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”.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.