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Monday, September 10, 2007

Life is Fragile

I had a post nearly finished for today, but I'm going to let it wait until tomorrow. I don't much feel like writing right now. On my way home from work, traffic slowed and then about a 1/4 mile up from me, I noticed a silver SUV upside-down in the median of I-64 and then a guy headed west-bound that had stopped and was running back to the SUV. At that point, I was too far away to leave my car in the middle of traffic, so I picked up my phone and called 911. When I got up to the accident, I pulled off to the shoulder and got out. A girl (probably my age) had been taken out of the vehicle by the first guy on the scene and there were I guess 5 of us guys with the SUV and 2 women with the girl on the ground. There was a guy still in the car, obviously not wearing a seatbelt, as he was laying on his head/neck/shoulders with his legs bringing his stomach to his face. He seemed to be moving or twitching and some of the guys were talking to him to let him know help was on the way and to stay with us. Nobody could move him due to his positioning and weight, not that we should have anyway given the injuries he may have had.

I have to give a hand to EMS. In under 5 minutes there were 2 fire engines, a Fire Dept SUV, and an ambulance on the scene, in rush hour traffic. They quickly took control of the situation, securing the SUV so it wouldn't slide down the median onto the girl on the ground. I was thinking "Why didn't I think to tell them to send more than 1 ambulance?" but given that I hadn't arrived at the scene yet, there is no way I could've known how many were involved. They managed to get the guy out of the SUV and it was obvious he had been unable to breathe in the position he was in. His head, neck, and chest were bluish-purple from oxygen deprivation. As they were working on resuscitating him, I decided I was doing nothing there but gawking and since I wasn't a witness to the accident, I bowed out.

In the end, I didn't do anything at the scene, but I feel good knowing that I stopped and was available to help out if needed. The other people there before me had taken care of everything that could be taken care of before EMS arrived. I was quite shaken up during the drive home. The first guy on the scene was very shaken up and crying. I told him that he had done well, although I'm sure he will be wrangling with himself over other things he could've done. I came home and the accident was on the news. The guy that was in the truck died. It's the first time I've ever been so closely involved with a death. Sure, I didn't have anything to do with the accident, but I was likely there when he died.

I am furious at all the people that didn't stop. There was an SUV upside-down and only one guy on the scene. There was a 1/4 mile of traffic between me and the SUV and by the time I got there, only the semi driver, 3 or 4 other people, and the two ladies that were also involved in the accident had stopped. I watched people in the west-bound lanes go around the vehicle rather than stopping. To those people I ask: Is your life that busy that you can't stop to help your fellow man? Do you really have such important things to do? What happened to all of those cars between me and the accident? I guess everyone just thought "Yippee! Open highway!"

Part of me wonders if we should have moved him so that he wasn't laying in such a precarious position. Would it have helped? Might he have lived? There's no way of knowing and it sucks. I feel sorry for the lady that hit the SUV. It was an accident and she has to live the rest of her life knowing that a slip in her attention caused the death of another and caused untold amounts of physical and mental pain to the girl involved.

The only point I can make with this post is that life is fragile. This whole thing makes me think of an article I posted awhile back: Don't Die With Your Music Still In You. You never know what's going to happen, or when. Today it was Carl. Tomorrow it could be me or you. Make sure you're getting everything you want out of life. I hope that the moment before he died, this fellow was able to think, "At least I did the things I wanted to do with my life to this point." Too many of us go through life on auto-pilot and regret it later. If you have to make changes in your life, make them, but make sure you're happy.

I apologize for rambling, but I'm still stunned. And please, please, please fasten your seatbelt. It could just save your life.