulse ox, etc.   We declined going to the hospital.
When Philip came, the kids and I just fell into his arms, weeping.   We couldn't stop saying over and over how thankful we were that Keenan wasn't with us, and sitting in the back seat!   Even though the seat itself wasn't crushed (the whole back of the van was crushed in as far as the seat), I think being that much closer to the impact would have still been terrible.

Philip helped me fill out the rest of the paperwork and also called our insurance company and took care of all of that, as well as dealing with the tow truck driver.   I am SO thankful that Philip was able to come and help us so much, I don't know what I would have done without him!

The other driver was taken by ambulance to the hospital and a drug specialist detective was on his way to meet him there.   I think he most certainly went to jail.  My heart breaks for him, he might have a wife and kids?  His name is Gregory, please join us in prayer for him.

Before loading up the van, the tow truck driver let us climb back in the window and get all our stuff out.  Moriah's smoothie pop (that she had been eating for breakfast on the way) had flown out of her hand in the crash and was melted in a puddle under one of the front seats).  Unfortunately, none of the electronics would work, so there is still a movie of ours and an audio cd (from the library!) stuck in the CD and DVD players.

It was pretty sad to see our van go like that.  We bought it right before Moriah was born and have taken SO many great trips in it!

As we waited at the dealership for a rental car, I suddenly remembered that when I had gotten up that morning, I had a text from Wendi Kitsteiner on my phone (sent at 2:30 am) that said, 'I woke up praying for you."   I had replied with something like, 'Wow!  Thank you!   God must know I am going to need it today!"   Wow.   He sure did.

We got a rental Dodge van, Philip went back to work, the kids and I drove back home (right past the crash sight, which was super strange), had some lunch and then just lay on my bed with soft music playing.   Philip figured we had mild concussions so said that we should avoid reading, screen time or movies.    Both kids fell asleep and I just lay between them and sobbed, replaying it all over and over in my mind, and not being able to comprehend what I would do if one or both of them had been dead in their seats when I turned around.   Oh, God, you are so good.

We are abundantly grateful to God for His miraculous protection of us, but still really, really sad today.   I have cried a lot already this morning.

Here are some pictures from the crash:

The other car had been smoking quite badly, so the firefighters checked that out first

This photo, taken by Karisa, is rather poignant, with the kids sitting there, and with the other driver still in his car

I was probably still in shock and a little giddy here about having glasses to wear!

The impact sort of compacted everything into each other

The back corner and window of the van

The side door popped out

Both back tires flattened and the sides crumpled

This still blows my mind

Thank you God and Honda!

His car (I think he was in much worse shape than we were, glad his air bag deployed!)

She was a good ole' girl and kept us safe for a lot of miles!!

It just occurred to me a couple of hours ago - a few days ago when I went to gas up the van, the pump was acting weird, so I only put about $10 in instead of filling it all the way up.   I have no doubt now that that was God's mercy, so we were nearly on empty when the crash happened!  Also, I didn't waste money on gas we wouldn't get to use! :)

We have been in the prayers of many and have had multiple people reach out to us with offers of help, meals, talks, etc.   Moriah's tutor, Arden, brought Chick Fil A for dinner last night and our new friends Tim and Kristina are bringing dinner tonight!

Our sweet friends, the Browns brought over this care package this afternoon!

How adorable is that??

I already had a date with Caleb planned for today (which I think was perfect timing), so Moriah went out with Wendy, which was perfect for her too:

At Applebee's, Caleb's cheesy mozzarella sticks

The girls sent us a selfie from Red Robin...

 ...and we sent one back

 Moriah all excited about a fancy dessert

Hahaha!   When Wendy sent this, I texted this to Philip and said, "Maybe she's not doing as well as she says" and he said, "Yeah, she's looking rough"  ;)

 Caleb got cold and came over and put my sweater on and snuggled up with me

 ...and then got his own dessert...

 ...and decided to copy Moriah's picture :)

Thanks for being there, thanks for praying for us


Anonymous said...

Wow! What a scary thing to happen! Reading through this account, there are so many things I am thankful for!
I am thankful that Keenan wasn’t with you
I am thankful that you are all OK
I am thankful for the people who stop to help you
I am thankful that Philip was able to come and help sort things out
I am thankful that you “just happened” to throw your other glasses in the car

It is such a crummy thing to have happened, and yet so cool to see how God worked in the little details like Wendi’s text, and having an empty tank of gas.

How did you guys feel the next day? And today?

So thankful you are all safe.


Mom W. said...

So good to see you smiling and glad you had some fun plans!! So glad too you have such great supportive friends when your family is all so far away. We wish we could be there for you!!

Love you all,


Stephanie said...

Oh my Gosh...How scary for you all Joia. Im So glad & thankful you are all ok!! *Hugs* to you!!

Hannah Vrugteveen said...

wow Joia! I'm so thankful that you all are ok!! So scary, could've been so much worse! God sure was watching over you all! xoxo

Kathleen said...

Oh Joia I just now was able to get to this post and read it and I cried all over again... grateful that the “what could have and should have happened“ did not! And seeing those extra pictures you took and how crushed the back of that van was and thanking God so much that Keenan was not sitting there!!!

And I know, that you know, that nothing takes God by surprise and what the enemy has intended for harm, he will use for the good. And how his provision is always there… Even in the midst of this tragedy, he had Karisa, the bus driver, and others there to help and comfort you until Philip could get there. And I know what a calming source he is in situations like this. Even when on the inside I know he was probably freaking out. And how He had you remember your other glasses were there....& the whole list Rebekah made. :)

I have actually been praying for Gregory on and off ever since you told me his name.

Love & Hugs,


Rebekah Storey said...

I cried through this post. I am so thankful for the Lord's mercy!