Monday, September 13, 2010

Escaping Death

And you think I exaggerate...

The other day - a beautiful day - I was driving to my office from Coeur d'Alene. I pulled into the parking lot, thought about parking towards our building (an old mansion), then changed my mind and decided to park away from it, facing downhill. I swung the car around towards a number of empty spots, and went to park in one place that would have given me space between myself and the next car towards the building, but then - don't know why - I decided to park in the spot next to that car instead. This was just a little weird, since I usually like my space (so to speak). But there it was.

Now normally I'd open the car door and get out of the car with my hands full of whatever stuff I need to cart into my office. Isn't that what we all do? But this time, I decided to call a friend instead - a friend who works in this building too, though I didn't see her car in the lot...

My friend answered (what if she hadn't answered?), and we started talking.

Just then, a black truck barreled past me, backwards, on the driver's side, like someone was driving it in reverse. It rolled over the curb and down the grass, towards the (historic) building in front of me. It crashed into a tree that stood right before the building. It had missed my car by a couple inches.

Turns out, there was no driver - just a bad emergency brake that decided to take that day and give out.

It all happened fast, and slow, all at the same time. I didn't have to jump back into my car, because I hadn't gotten out of it yet. I didn't even have to watch the truck tear off my driver's side door because I had decided to sit in the car with the door closed while I had my phone conversation.

But what if I had parked one spot further away from our building? My car would have been rear ended, maybe even crushed. Or what if my friend hadn't answered her phone, which delayed my getting out of the car for just that extra few moments? Or what if it I had opened the car door and stepped out while I talked to her? As the truck came racing backwards, aimed right at me...

Or what if the tree that the truck hit - which was almost right in front of me - had just toppled forward, crushing my car, with me still in it?

I can't decide if God likes me enough to spare my life, or is yelling at me about something.

Already outside was Chris Wooley, from the upstairs photo studio (Beautiful Photo - it was his dad Larry Wooley who took the photos of my office a few months ago). Chris said it was like watching a movie in slow motion - nothing he could do to stop the impending crash... Right after, he came and took photos of the scene. Here's one that he took:

And, just to give some perspective, these are some photos I took the other day. My car was in the spot where the red car is - the tree that the truck hit is the first one off to the left of the car - as I recall, the truck leaned a little away from me as it went over the curb and into the grass, which is how it got to that tree:

And the truck came backwards towards me from the spot where the maroon vehicle is parked in this photo (that's my little white car next to it):

As you can see, the parking spots don't line up. The truck likely crossed over the white line - or was near it, at the very least. It really did miss me by just inches.

The young woman who owned the truck came out of the building from her appointment and saw the mess. I guess she was pretty upset. Our building's owner told me later that he went over with her how amazingly lucky she was - not too much damage to her truck; nobody hurt; no other car rear ended (this parking lot is usually full!); no damage to the historic building in the line of fire because a tree stood in the way; no tree crashing downward...

Yes, she was lucky. As. Was. I.

No comments: