Saturday, June 8, 2013

Heroes in Unexpected Places

What a day Friday was. That is a bit of an understatement because after picking one of my sisters up from the airport in Baltimore, we headed off to upstate NY to celebrate Mom's birthday.

The day was rainy as Tropical Storm Andrea made her presence known. The roads were wet and traffic was moving, but most drivers were wary of the ever changing road conditions.

About three and a half hours into the trip, Chris was driving on a wet road north of Scranton, PA on interstate 81 in the town of Dunmore, everything changed and a near catastrophe became an example of heroes among us in many places.

A red Grand Cherokee probably lost traction and hydroplaned into the passenger rear door of our Lexus which made, after two separate impacts, both vehicles swing around 180 degrees in the road and across two lanes of traffic to come to rest along the barrier on the other side of the road. The third impact was with the barrier and wrecked the front of the Lexus.

After determining that everyone was generally unharmed, except for some glass cut due to the window in the damaged passenger door disintegrating and sore shoulders due to seat belts, our trip was in momentary chaos. Then the heroes arrived on the scene in the form of the Pennsylvania state police, the Dunmore fire department, and De Naples auto parts and tow truck. As we were overcoming the shock of the accident, these professionals took care of our needs and even transported us to the fire station and the car rental agency to help us clean up and recover and allow our trip to continue.

The accident could have been horrible, with two vehicles doing a 180 degree slide and crossing two lanes of a rush hour busy interstate, but it wasn't. I was the first to the damage to the Lexus, which is severe. Chris and my sisters, Pennie and Kay, were trapped in the car until the fire department arrived and assessed the scene. The driver side of the vehicle came to rest with the back tire on the retaining wall, but sustaining no damage. After checking it the vehicle they asked Chris if she could start the car and pull it forward, which amazingly enough she was able to do. At that point as they got out and the ambulance arrived, they could see the extensive damage compared to the minor ding on the Jeep. But, I have to write, even though the passenger door is clearly crushed, except for the broken glass the damage is not obvious from the interior. Great design!

The care and comfort we received from the heroes of Dunmore was awesome. They were instrumental in making a serious accident less traumatic. They were thoughtful and caring to the point of helping us empty our loved Lexus of all of our personal belongings back at the Hose Company in case the last time we see our SUV is when it was driving away on the back of the tow vehicle.

Although the damage doesn't seem so catastrophic, we have been assured that the vehicle will likely be totaled. Sadly.

Our families were awesome in the adversity as well. Everyone offered to come help--some from even 14 hours driving time away. The concern from all of them was genuine and appreciated.

And so, after a two hour delay in our day, we were on the road again in a rental provided by my insurance company, but with fond memories of Dunmore, PA, and the professionals that represent the town.

Thanks guys!

-- Bob Doan, writing from Ithaca, NY

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