Friday, October 23, 2009

October Miracles - The Story

Six years ago today AD and I were headed for another great Witchy Weekend (see yesterday's post) at Compton Ridge Campground near Branson, MO. In previous years G1 and G2 had always gone with us because their Fall Break always fell the same week as Witchy Weekend. But Daughter and her family had recently moved to another area and the boys changed schools. Their new school’s Fall Break was a different week. Their family was going to drive over to meet us on Friday after the boys got out of school.

We’d always taken a “short cut” from our home to Branson that involved about 8 miles of 2-lane hilly, curvy roads between the two small Missouri towns of Galena and Reeds Springs.

Ever since they were little guys, G1 and G2 always had to be quiet as AD maneuvered our truck and 5th-wheel through that particular part of the trip and consequently the boys often teased me about the “quiet zone”.

We were nearing Galena – on a 2-lane fairly straight road - so I thought I’d call the boys and let them know we were getting ready to go through “the quiet zone”. Then they’d know just where we were.

I asked AD what time it was and he said a few minutes to 4:00 so I knew the boys would be home from school. I was looking down at my cell phone to dial (I hadn’t yet put their new number on speed dial) when AD said in a surprisingly normal, calm tone, “He’s going to hit us.” No sound of alarm in his voice, just a simple statement. I looked up just in time to see a car hit us, coming head-on, into the headlight on the driver’s side of our truck.

The point of impact is shown in this photo.

To me it seemed that the truck stopped dead in its tracks and gently start to roll. I thought I was thinking to myself “We’re going to roll over” but AD later told me I had actually said the words out loud. All I know is it was out-of-character for me to be extremely calm during something like this. It seemed to me that the truck just rolled over very, very slowly onto its side. No so much as a bump when it came to rest.

I was able to free myself from my seat belt with no difficulty at all but AD was stuck, hanging over me, in his seat belt and although we were tried as hard as we could the seat belt would not unlatch.

We were stuck in the truck. And. It. Was. Hot! That in itself was odd because after all it was October. The impact had caused the driver’s door to warp allowing for no escape and of course we were lying on our side so there was no getting out through my door. If you look closely you can see how the door warped out slightly. You can also see a mark where the outside mirror was ripped off the truck and slung into the trailer - the outline of the mirror there just above the "e" in Sportsmen.

Several people immediately came to help, a young woman who had been following the other driver, an older couple that had been following us and a man who’d been mowing his grass. They were all so very kind. The gentleman who had been mowing helped by contacting both Daughter and Son to tell them what had happened because our cell phones wouldn’t connect well. We were in a dead zone of sorts.

Then someone let us know that unfortunately the other driver hadn’t survived the wreck.

Eventually the EMTs (both women) arrived and AD persuaded one of them to give him her scissors so he could cut himself out of the seat belt. She, like me, thought he’d cut the strap and fall right on top on me. He assured us both that he would be careful and in the end he managed not to fall on me.

Then the firemen came on the scene. They wanted to wait until their other truck arrived so they could use their “jaws of life” to extricate us from the truck.

But AD was ready to be out of there! As I said before it was an unseasonably hot day for October in the Ozarks and the only air coming in was through that little warped place in the door frame.

AD pointed out to the men that the windshield was already broken so if they didn’t mind, couldn’t they just pull it out and then we would be able to exit the truck. They agreed but only after they secured the truck so it didn’t roll the rest of the way over. We were soon outside the truck.

A few minutes later as AD talked to the Highway Patrolman that worked the wreck and took digital pictures of our truck and trailer, the patrolman told AD he could take all the photos of our truck and trailer but not to take pictures of the other car. I'm sure that had to do with privacy laws or something but AD only wanted pictures of our vehicle for insurance purposes.

Eventually, we were transported to a hospital in Springfield to be checked out. AD was on a back board because he'd mentioned to the EMTs that his back was hurting a little bit. It was a long ride to Springfield on a back board!

I had 2 bruises, one very small near my elbow, the other about the size of my fist under my left breast caused from the seat belt, and 4 extremely tiny scratches (probably from slivers of glass when the wind shield was pulled out). AD had 1 small bruise from hanging in the seat belt.

Daughter, her husband and the boys came to get us. She and Son had both called the campground to let them know we wouldn’t be arriving as scheduled and what had happened.

Those wonderful campground owners, who had been like family to us for many years, told Daughter they were keeping a room for us so we would have a place to stay the night in case we needed it. As it turned out we did. We had to meet with an insurance adjuster the next day, remove all our belongings from the truck and trailer, rent a U-haul to get everything home, etc.

