Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Wrecks Aplenty On Twenty

Today was an interesting day.  Twice I was roused from sleep - and not in the most gentle manner - to look at two accidents that took place just hours apart.

Ed was driving, I was sleeping.  It was in the wee hours of the morning, still dark, when I heard Ed say, "Holy shit!  Oh my God!  Oh.  My.  God."  And I wasn't dreaming.

Photo from
When I ran up front, even in the pitch black of the night, I was able to see a collapsed bridge illuminated by the headlights of a veeerrrrry long line of traffic.  Apparently an 18-wheeler hit the pillar on the bridge and the entire thing collapsed on the westbound lane of I-20 just west of Big Spring, Texas.  Since it obviously just happened, our side of the highway hadn't been closed yet (they closed it later in the day) so we just kept going.  We later learned there were no injuries.  Amazing. 

This photo and the one above are from the internet, obviously taken once it became light. 
Photo from internet
Ed caught it all on video and even though it was dark, the collapsed bridge is visible and so is the line of traffic that couldn't pass.  I'll try to get Ed to get me a link to the video and if I do, I'll post it here.

Since the excitement had passed, I went back to sleep. 

But not for long.

About three hours later, I was deep in slumber in the ice cold cocoon of the sleeper when I heard Ed yelling from up front, "Get up!!  Oh my God!!  GET UP!!  Call 911!!"  Yelling.  I think it's the loudest I've ever heard Ed speak.  Or shout. 

I flew out of bed, clad only in my undies, shouting back at him, "What?  What??"  I was a little disoriented.  While I was shaking the sleep from my head, Ed steered the truck to the shoulder, came to an abrupt stop and pulled the brakes.

"Call 911!!  Tell them a truck flipped over!!" he yelled.  I heard the door open, then slam shut.

So now I'm scrambling for my clothes.  Scrambling for my phone.  Can't find either in the dark.  Finally I found my pajamas, threw them on, found my phone, and climbed up front where I saw Ed running toward the wreck in front of us.

I stayed with the truck and called 911 to report the accident and location - which was also on I-20 in Texas.  What the hell?  It just happened and Ed saw everything.  And although the clarity isn't great - too far away - we got this accident on video also. 
Ed ran to the first guy he saw, the pickup truck driver, who had a huge gash in his head that was bleeding.  The guy kept saying, "My tire blew out.  I had a blow out."  His truck was still running even though there was no key in the ignition, and the battery was hanging out of the hood.  Debris from the pickup truck bed was everywhere. 

Ed told the guy to sit down and then went to check on the truck driver.  A few other people had stopped by this point and the truck driver was out of the truck when Ed got over to him.  Miraculously,  no one was hurt.

The 18-wheeler was mangled.  Ed said the pickup truck was in the right lane, the truck in the left.  The pickup truck's tire blew out, swerved into the truck, and both of them went off the road.  Ed said the 18-wheeler's trailer flipped upright into the air before twisting and coming down on the hill.

The tractor had detached from the trailer and the cab was twisted off the frame.  The truck was carrying pallets of floor tiles which were broken and littering the shoulder and hillside.  It's really amazing the truck driver survived after seeing the condition of the truck.
The Sheriff arrived about ten minutes after I called, the ambulance and fire department another ten minutes after that.  Once everything was under control, we were on our way.   

I've been in a car accident, so I have a little bit of an idea of how the pickup driver might feel, but to roll over an 18-wheeler?  Oh my God.  I can't even imagine. 

It's really amazing that no one died.  And I'm glad Ed didn't get hurt when he went to help. Although accidents can happen at any time for any reason, this is exactly one of the reasons we drive everywhere at 55-58 miles an hour. Because when you go slow, you have a chance to react to what might be going on in front of you.  You just don't realize how quickly you move across just a few hundred feet when you're going 75 or 80 miles an hour.

I'm so glad my Eddie was driving.  I never have a worry in my head when Ed's behind the wheel. I know my life is in his hands, and when I'm snug as a bug in a rug back in the bunk, that's the best place for it to be.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Spanning The Straits
2011: Diner In The Mountains
2010: Limone Costa d’Amalfi
2009: To Tattoo Or Not To Tattoo
2008: Sparkle And Glow
2007: I See Sea Scallops
2006: My New Favorite Song
2005: Lazy Sunday


Mick said...

I suppose that in a way you are more likely to see stuff like that because of your job and the fact you're on the road a lot-but even so---phew!! Amazing pictures, I thought it must have been an earthquake when I saw that 1st picture. So glad you're both okay.

Belledog said...

Wow. And how helpful your video will be to the accident investigators.

Amazing no one was killed in the 18 wheeler accident. Thank goodness the guy was not hauling Hazmat, especially flammable stuff.

You and Eddie are in good hands, whichever of you is driving. Good on you for the 55-58 mph and more reaction time.

Belledog said...

Here's the only mention I could find so far. Says big rig driver had no injuries.

And your photo is better! More useful in conveying what happened.

Caption under photo of rolled 18 wheeler:

"At about 7:44 a.m. today, Wednesday, Santo Volunteer Fire Department and EMS responded to this accident at Interstate 20 and FM 4. Cyndi Smith, assistant information officer with Santo VFD, said the Texas Department of Public Safety reported two trucks were traveling westbound when a small truck carrying a small trailer blew a tire. She reported the 18-wheeler was in the left lane and the small truck in right. The 18-wheeler, trying to avoid small truck, left the roadway and drove up an embankment and lost control. Its trailer was loaded with ceramic floor tiles. The driver of the 18-wheeler had no injuries and the small truck driver was transported to Palo Pinto General Hospital with minor injuries, Smith added."

[Helpful to have that mile marker in Salena's photo.]

Those drivers were lucky to have you and Eddie on the scene, especially if someone was badly injured. 10 and 20 minutes is a long response time, but understandable in such a rural area.

Belledog said...

Here's an article about the bridge collapse.

You'll be pleased to see that commenters sympathize with the truck's driver, and have some choice comments about 4-wheelers' antics.

Marlaina said...

We have reduced our running speed from 65 to 55/58 since we started driving and it is amazing how driving a little slower gives one so much more time to react. Now if we speed up to 60 we feel like we're driving a race car.

We're glad you are both safe. I don't want to know how scary it is to see this in front of you.