Heading eastbound on Interstate 80 on the Yolo Causeway between Davis and Sacramento, about midnight, and reached the I-80/Highway 50 interchange. Continue on in the slow lane on Highway 50, nearing Harbor Blvd., following behind a slow pickup truck carrying a camper shell. Speed, about 60 mph. The rest of the traffic in the two other eastbound lanes was moving faster.
In my rear-view mirror, I spotted the high-speed movement of two headlights closing very, very rapidly. The movement was so abrupt I suspect the vehicle moved from the center lane into the right lane. Moving maybe 90 mph; maybe accelerating. My only hope was the vehicle would quickly dodge back into the center lane. Can't tell what kind of vehicle it was.
Suddenly, time slowed. I fell backwards. After the seat belt apparently prevented me from flying around the passenger compartment, the seat-back recliner broke. The seat went horizontal and I fell back. Laying down, I experienced the carnival midway ride from hell. My mouth and eyes had debris in them. I was trying to brake - can't find the brake. Thrashing around from a horizontal position, and trying to grab the steering wheel, I apparently remove the car keys from the ignition and threw them around the passenger compartment. My eyeglasses flew off my face. Can't see well. The vehicle is spinning, and the left-front of my car spins into the right-rear of the camper vehicle ahead. No control - just like Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz," sitting in her bedroom as the house spun around in the tornado. In order to have caught up to the camper vehicle, I must have been punched hard enough to be going 75 mph myself. I finally grabbed the steering wheel, and immediately regretted it. Over-correction; car whipping violently around; car skidding sideways at high speed down the freeway. I'm going to flip! There's the concrete median! Then the car abruptly slows, I step on the brake, and the car stops, facing back from where I had come from, towards traffic, towards the west. Burning tire smell fills the air.
The rest of the vehicles march towards me at highway speeds, barely missing me. They are barely even slowing down. The fast lane is still clear of debris. I'm in the middle lane. People are confused. I'm going to get hit again!
Waiting. Cars zip by. Where are my keys? Why don't my emergency flashers work when I turn the switch on? Why are the headlights still on without a key? Good battery there - a new battery too. Hmmm. Emergency vehicles arrive. Waiting. Windshield wipers work. That's nice. Not terribly helpful, under the circumstance, but nice. No fire. That's a plus. Where are the keys? Is the vehicle driveable? Where are the keys? Where are my glasses? Here's a reflector light in the passenger seat. Whose car does it belong to? Where did it come from? Rear view mirror on driver's door is in pieces. Can I open the driver's-side door? No. Low fuel light is on. Why? That's odd. I should have half a tank - before the fuel tank was destroyed! Crumble glass everywhere, but windshield is perfectly-intact. Air bags didn't deploy.
A few years ago, I came upon an accident scene on this exact stretch of highway about 30 seconds after it happened, before there was any emergency response vehicles present. Very dark. I zipped through broken glass and fallen bumpers at 50 mph and barely-missed several dazed crash survivors walking around exposed on the highway. I'm scared to get out of the car. If I get hit again, as seemed likely, I'd rather be inside a vehicle than outside it.
Oddly, the electric windows still work. A luxury! I open the driver's side window. A woman at the edge of the freeway points at me and with dark anger shouts, "YOU HIT ME!" I bridle at the accusation. "Oh yeah? Well fuck you!" I shout. "FUCK YOU TOO!" she shouts. Feels good to shout fuck you to SOMEBODY, but I reconsider. She's probably the driver of the camper vehicle. I shout, "Sorry I hit you. Someone hit me. I didn't have control." "Someone hit you?" she asks. I can see her processing this new thought.
I try to open the driver's-side door again, this time pushing harder. The door opens. A firefighter sees the movement and shines a flashlight. "Can you walk away from there?" he asks. I have to come to him; he's not coming to me. It's way too dangerous for him to come to me; he could get killed. I get out and walk to the freeway's edge.
The woman is very distressed, and sobbing. She needs her vehicle. She falls to her knees. Another vehicle passes around the fire engine on the shoulder, menacing the pedestrians at 40 mph. "I need my glasses," I ask. "Get back! Someone got hit and killed after an accident just like this several nights ago," the firefighter said.
The woman and I get into the ambulance. We need to decide whether to go to the hospital. She decides no; I decide yes, when I refuse to sign an AMA - waiving any claim after refusing a ride to the hospital "Against Medical Advice." Since I took the hardest blow, I should go. My back is beginning to ache. Shoulder scraped. Maybe from seat belt, but who knows?
