Monday, April 21, 2008

One year ago today

One year ago tonight the unthinkable happened. My 14 year old daughter was spending the night at a friend's house. I made sure that although the girl's parents would be out, that the Grandmother was staying there. Katie was planning on an evening of hanging by the pool, playing video games and being a typical young teen.

Two older boys they know very well from Bible study came over to hang out. These were freind-boys, not boyfriends of either girl. Just a couple of brothers they liked to hang out with. The kids wanted to get drinks from S0nic and the girls parents gave the OK over the phone to let the oldest boy drive. They took the brand new Mustang and headed to the fast food spot. Then they decided to swing by our new house which was in the girls' neighborhood but still under construction. The other girl convinced the older boy to let her drive the 3-4 blocks to her house from there. She had driven many times, but never such a powerful car. In a matter of seconds she got going way too fast, the boys screamed at her to slow down, they hit a curve and she lost control. The car slid into the ditch, rolled, hit a cement culvert on the passenger side door, flew into the air and landed on the driver's side. As people ran to pull kids out of the wreck, the car burst into flames.

Thank God for the quick responses of the neighbors. People dialed 911, people ran for fire extinguishers and people carried kids to safety. We got the call around 11pm from a woman who was at the scene. She said there had been an accident, told me where to come and said to look for the 'cart' upside down in the driveway. I wasn't horribly upset because I thought they had tipped over the golf cart. When I rounded the road to the site, this is like what I saw and heard. Life Flight. The second thing I saw was the Mustang, lit up by police lights, mangled and on it's side.

I can't remember parking my van, although later I found my keys in my pocket. I remember running, hearing the whump-whump-whump of the helicopter blades. A Deputy intercepted me and held me back, not allowing me close to the scene. I explained my daughter was in the accident. He said they were preparing to load her on the helicopter and I would have to wait. I remember listening to him, heard him threaten to handcuff me if I didn't stop, and I remember just putting my head down and using my legs to drive him backwards. It took 2 more guys to stop me.

After what seemed like 15 years, they led me over to the area as they brought the gurneys out. First was the other girl, who was hysterical and sayign she was so sorry. At that point I had no idea she was driving, nor did it make any difference. I comforted her and told her it would be OK. Then Katie came out, bloody, tubes all over, in a neck brace, etc etc. At that point they decided to put Katie in the ambulance and put one of the boys, who possibly had a head injury, into the helicopter.

The rest of the night is a blur. We followed the ambulance to the hospital. There were x-rays, drug/alcohol tests (none in any of the kids) CT scans, bandages, etc etc. We were able to take her home the next day, to follow up with an orthopedist. All of the kids were incredibly lucky.

This is the seat Katie was in. The seat came un-bolted from the frame and was partially ejected out the window. When the car hit the culvert, it just happened to hit in such a way that the frame of the car crumpled and trapped the base of her seat inside the car. You can see the crumpled frame in red/black along the bottom of the seat in both of these photos. The police at the scene told us that they can't believe she didn't die. They had never seen such damage without a fatality.

God was with my baby that night. God is with us every day, but especially that night.

And I am teaching the child to drive. There isn't enough Valium in the world to make it OK, but I am doing it!


dana said...

I cannot priase God enough for our miracle and for the life of dear Katie. She didn't die and God was with her. God has a purpose for her that is very special. I am just thankful that we still have her. I cry when I see these photos and think of what you went through. Life is so precious. Parneting is so hard! Teach her to drive well!
Love you!

Ellie said...

OMG Wendy... Has it really been a year? Where did the time go? Like Dana said... God was holding Katie his hands and protected her for that horrible night... And yes... YOU HAVE TO TEACH HER TO DRIVE... BUT FIRST WRAP HER IN BUBBLE WRAP~!

Miss you all


Deb said...

wow- I remember you posting when in happened- it seems like it was just last week. Praises that Katie and her firends all are OK. I am sure this experience is a good lesson for her, that might help while she learns to drive.

I am praying for you both while she is learning and you are teaching.

love and hugs to you,

jeneflower said...

Wow. What a scary event. I am so glad Katie was O.K. My son turns 16 next year and I have started to get really worried about this. I got in my share of accidents as a teen and it could have easily been worse. Good luck with your teaching. I am sure that experience is making her a better driver today.

Sarah said...

What a blessing you were given that night! I hope that Katie never forgets that terrifying moment and is one of the best drivers we have ever seen!

I will think of this as I am teaching my almost 16 year old to drive!

Andrea said...

Wow-I know I've read about the accident, but that's the first time I can remember the pictures. I think I found your blog just after that. God had His hand ALL over that accident. Believe me, I've been in a roll over that looked just as gnarly. It's something that stays with you forever. She WILL be a better driver because of it. I can promise you that! Blessings to you all!

Shineka said...

I am so thankful that God saved all those children that day. He has some wonderful plan for their lives. I can't imagine the fear you felt that day......

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