A Mother(trucker)’s Worst Nightmare
The roads were icy and it was snowing. All I remember is a blur of a black pickup with several young people standing up in the back of it, speeding past my slow rolling truck. I was in a long line of semi trucks traveling south on Highway 35 just past the Kansas-Oklahoma line. We were bumper to bumper in the “granny lane” trying to avoid colliding with each other and the four wheelers in the long procession.
The CB radio was humming with truck chatter. We were all listening to weather advisories and northbound trucks were happy to give us information about the roads ahead of us. To the surprise of all of us as we traveled this treacherous road, that black pickup flew by us in the “fast lane.” The CB boomed with criticism of the reckless behavior of those young people.
I remember thinking as I listened to the CB and watched the road, “Wow, if I were their parents I would take away their driving privileges.” Not long after, word came back over the radio that we were going to have to stop rolling because there was an accident on the highway up ahead. The worst nightmare for those kids’ parents had just become reality.
I was pretty far back in the line and we were told by those up ahead to stay in our trucks. The first responders had been contacted and the snow removal equipment drivers who were clearing the roads for us halted their work in order to help with the injured people. The CB was still buzzing with speculations, and I listened and waited until the state police started moving our lane of traffic down the road and out of the way of the emergency units.
When it was my turn to roll slowly past the accident, I saw the little black pickup upside down in the median. The rescue units were helping those that were hurt near the pickup, but several blanket covered bodies were scattered across the icy cold road. The authorities were waiting for the coroner to arrive. One of the victims was very close to the zipper line between the two lanes, and we were forced to slowly pass. That vision will never leave my thoughts as long as I live on this earth.
Even though my children are all grown up now, I let them all know about what I saw and how it affected me. During the holidays when people are more apt to drink and drive or travel out of town, I am reminded that people don’t always make the best decisions. A fun time can sometimes lead to tragedy for yourself or others, especially when not all parties are thinking responsibly. Drivers young and old, BE CAREFUL out there. Play it smart and watch out for one another when getting on the road. That way, we all can enjoy many more great times together.