Flirting with Disaster…I walked away
By Walter C. Maki
Some might say I am lucky or lead what might be called a charmed life or just too plain stubborn to be a statistic.
Here are the highlights about some of my driving events with a brief story to go with each of them (any names appearing in the stories have changed to protect their identity).
My friend Joe figured that it would be good to party with a few girls we knew. So we had went off to get about 14 bottles of Boones Farm (because it was cheap). We had a very good time into the late hour. On our way home we caught a glimpse of a police car so my friend who was driving decided to change route. Meanwhile I proceeded to dispose of the empty bottles just in case. The cop car had reappeared behind us and was closing in. Joe who already had too many points against his license decide to see if he could outrun the cop. Well the car we were in was quite fast and we managed to lose the police. Unfortunately our choice of roads was bit off as we shot through a T intersection caught a small boulder got air born and hit a tree landing in a perfect 180 degree upon landing. I turned to look at Joe ask asked him how in the hell are we getting home. I sustained no injuries and Joe had a cut above his eye. Shortly after we saw the police car pass by. I kicked my door open and though whew! Well the cop returned with about four other squad cars. To my surprise neither one of us went to jail. The irony was that the tow truck driver who picked up the car was the father of the girls we were partying with that night. According to the police report we pulled away from him at around 120 mph and still increasing speed when we disappeared.
In the Navy:
I was driving home late at night from the base on the highway that ran along it. When out of what appeared to be nowhere my car was struck head on. I had no warning of headlight or anything. The car skidded into the ditch. So I kicked open the door and got out to see if the other party was ok. A few people passed right by me like I wasn’t even there to look inside my car, I guess they were looking for me. I looked back at my car and was in a bit a shock of what I saw. The driver side fender was crushed flat against the cab and my front wheel was underneath the driver seat area with the car body looking a bit like elbow macaroni due to the curve up in the middle. I shook my head and proceeded to check on the driver. The small truck he was driving had the front end smashed into triangular shape. He was taken in an ambulance with cuts and bruises. Well to find out he was from my squadron (we work on jets). He was drunk and violating a base restriction he was on plus the vehicle wasn’t even his and it was uninsured. I was not happy to say the least. The only injury I suffered was broken teeth from hitting the steering wheel which resembled a potato chip. The dentist I saw told me with all the hairline fractures I would eventually lose all my teeth. Over 20 years later I now have a full set of dentures.
A Twist in Texas:
Most moves across country (from Arizona to Louisiana) are relatively uneventful. We (my family) were in two different vehicles with my oldest and youngest child in the car with mom in the lead car and the middle child who quite young at the time riding with me in the truck that was pulling a slightly overloaded 20 foot travel trailer. Traveling along a busy highway in Texas (don’t remember which one) when the trailer done what would look like the child’s game crack the whip. I could see all the lug nuts on the wheels as it went from one side to the other. All the while screaming something at the top of my lungs and my child fortunately was still asleep. I took a quick mental snap shot as I saw road workers pointing in my direction. I thought I was going to have a blow out and flip over. My wife while observing all this in the rearview almost ran into the car in front of her. I can imagine it quite a site. What surprised me was how well the truck which I custom lowered held a straight line during the mishap.
Oh Deer Me:
This happened sometime last year. I was driving down highway 191 with my daughter heading to Douglas in our ’95 Honda Civic Dx (I love that lil car) traveling at approximately 65 mph. When a male deer jumped right in front of the car. I hit the brakes and turned the steering resulting in a slide full speed sideways at first for over 50 feet. I seriously thought we were going to roll over then corrected the wheel causing us to be 180 degrees back in our lane only to rest on the shoulder of the road like we were just parked there. During this my daughter did not let out one shriek, a cool customer in my book. Catching my breath I saw a woman in her car pull over across the road so I walk up to her to let know we’re ok. The lady said to me she saw the whole thing and told me that was some excellent driving. During the conversation more deer crossed the highway where the first one did. I think missing the first deer probably prevented an even worse accident.
This just happened a few days ago while I was taking my (middle child) son to get an early fall registration at the Cochise College. Traveling down the oh so familiar highway 191 in our ’95 Honda (yes same car as the previous story) We were somewhere between McNeal and the state prison (which I was a corrections officer at many moons ago) I went to briefly look over at what my son was doing on his laptop computer only to look up just in time to see a minivan (close enough to read license plate) that I did not notice earlier was stopped right in front of us on the road with no sign off turn signals or brake lights. I cut to the left while applying the brakes to just barely missing and slid across the road facing the other way. The force was so strong that my energy drink flew across the car splattering all over the inside the car, on laptop and my son. The dimwit who I almost ran into (who finally turned into where he was going) was about to cross the road to see if we were ok. Still being a bit rattled but no injuries (other than the deceased drink) I waved him off saying we are ok. We were both at fault so no point of getting into it. We cleaned what we could and went on to the college. A delayed causality being the computer that now needs a keyboard replacement.
Well that concludes this session…for now.
Oh, that little Honda has some awesome maneuverability to go with my mad driving skills.