Driving home from Arizona, towing a UHaul trailer in traffic on the 105 freeway at about 8pm on a Thursday night.
I’m driving 60 in the slow lane, using cruise control so I don’t get another ticket for speeding with a trailer.
Headlights behind me, weaving in and out of traffic, coming up too fast.
I slow down.
This isn’t good.
Something is going to happen.
A car flies by, moves to the right, towards my lane.
It tries to get back to his left, but he’s going too fast.
The back of the car gets loose and comes around.
He’s sliding sideways.
It shoots him towards the center divider.
Sparks. Smoke. Screeching tires.
He nails the side of a small pickup in the car pool lane.
The impact spins it around and shoots it backwards across the freeway.
He travels from left to right, across 5 lanes of freeway, right in front of us.
He hits the right side retainer wall.
The car has finally spent all of it’s energy and comes to a stop.
No movement from the car.
I park our truck in the slow lane to block traffic with my flasher lights on.
My wife tries to call 911 while I run up to the car, expecting to see blood or an unconscious body.
A young man, (a very stupid young man) is moving inside.
I ask if he’s OK. He nods and mumbles.
I open his door and help him from his mangled car.
We walk to the back of his car and sit him down.
A nurse appears and starts to help him.
The nurse wants a couple blankets. We get them out of the back of the truck to keep the young man warm.
She needs a light.
I grab the Luminaid Solar Powered inflatable Light that I keep in the camper shell of the truck.
Yes, this is a product pitch.
I gives a general light to the scene of the young man, but she needs a more focused light to check his pupils.
OK, so the Luminaid Solar Powered inflatable Light isn’t perfect for every situation.
Buy a flashlight too.
The next events are a bit of a haze.
I remember personally stopping 3 lanes of traffic to retrieve the plastic front fascia from his car and dragging it out of lanes so traffic could pass.
My wife couldn’t get 911. She dialed multiple times and nothing happened.
Another woman stopped behind us and she called 911.
I remember a CHP car finally coming, but going to the center divider, where the disabled truck was stopped.
We waved our hands and yelled.
Paramedics came, and they too stopped at the center divider.
Excuse me, but we have a guy laying on the ground and shaking, while his eyes rolled up into his skull.
Firetrucks arrive to us and paramedics drive towards us from the center.
They ask everyone if they are OK.
They don’t seem to have any sense of urgency about anything.
“Hey! what about…?”
“Oh. That’s the CHP. They’ll take care of that. Not us.”
“Just stand over there.”
One fireman gives the woman, who stopped with us and called 911, his card, and tells her that if she ever wants to go to a Kings game, give him a call.
Really? A date?
There is a full traffic stop, although I could see no reason for it.
I got to see a very, very rare event; no traffic on a freeway in LA.
There were actually 2 traffic stops. The second one clogged the freeway while the second ambulance tried to reach us.
I heard one CHP officer ask another one if he had requested the traffic stop.
“Nope. They must just being nice or something. You can tell them to go.”
Really? Shutting down a freeway for no apparent reason?
No one seems to be in charge or know what is going on.
Everyone is focused on their own job and that’s all.
The paramedics take the young man away.
The CHP takes our statement.
The tow trucks take the 2 battered vehicles away.
We finally leave, safe and sound, but dazed from the strangeness of what just happened.
We drove home and I reflected on what just happened.
I’m glad we have firemen and paramedics and CHP officers.
I’m sure they have a difficult job to do and they are brave, and strong, and true.
But this whole scene made me glad I wasn’t the one who had to depend on someone else for help.
When seconds count, help is only minutes away.
I drove a little slower.