The level of damage was remarkable. Remarkable to the point where we actually slowed down on the bridge to look across the divider rail at the carnage. Three cars, darkness and closing time had proved to be an
unsafe combination for someone.
We resumed normal speed and continued across over the span. It is my policy not to stop on the other side of a center guardrail or divider to handle an incident, especially at three a.m. Someone trapped in a burning car might cause me to re-evaluate my policy, but it would have to be that extreme for me to do so.
We heard the Small City engine go on scene as we exited the highway and turned back toward the bridge. They claimed the incident, named it and gave a size-up. As a victim was trapped in one of the vehicles, a heavy rescue was requested, as was an additional ambulance.
It was even more spectacular as we pulled up. Vehicles and debris were strewn across three lanes of traffic, the troopers were already there setting out flares. The S.C.F.D captain approached me as I stepped off of the rig.
"Can you guys check that car on the center rail? We looked in it as we passed by and didn't see anything. I just want to make sure".
The car he is referring to is a total mess. From our angle, it is difficult to determine what kind of car we are dealing with. Other than cars cut in half by impact, it is one of the worst that I have seen.
We approached the car with some hesitation. I was quite sure that buried within that ball of mangled steel, was a victim. The victim would likely be dead and would likely be mangled, much as the car around them. The passenger compartment no longer existed, it's void now filled with crumpled steel.
We began poking into the morass trying to find out what was hidden within. Our efforts were hindered by a coating of engine coolant and transmission fluid that turned the twisted metal into a slippery wad.
We weren't able to see very far into the wreckage, so I sent someone to get a halligan tool to improve access.
It was then that the Trooper walked up and told me that the driver of this car was safely seated in the back of his cruiser.
We continued our search, just in case there were two people in the car and the driver had forgotten about having a passenger. Fortunately, are efforts were in vain and no one was found. Whew.
Apparently, the driver had broken down on the highway and hadn't been able to drive to the relative safety of the shoulder. He exited his car and stood on the shoulder, watching as the truck slammed into his car at highway speed. The driver of the truck was uninjured as well, though he narrowly missed injury when vehicle #3 slammed into the back of HIS truck.
THAT happened three or four minutes after the first collision. I was glad that the troopers had completely shut traffic down by the time we arrived.
The driver of vehicle #3 was seriously injured and required extrication to remove her from the wreckage. That task was completed by S.C.F.D. after a few minutes.
All of that carnage and only one injury. A small miracle.
Thanks for reading,
A relieved Schmoe
Morning Lineup – May 24
3 minutes ago