I was on my way to work. It was a 43 mile drive to the job site, traveling through what is called "Hell's Canyon".
The road winds this way and that, with mountains of rock on one side and a river on the other side. The road was wet, and being in construction especially, I am extremely careful in those conditions because I know all about the oil rising after rain follows a long dry spell.
As I approached a curve, I was slowing down. I have seen motorists over the center line on any number of the curves so I am careful. Not to mention all the wildlife...deer especially that can be right around the corner.
As I drove into the curve, I was slowing, watching, and suddenly my tires caught the edge of the pavement. That sent me spiraling out of control in a flash. My car was careening straight for the rock 'wall' so I gave the wheel a slight (or so I thought) correction.
I was then aimed right at the river. As my car launched over the bank of the river, I gripped the steering wheel, let out a scream and closed my eyes. I do not remember landing.
As soon as I could, I jumped out of the car, grabbing my cell phone. I also turned the car off. Left the keys in the ignition. I waded to the shore of the river. As I looked up, I realized something didn't look right. Upon turning around, I saw that the road was on the other side of the river from where I was standing.
So I crossed the river again. I was looking for a way up the bank when I heard a car drive by. I was wearing a very bright orange t shirt, and the driver of that truck saw me! He stopped and assured me he was getting help. Once he sent someone to call 911, he came down to try to help me up the river bank. At was about 6 am when I wrecked...I mean totaled my car. I was roughly 10 miles from my job site.
Working for a company that contracts my services out, I meet a lot of people and this year I have worked primarily with the Oregon Department of Transportation. I was supposed to work for one of their crews today in fact. So one of their vehicles came by, and it was some of the guys I know. The stranger in the truck and two ODOT guys helped me get up the river bank. A lady who works here in town came by and stopped as well, and once up the bank she put me in her car and wrapped me in a blanket. Yet another ODOT guy who is also an EMT was on his way to work and stopped, and stayed with me until the ambulance got there.
From there, I was taken back to town and checked out in the ER. A wrecker was called, and that guy is my dad's cousin. It took him 4 hours to get my totaled minivan out of the river. The hospital released me at about 10am. Dad had been called (my uncle called him-I work with my uncle and he was at the office when my boss was called by ODOT)
Dad came to the hospital to see if I was okay. Just as he was about to leave, the doctor said they were letting me go. Dad went to my house to get some dry clothes for me and got back an hour later. Took me to his house where I managed to get my wet cell phone to work to call my boss and uncle. Then dad took me to the store and bought me some cigarettes cause I smoke and was wanting one bad, and then he brought me home.
I called my insurance company-I only had liability, so no big fat check, but I did have comprehensive so maybe they should pay me for the 5 broken windows in my car! LOL (kidding) My brother came and got me, we went to look at my car, and another one for sale there, then to dad's for Tylenol, and then to Taco Time for food. I was starving. Came home, checked the mail then he took me to the bank. Then I came home to rest. (I did manage to get a shower before that to wash off all the river gunk. I mean, on the other side of the river, where I first went, there is cattle over there and I have seen them walking in this river. Ewwwwww! Don't wanna think about what they do to the water! Gross! )
Meanwhile my brother went back to the tow yard and got all my stuff out of it for me. The tow guy had found my debit card, and my brother retrieved my driver's license and a few other important documents for me and brought all my stuff home to me.
I have a few scratches from the brush on the river bank, a slight headache and my shoulder hurts from the seat belt a little, but THAT.IS.IT!!!!!
Had I NOT made the correction, I would have plowed into that rock wall and there is NO doubt in my mind that i would probably be dead or very severely hurt.
The tow truck guy said he thinks after I careened off the road nose down, as my car began bouncing off the bank of rocks etc, that my car flipped end over end. I was driving east bound and landed (on the wheels) facing west bound in the river. It is a miracle that all I lost in the river was a few rechargeable batteries and miscellaneous stuff of no value. ALL of my work gear survived. My cooler lid broke off. oh well... small in comparison.
I am going back to the tow yard tomorrow and will be asking Donn to please text or email the photos to me that he took of my car and all the damage. I WILL be editing this post tomorrow to include them...I want this to become my way of spreading awareness as to just how important seat belts are.
It is almost bedtime, so in parting I want to stress the importance of wearing a seat belt. Seriously, it saved my life!!