Two Seconds

Earlier today, I was witness to something that I  have not seen in several years.

I watched a man take his last breaths and die. IMG_5617

But for two seconds, it could have been me, right there with him.

Lucky day for me, bad day for him.


I have to figure out a way to make this story interesting, without it being 2,000 words, so please bear with me through the twists and turns.

Whenever possible, I stay away from the interstate (I-20). I prefer to take the backroads and even wrote about that in  “Take The Backroads”  This morning, I had an unusually early appointment (which I had to re-schedule) and had some administrative tasks to complete before I left. Today would have been a nice ride up Hwy 1 into Lexington, but as the clock ticked, I realized that I couldn’t afford the extra 20 minutes it would take, so as the Marshall Tucker boys would say,  I had to “Take The Highway”

Exiting the interstate, there was a Ford F-150 in front of me at the traffic light at the top of the ramp.  When it changed from red to green, he started pulling forward and was immediately “T-Boned” by a sedan that traveling approximately 45mph. The driver of the sedan failed to stop for the red light and never hit the brakes (no skid marks).  If he was just a few feet farther away, in two seconds or less I would have been in front of him.

I had a front-row seat to the demonstration of a few immutable laws of physics and was the first caller of many to 911.

The F-150 did an admirable job of taking the impact. I owned a F-150 for several years and always felt safe in the truck. The car I drive now has me much lower to the ground. So while the driver of the truck took the majority of the hit below him, I shudder when I think about the possibilities.

I got out and was providing a size up for the 911 operator.  My 36 years in emergency services kicked in and I took inventory of and relayed the situation.  (Here is where I will leave out the details out of respect) There were several people who stopped to help and I stayed on the phone, updating the dispatcher and it was then I could tell that the pinned driver of the sedan was very severely injured and might not survive long enough for the fire dept to extricate him. Unfortunately, I was correct and I watched him take his last breaths as I said a silent prayer for his soul and his family.  I learned from the evening news that he was 72 years old.

I was interviewed by three different police officers and the county coroner, who I have known for years. I had to write out a witness statement and it was after I completed that and things started settling down that I realized how sometimes “the next thing you know could be the last thing you know” and how close Alicia came to being an insurance-rich widow this morning.

Life is short and dead is for a very long time.

I’ll end with…Pay attention! Put the phone down! (I have no idea if that played a factor this morning, but somewhere today, somebody, and probably more than one person, died in a car because of distracted driving).

Drive defensively and arrive alive.

Today, I was lucky, but there is no promise of tomorrow.

But if tomorrow comes, I’m taking the backroads.




About Ray V.

Living between Aiken & Nashville, TN, USA, I like to share what I am looking at, thinking about or listening to. I refer to this as the view out my window. Thanks for stopping by.
This entry was posted in backroads, Fate, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Two Seconds

  1. lisanne3015 says:

    I’m glad you are okay. We were driving to Charleston on Friday. We had just switched over to me driving and were between Neeses and Orangeburg on Hwy 4. I was t-boned by a young woman who said she didn’t see me. I believe my car is totaled but we are are well other than the shakiness of what might have been. I hate the interstate…but, now I’ve learned to watch out on the backroads too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Candice says:

    I’m so glad that you weren’t 2 seconds faster. When coming home from our son’s Thanksgiving weekend, we passed the scene of an accident. Many emergency vehicles were there, but the ambulance had already left. From the looks of the car, the driver couldn’t possibly have survived. I really don’t like to travel on long weekends, but , if we want to see our kids and grandchildren, it’s a necessary risk.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sue W says:

    So sorry for the loss of life but I am relieved you are safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for the prayer you said. I’m heading out the door for a work road trip. I appreciate your warnings and advice. Never hurts to be reminded, often. I’m sorry for the loss of this man’s life. God bless him and his family.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Live & Learn says:

    Now here’s a walk up call. Thanks for sharing Ray.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Margy says:

    You just never know what is going to happen next, do you!
    I always look both ways before I proceed into an intersection when the light turns green. Lots of people don’t though…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Debra says:

    A very sobering account, Ray. I see so many accidents, and some of them bad. I don’t take our road safety at all for granted and we are back street people when we can be. Unfortunately, Los Angeles is spread wide such that this isn’t always possible. I’m sure your skill at giving an account will be helpful, but what a shame.

    Liked by 1 person

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