Thursday, September 9, 2010
When I had my accident on January 18, 1995, it was on Thursday and we worked four days a week, 10 hours a day. My usual route was Route 38 to London to Route 42to Marysville. Oftentimes, I would take Lewis Road instead of going through Bloomingburg.
It was so foggy that morning that I could not see another car's taillights until I was nearly at the other car's bumper. That morning I decided to drive Lewis Road rather than continuing on Route 38 as I thought I would have less worry about other vehicles. I was driving very slowly. I became disoriented in the fog and I thought that I was at the intersection of Lewis Road and Bloomingburg-New Holland Road, but I was really at Lewis Road and Route 38. I knew there was a stop sign and I came to a stop when it was visible. As I thought I should go straight, I proceeded, instead of turning left. However, since I was actually at the Lewis Road and Route 38 intersection, I went across Route 38, into a ditch, bounced out, went through a fence and landed in a yard under an outdoor light. When I saw the red reflectors on the fence, I initially thought that I had hit another car in the rear. My air bag did not inflate and I later learned from Chrysler that for the air bag to operate, one must have a direct hit on the bumper and must be going at least 15 miles per hour. I was probably going 5 miles per hour, but my car was heavily damaged.
I had a mobile phone and my first call was to my boss. I told him that I wanted a vacation day as I had had a small accident. I knew that my nose was broken because I felt it when it hit the steering wheel. My thighs were hurting because I hit them against the steering wheel when I obviously tried to go into a fetal position on impact. I didn't know the extent of my other injuries, but I knew I wasn't bleeding from any other areas.
I called the Sheriff's dispatcher and I told the location where I thought I was. The dispatcher asked if I could recline the seat back. My car was practically new and I realized I had never reclined the seat before; when I pulled the lever it threw me back swiftly; it was then that I realized that my back was injured.
Because I'd given the wrong location, it took the Sheriff's department awhile to find me. When they found me, a deputy opened the driver-side door and a dog jumped into the car and was on top of my prone body and began licking my face! I noticed that the deputy's leg was shaking as he stood beside me. By that, I should have realized something was awry!
Until that time, I had acted very calm and in control.
In my state of disbelief, I thought that the dog was a drug dog! I knew it was a German Shepherd and I am afraid of dogs. I began screaming, "Why are you doing this? I've never done anything wrong in my life!" The deputy grabbed for the dog, but the dog jumped to the passenger side and then into the back seat. The deputy tried to grab the dog again and the dog jumped on me again. I was still seat-belted into the seat. The deputy tried to grab the dog again and I kept screaming! I was afraid that the dog was going to bite me! The deputy kept trying to grab the dog and the dog kept jumping around in the car.
Suddenly, I looked up and saw June Coil, my high-school classmate. My first thought was that she was there to help me as she was a nurse, but then I saw that she was wearing a pink bathrobe. I asked, "June, what are you doing here?" She said, "You're in my front yard!" Then she asked the deputy, "Why don't you just open the other car door?" She went to the other side of the car and the deputy opened the door and the dog jumped into her arms. She came around to the other side and said, "Bubba wouldn't hurt you; he's just a baby." Bubba was June's dog--not a drug dog! She told me she would see me at the hospital.
My nose was broken and I had fractured a vertebrae and I almost lost my right ear, because the rear view mirror had come loose, flew back, hit the rear window and came forward, striking my ear. Fortunately, I was wearing a toboggan which covered the top of my ears and kept my ear from being completely sliced! I was in the hospital until Sunday and I went to work on crutches on Monday.
Several months later June told me what had actually happened that morning. In their yard was an invisible in-ground electric dog fence to prevent Bubba from going out of the yard. Whenever Bubba would cross the fence line he would be shocked. My car had landed right on the middle of the fence. When Bubba was on top of me he wouldn't be shocked. When the deputy tried to grab him he jumped to the other side and was being shocked so he tried to get back on top of me.
Then June told me the most horrific thing. They had wakened her to help with the dog, because they were considering SHOOTING the dog because they couldn't get him outside the car. Can you imagine my hysteria if that had happened? A gunshot inside my car? Instead of opening the passenger side door, they were thinking of shooting the dog inside my car!
I will always be grateful that June was home and had the common sense to know the obvious thing to do!