These are pictures of the truck and trailer in the lot where the wreckers hauled them. There were actually 3 wreckers sent out. The owner of the wrecker service told AD that normally when a wreck happens like this (NORMALLY when a wreck happens like this - how many wrecks like this happen in that area?) the trailer will split in half and it takes 3 wreckers to haul everything away. One for the truck and 2 for the trailer. When we opened the door to the trailer it was as if a tornado had hit the inside of it. If the trailer had come apart our belongings would have been strewn across the countryside.

After leaving the hospital later that evening we stopped to get something to eat. Everything seemed surreal to me - going out to eat when just a few hours earlier we’d been involved in a wreck that ended a man’s life.

I saw God’s hand in all of the events that day. Just some of the ways I know He was in control and there with us and He blessed us -

G1 and G2 were not with us.

We normally stopped in Monett, MO to take a bathroom break but didn’t that day. I honestly believe we were meant to “take the hit” so other people wouldn’t be hurt. Our truck and trailer were big and could take that kind of hit. If we’d stopped for that potty break we would surely have come upon a terrible accident involving other people and the outcome would have been very different.

Before we left on the trip AD told me to put my digital camera in the truck with us that day in case I saw any photo opportunities along the way. Normally I always packed it in the trailer. AD was able to take pictures for our insurance agent.

I was trying to dial the phone taking my attention away from the road. If I had been watching the road, I know I would have screamed, stiffened up and we could have been hurt much, much worse.

The phone reception in that area was not good. I didn’t get through to the boys. They would have freaked out if they’d heard what was happening over the phone.

I truly believe God and His angels eased our truck and trailer over. The ditch we landed in was fairly deep and I didn’t feel so much as a bump as the truck rolled over onto its side and came to rest.

AD's door was jammed shut. If it would have opened we would have tried to get out that way and the truck would have probably rolled on over on its roof.

The young woman that had followed the other driver was not injured. She told us she had been following him for several miles, trying to contact the highway patrol to advise them of his erratic driving, and at one point she even tried to get him to pull off the road herself. She could have been seriously hurt or killed and she was the young mother of a small boy (he wasn’t with her). She said she saw the man almost hit 3 other cars. Although we hadn’t taken any real notice of the car in front of us she said it was a small car carrying 5 or 6 young people. They could have been killed if he’d hit their vehicle.

The older couple just behind us, also in a small car, said they knew they would have been killed had the man hit them instead of us.

AD had both his legs extended during the collision because he had both the brakes on and the clutch in. The floorboard underneath him buckled really badly. His legs should have probably both been broken but were not harmed at all.

The window of my door was not broken or even cracked but the back passenger window shattered, probably from hitting a rock. If we’d rolled over just a few seconds earlier I could have been badly cut.

God made sure there were plenty of people (our earthly angels) there, willing and able to help us.

The accident occurred just before 4pm. Back then 4pm was the time Daughter got off work. She was just leaving work when her phone rang. Had the accident happened just a few minutes later we wouldn’t have been able to contact her for at least an hour.

The minor scratches and bruising we received surprised even the EMTs.

I thank God for guiding AD's hands on the steering wheel through the collision. The Highway Patrolman told AD that he handled the truck perfectly.

AD told me sometime later that the one thing he kept thinking was that the front of the trailer would come through the back of the truck (it had a short bed). I’m so thankful God kept that thought from my mind.

God surely watched over our family that day. I am so grateful to be in His care. We weren’t at fault but it saddens me that the other driver's family lost someone they loved. I pray God continues to comfort them.


  1. Wow, what a ride! God was definitely watching over you that day.
    We have a tag along, and some of the crazy things other drivers do makes me worry about this same thing happening to us.
    I once seen an accident with an SUV pulling a tag along, the SUV and the camper rolled and those people's belongings were scattered all over the highway.

  2. Wonderful story to share God's watchful eye over us. Thank you for telling. I'm glad to hear you are safe and sound after that accident.
    What do the boys call that area of the road, now? Do you still drive that same road?

  3. Wow! I believe you experienced a miracle! You and your husband were very lucky indeed. I'm sorry that the other driver didn't survive the wreck and mostly for his family. Very blessed you were!

  4. The boys still refer to that particular area as the "quiet zone" but we haven't been that way for quite awhile. We now choose to go thru Springfield and down.

  5. That is a very sad but also amazing story..I cant tell you how glad I am that you were ok..And the boys werent along and that your husband is ok, etc..What was wrong with the other driver? Did they determine he had been drinking or something?
    Yes there were WAYYYYY too many conincidences to be anything other than..a miracle...

  6. Wow, what an incredible story. Thanks for sharing with us!

  7. Amazing story. There are angels all around us, and that day they were protecting you and your husband. It's sad that someone lost his life, but powerful to know that others were saved.

  8. Oh my goodness! That was awful! I am so glad you two survived with just minor injuries. No wonder October is etched in your mind.

  9. Wow. God was with you for sure. I will pray that he continues to bring comfort to the other family and thank him for the miracle of you!