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Nov 17, 2006

The Day After

Yesterday, on the way to afternoon kindergarten and preschool drop off we happened upon a car accident. Fresh car accident.

There were sirens behind me as I approached the scene, where there were already sirens present. All accounted for- Police, Fire, and Ambulance. (Or as my kids would say- The firefighters, policemans and paranuggets- had to throw something cute into this tale) This was our normal route, and while I had to pull over a few times to let the sirens through, I assumed we were on our way. Not so, not so.

The people were still leaping out of cars and coming from the elementary school (not ours) that was located on the corner, the paramedics were moving very fast. I did not like the looks of it. There was a car blocking the intersection and another off to the side. The gentleman in the car to the side, appeared older and was staring out at the scene, head shaking back and forth and then dropping into his hands. We waited.

I had the window down in case there were instructions from the officers. And of course I was eyeing the cars and people milling about to see if it was some one I recognize- hoping of course that I wouldn't. I noticed my neighbor, the principal of this elementary school approaching the scene, and surmised that it probably really was a school family. This was the hour for kindergarten pick up and drop off- the morning kids were on their way home and the afternoon kids just coming in.

In my head there was a lot of Oh shit, Oh shit, Oh shit.

Out my mouth was the calm mother voice to my three four year olds and two six year olds... 'Well, it looks like it is a serious accident, we need to wait our turn, just like at the drinking fountain, to go through. The firefighters and police officers want to make sure everyone is safe, so they are checking and we are going to wait. Yeah, there is a lot of people... everyone just wants to make sure the people inside the cars are ok. Well, I don't think anyone is dead honey... the paramedics are taking people to make sure they are ok- you know like when we go to the Dr. and she gives us medicine and you are better in a few days...'

It was our turn to wind our way through some side streets and make our way to school. I did not recognize the cars, did not see the occupants of the more seriously damaged car. We were a few minutes late, but all was well.

On the way home I called preschool, remembering my very verbose four year old daughter would be giving her classmates and teachers an earful- she of 'they are probably dead' comments. Sure enough, information had already been given. I gave the teacher the grown up version and we were on our way.

The intersection was still closed. This was almost an hour later, as K drop off and Preschool dropoff, while on the same campus, are 50 minutes apart.

Not good. As I approached and was pointed towards a different route, I noticed the amount of personnel on the accident scene. I asked the officer- investigation? Yes. Any fatalities? Not yet. (ughhh)

On our return to school for pick up- 2.5 hours later- I again follow my same route. No go. We wind our way around and I make the necessary calls in case we are a few minutes late. As I get to school, I apologize. Bad accident, road is still closed, no I didn't recognize anyone or any car... So sorry.

Others have encountered the same road closure and we discover that one of our school families seems to be involved in some way- they picked up their kids early, mumbling something about an accident. Hmmm... Small town... hmmm...

Sure enough- two hours later I find out. It was a mom and kindergartner we know. Our kids went to preschool together last year. They were on their way home from kindergarten. Mom was not seriously injured. The daughter was airlifted to a major hospital for a look at back and neck injuries.

The daughter is in surgery now- to stabilize her neck.

It is risky.

She does not have movement from the neck down and does not look like she will regain it.

I am not a religious person, but I am sending it out there... Positive vibes, positive energy, Please, please, please...

P.S. Yes, she was in a booster seat. And does it matter whose fault it was??? Buckle up, be careful.

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