Sunday, June 18, 2006


I saw an accident happen last night. It was like the dream where you want so badly to talk, or more likely scream, but for some reason you find yourself in slow motion, and though your brain is furiously ordering your mouth to form the words, no sound escapes your lips.
We were sitting in traffic on an entrance ramp, waiting to get on the highway, and everything was backed up because there was a toll about 1/4 mile down from our ramp. It was late, and I had just gone to an outdoor picnic/concert with a few of my friends, so we were just sitting, all of us tired and ready to go home, waiting for our turn to merge. I was just staring at the parked cars already on the highway, not thinking about anything in particular, when I suddenly saw streaking brake lights, then something black flying in the air. And then there were two bodies on the ground, and the black object became visible as a motorcycle, which had been sitting at the end of the line of cars. It had flown up in the air and crashed against the car in front of it, and both people on it were now lying on their backs, not moving.

Then I could speak. Though I was too far away, and obviously couldn't have acted quickly enough, it seemed as though my brain had been trying for hours to yell out a warning, but my lips just wouldn't move. Now they would not stop moving, but even as I spoke I felt the uselessness of my words. Immediately there were people everywhere, standing in circles around the two on the ground, some kneeling, others fanning them and trying to wake them up, several on their cell phones. And all I could do was watch; it seemed disrespectul to turn my eyes away. Within minutes a policeman arrived, and slowly we merged into traffic and drove away, leaving everything behind us. Much of the remaining ride was spent in silence. Words seemed too casual and weak to express what had happened. We prayed, and I cried. And then we were quiet again.

I've checked every local police blotter I can find online today, but have discovered nothing yet. It is sobering, but not in a "well now we've all learned our lesson and we can move on" way. I feel as if my life has been irrevocably changed. I may never know who was in that accident last night or what caused the driver of that car not to stop, but I saw lives change in unfathomable ways right before my eyes, and I can't imagine I will ever forget it.


runraerun said...

Hey Janell, I'm sorry to hear about the accident. It is hard to be a witness to that, but also a good reminder of what's really important in your own life. I just wanted to be in touch. I found your blog a few days ago and since we haven't been in touch in years, I just wanted to drop in and say hello. This is RAchel Holtzhouse Robinson. Are you shocked? I saw your picture on the profile page of this blogsite. You're beautiful!!!! My blogsite is Running Mom of 3 Little Ones. It doesn't have many entries cause it's not my main blogsite. I had to create one in order to comment and do any searching on e blogger. Alright, this is getting rather long. I hope we can update each other on our lives every now and then. BYE!!!

Ang said...

Two good friends found in one day :) Well actually, Rachel found us both.

Daniel and I once watched a car hit a little girl on her bike while we were on our way to 'sunday night church' at Calvary. It was so awful. It made me feel shaky and weak and nauseous. We were able to feel more relief and closure than you...the little girl was okay. But those kind of images never go away. You see fake recreations of tragedy all the time in movies, but in reality there are no warning signs, special effects, ominous soundtracks, or drama. It just happens...when you thought every thing was just normal.

Thanks for sharing your experience...and reminding me of how fragile and precarious life is. My brother wrote about a similar feeling just the other day.

So glad you have a blog. I'll add you to my links and visit often.