The snow was mostly cleared from the roads, but the sun had already set. The highway looked dry as my Trailblazer rumbled eastbound in the moonlight on I-70 last Thursday evening. It had been a hectic day and a frustrating week. I was looking forward to wrestling with the weight machines at the “Y” and sitting in the steam room for a while. Linda said she’d hold dinner for me until I got home.
Taking the southbound exit at Earth City Expressway, I gave no thought to the weather and entered the turn a little high, intending to slighly accelerate as I got into the straightaway. I never got to the straightaway.
The policewoman later called it “black-ice,” meaning that it was ice that had little glare or discoloration and wasn’t easily seen. All I know is that the ‘Blazer left the road at probably 50mph, went down one snow-covered embankment, up the next, over the circular on-ramp, then down into the big-circle area of the cloverleaf. Re-freezing snow on highway grass has just about zero traction, so the 400-feet or so that I traveled with the anti-locks full-on made straight tracks in the snow. Thankfully, I hit nothing of substance on the way, so there was no air-bag trauma, and no friendly OnStar operator. But I do remember looking straight out the windshield and seeing the moon directly ahead of me (it would have actually been at about a 40-degree above the horizon at that time) and I remember feeling like I dropped 10-feet or so. A passerby who stopped to help later said I was “airborne” going over the second road, but she seemed as startled and adrenalined as I felt.
It was a bit surreal as the ‘Blazer came to rest. I glanced at the instruments – engine still running, ABS light is on, heat from the blowers, radio still playing quietly in the background. After a mental inventory of no broken bones, no blood, no real pain, I cautiously opened the driver’s door and stepped into the snow. It didn’t look too bad in the moonlight, let’s look around it. About half-way around the ‘Blazer, it occurred to me. “I am ALIVE and this could have been much worse. Who cares about the truck!”
A mental “thank you” to whatever angel protected me, and I got onto the business at hand. Find the cell phone, call the right
folks, talk to the concerned citizen running up to me, and say another “thanks” to that angel. By this time, the police have arrived and are protecting the scene, towtruck is on the way, and I notice that its pretty cold out here. The rest of the evening is devoted to tow-trucks and getting home and call or hugging all the good people in my life. And one more thanks to that angel.
Its now Monday – the aspirin and whirlpool seemed to have worked their magic on most of the muscle pain. TrailBlazer is sitting in the driveway a bit pushed-over and is waiting for a verdict from the insurance adjuster. I’m driving a Jeep courtesy of Enterprize leasing, and life is sorta back to normal.
Somehow, I have a feeling that I might owe some payback to that angel.