We've talked about the cars we drive before... How about sharing some good accident stories? Hopefully ones with happy endings.
I'll start things off... Back in 1989 I was driving back home from my in-law's house on a dark stretch of highway with my pregnant wife and 16 month old daughter in our little Honda Civic wagon. Another car travelling the same direction as me -- and about 1/4 mile ahead -- suddenly pulled over to the shoulder and backed up. I was a little puzzled by that, but thought they were maybe changing drivers or something, so I slowed a little and moved to the center of the road as I passed them.
What I didn't know was that the other car had hit a 900lb heifer that had wandered onto the road, and as I sped toward them the cow lay dying in the middle of the road. A black cow. On a moonless night. On an asphalt highway. I faintly remember seeing something in the road before we hit it; also a faint recollection of the driver of the other car jumping out just as we zipped past. But it was too late. We hit the cow dead-on at about 60mph.
Near as I can deduct from what followed, the body of the cow rolled under the bumper of the car and launched us in the air. The car somersaulted and came down on the right-front fender and proceeded to tumble and roll down the highway. You can see photos of the car's remains here. Pretty nasty. Not a bit of sheet metal that wasn't scratched or dented.
As for us, we fared pretty well. The people in the other car ran to our aid right away, and were pretty amazed to see us still kicking. Their car -- an old Chevy wagon -- was still driveable, so they drove my wife & daughter to the next house along the highway, which just happened to be the home of a doctor (an internist), and he went to work checking them over. I was still somewhat coherent, and realizing that our car was sitting in the middle of the highway with no lights (the battery was crushed) I flagged down the next passing car to see if they would stay there with flashers on until the authorities arrived. Two people stopped, and neither would help. I was pretty disgusted.
After a few minutes the volunteer fire department from a nearby town showed up; when they saw the wreckage they figured we were in really, really bad shape, so they called in a helicopter to get us to the hospital. The doctor had called for an ambulance a few minutes earlier, so it arrived at the doctor's house first. By that time I had wandered the 1/4 mile or so to the doctor's house, and the EMT's checked the three of us over. I rememeber hearing the helicopter land, but the ambulance crew & the doc had things under control, so they were waved off.
My wife had started having contractions right away (our son was born about 2 months later), and we had no desire to birth a premie baby in the back of an ambulance, so they wanted to get her to the hospital ASAP. I was in pretty good condition -- a mild concussion, a bruised breastbone (from the shoulder strap catching me on the first couple of impacts), and the skin on a couple of fingers roughed up a bit (from my hand hitting the pavement as we rolled, after the windshield blew out on the first impact.) They had me lay down on a gurney in the ambulance, but they didn't strap me in. The 10 miles to the hospital were a bit scary as I tried my best to keep from falling off. I still don't know if I was supposed to have been strapped down or what.
It all turned out ok; my wife was held overnight for observation, and released the next day when the contractions subsided. My daughter also had a slight concussion, but recovered with no problem. The car, however, did not fare well. We did get a decent settlement from the insurance company, and bought a good replacement for it. The other family that had hit the cow first (mom, dad & 2 kids) had some troubles dealing with what they saw -- our car hitting the cow and flying through the air. Last I heard from them they were doing ok though. They had sought some legal remedy from the owner of the cow, but as one of the highway troopers had said that night, a 900lb cow will go wherever it wants to go, fence or no fence, so the farmer couldn't be held liable. In the legal realm, a run-in with livestock is considered an "act of God" or something that no person can control.
The week following the accident my wife & I flew to the Los Angeles area for my sister's wedding. Her new hubby's family is pretty well-to-do, and we got some raised eyebrows when we mentioned the cow when asked about the accident. Such hicks from the hinterlands!
So... That's my most memorable incedent. How 'bout you all?