Archived Story

Accidents happen when you least expect them

Published 6:00am Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Part of my job is driving to the events I cover.

This was not unexpected when I took the post last November, but there were several major places in Alabama I had been to, but never driven to.

Three of these places were Birmingham, Huntsville and Montgomery.

Yes, as much as it seems unlikely, I had never driven to Birmingham myself even though I lived an hour away in Jasper.

I also had not had a reason to personally drive to Huntsville or Montgomery in the past.

Now that I have, those trips are more things to throw into the old memory bin filed under places I’ve been.

I had never really driven to these places before because I tend not to travel long distances if I don’t have to.

This probably stems from a bit of nerves behind the wheel on long trips.

Long road trips do make me a bit nervous, especially if I’m driving, but it was an accident in a place very close to here that started these nerves to going.

I was driving up to UNA from Jasper — back when I lived there — to turn in some paperwork to the university. My friend Evan, who also went to UNA, was along for the ride.

I asked him if he could wait until Haleyville to get something for lunch, because I used to use any excuse to eat at A&W restaurant. I don’t now because I pass it all the time since moving to Russellville.

He didn’t want to wait that long, so we decided to stop at Krystal in Muscle Shoals.

Just one block, literally one block from Krystal, traffic in the two lanes adjacent from me on my side of the highway decided to stop and wave on someone from the cursed center lane, even though they could not control the third lane.

This was also not at any intersection of any kind, yet another mark against traffic in the center lane of Woodward Avenue.

I could not see around the two rows of traffic, but I was going on about my business. I was in the correct lane doing the speed limit.

I ran no stop sign or traffic light either, and I had the right-of-way for the foreseeable future.

I am simply leaving no doubt who was in the wrong here, and besides I have the accident report clearing me of any mistake.

A green minivan pulled out in front of me from the center lane, again waved on by other motorists who were actually breaking traffic rules in the guise of courtesy. They meant well, but that’s not how it ended.

The front of my Pontiac Grand Am found the passenger front wheel well of the minivan, totaling both vehicles.

Three of the four people involved were injured, with my friend Evan suffering only a bruise to the chest from his seatbelt.

No one is allowed to ride in my car without one, and it’s a wonder when people question why.

I scraped my forehead against the ceiling of the car because I didn’t fit in it, but I didn’t actually hit my head.

What I did do was punch the dashboard over my steering column with my left hand with 45 mph worth of force, as the crash caused it to leave the wheel and continue into the curved section of the dash.

I hit it so hard the dash came up off of the steering wheel. This left me with a crushed knuckle on my left ring finger.

I didn’t get the worst of the accident as far as I know, but I was left with a souvenir of sorts — I can’t make a full fist with my left hand anymore, but oh well.

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