In August, 2004, my oldest daughter drove our new Ford Windstar for her first day of classes at the local community college.
My son was with her because we had just learned that. although he was just 14, he qualified to enroll in a college Algebra class. Our youngest daughter was also in the car.
She was driving our minivan because I told her that she had to take her 1990 Toyota Camry into our mechanic for a complete service that morning before I would let her drive the 20 miles each way on the freeway. It was the last thing that I said as I walked out the door to go to work.
They were waiting at the light to make a left turn into the parking lot. The light turned yellow and the oncoming traffic began to stop. Bean started making her left turn.
Just then, a young man in a Dodge Ram 1500 pickup pulled out from behind the car ahead of him and floored the throttle trying to make the light.
The results weren’t pretty. The impact knocked our van back 84 feet and spun it 160°. Our van was totaled. The accident made the paper.
I arrived at the accident scene in time to see Cakes, completely strapped into a gurney, being loaded by paramedics into an ambulance. Bean and Big A were already seated inside.
I followed the ambulance to the Emergency room. Big A was vomiting every 15 minutes because of a bad concussion. Cakes foot was broken. Bean had bad seat belt burns and was picking glass out or her leg.
As bad as that sounds, if they had taken the Camry that morning, I would probably be a very, very sad father today.
Providentially, although the street was nearly empty, we had two witnesses who testified that the pickup driver ran the red light. Still, we had to get a lawyer because his insurance company (GEICO) would not pay for the damages.
We ended up winning the lawsuit just before my wife and children moved to KC.
I bring all of this up because today, 5 years and one week later, my son was driving our daughter’s beautiful Honda Accord to go take care of a friend’s dog. He was second in line in the left turn lane. When the left turn arrow turned green, he followed the car ahead of him.
Unfortunately, a young man on his way to a sales appointmentin a Toyota Camry had missed his turn and was looking at his Garmin. He didn’t see the red light and plowed into my son’s driver’s side door and front fender.
To his credit, the young man confessed all of this to the police. A young woman gave the same account. As I arrived at the scene, a second woman told the policeman that she felt so bad for my son that she drove back to the accident scene in order to be a witness.
Thankfully, both of the young men are uninjured.
Cakes’ Honda cannot be driven.