Jetta calls, then Steve. Jan wants to come down, but we might not be here when she arrives.
There were two other damaged vehicles farther down the road, but it was unclear to us whether they were from this accident, or a previous accident. Ambulance personnel understood they were from a previous accident. No idea where the vehicle was that hit me. No one is saying anything.
I asked to go to Sutter Medical Center, but ambulance drivers have guidelines directing them to take high-speed collision victims to UC Davis Medical Center instead, because they have a better trauma center. I need special dispensation to go to Sutter, which they grant, because I'm mobile and alert.
Cop asks questions. Police car pushes my vehicle off the road so it can be carried away by the auto transporter. They find my reading glasses. I still need my distance glasses and keys. They eventually find those too.
Cop comes back. "Was there an offset?" he asks. "No, no offset," I reply. "Sounds wishy-washy to me," cop says. Apparently he's hearing contradictory stuff. "Was there an offset?" he repeats. I said, "NO! No wishy-washy! No offset! I was following directly behind the camper vehicle. Not off to the side. No offset." In retrospect, I think the cop was trying to account for the damage on the camper vehicle's right rear, an apparent offset. I didn't get a chance to explain my car's spin. It's hard to be a cop trying to understand a chaotic nighttime scene stretched over darkened highway. Hell, I still don't understand it fully myself.
I elected to go to hospital, just to be sure. And I guess the question whether I’ll buy new tires has been answered.
Blood pressure 160/80: heart rate over 100 per minute. The stress is evident in the numbers.
In retrospect, I think I lucked out. Three or four vehicles were involved. I was stranded in highway lanes as vehicles raced past. More vehicles were almost involved.
I’m surprised the car’s gas tank didn’t explode. One of the last things I noticed before I left the car was the low gas light, even though I filled up 2 days ago. Tank was probably half full. So there must have been gas on the freeway, but strangely I didn’t smell any. Gas tanks usually don’t ‘explode’ that’s all Hollywood, but spilled gasoline can ignite. Either way, fire is no one’s friend in that situation. It's likely that the gas spilled, but the vehicles kept moving.
I’d like to see the car. People were too scared to get a closer look last night, because passing traffic promised instant death.
This is fun. Wheeled into emergency room. Dude looks like one of the performers in last night's "Wizard of Oz" so I ask him how the show was. He finds my question confusing. Apparently not the same guy.
They discharge me as soon as the admit me. Shoulder has full range of motion. Very little pain. They gave me a Motrin. Looked big, like horse Motrin.
Interesting overheard conversations in the emergency room. What a place!
I like keeping my visits to Sutter short and sweet. After pulling crumble glass out of my shoe, it’s time to leave.
Sutter Medical Center. Two a.m. on a rainy Sunday morning, December 3rd. I just barely outside of Bella's walking range. Hell, I'll just walk the two miles home.
Young women in their early 20's chattering on the sidewalk about being drunk and burning off the alcohol on the dance floor.
Surprisingly, no one was in the skeezy 26th Street underpass below the W-X freeway. There's almost always someone there. Especially when it's raining a bit, like the last couple of hours.
Walking home. Figure 8 Salon. Good memories here two years ago with Kamila Emilia and KESFit.
Many thanks to Pepper Von, Barreto Brothers Zumba, LaToya Bufford, Margaret Gidding, Pamela Kay Lourentzos, Kamila Emilia, and others for keeping my body toned, so when the ass-kicking came, I could kick back.
McDonalds Drive-through window, 24th & Broadway. They won’t let me order out of the car. So, off to Pancake Circus
There are some interesting crumble glass cuts on my hand. I guess I was inside a glass explosion.
Nobody was serving, so walked home and ate Raisin Bran.
Can’t sleep, despite sleeping pill. Jarred thoroughly awake. But basically OK.
Well, here’s hoping. My hair has glass bits in it.
Pancake Circus is closed. Inconceivable!
I thought, hell, I’ll get some eggs at AM/PM and cook my own, but they were closed too. WTF!
It’s Sunday morning. Dammit, I’m gonna go to Pancake Circus and get some eggs. With hash browns and bacon.
Surprisingly, Joe the Plumber called, and together, we went to Pancake Circus at noon.