891 deaths last year from car accidents, 1 is way too many
That was what the ADOT overhead sign said, or at least that’s what I remembered. I began to look back and thank god that my family is still with me after my brother and mother had gotten into two separate accidents, exactly one month apart. It was the hardest period of my life.
My lead and I were finally on our way back home, we had worked 12 hours and just wanted to get back to the shop as quickly as possible. I always tune out and listen to my own music on the rides from stop to stop, and back to shop I play whatever relaxes me the most so I can sleep til we get there. But I couldn’t after seeing that ADOT sign.
I found us at a red light off the 202 and red mountain. I wasn’t sure why we were there but I just kept listening to music. I look up to see the light turn green, only to notice a red blur past less than a yard in front of us and stop at the corner of my eye, something had launched out. The sound was loud enough to pierce through the max volume of my earphones to my heart and caused me to simply yell “FUCK FUCK FUCK”. I had already knew what happened; I turned my head to the right, only a couple inches. A red car was there, not even regognizable as the roof shredded completely off from going under the turning signs (you know the ones that have the red arrows pointing forward.). I yelled to my lead Ruben to dial 911, only because my hands weren’t able to find the dial screen on my iPhone. Somehow I managed to call while I jumped out of the truck in front of traffic.
As the dust settled I could smell the spilling of gasoline and hear the cars engine running at an idle rev.. Still, I ran up to the car only to stop, paralyzed when I noticed no one was in the car anymore and a child seat. I froze up and watched as other witnesses jump the gates and down the hill to search for whoever was in the car. What kind of fucking man am I? Here I am, trying to save a life only to freeze up when it matters most. I don’t know if that person was still alive, or died from the shear impact from going what seemed like sixty-to-nought in less than 10 feet. But if I could have done ANYTHING, I wanted to but I mentally couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even process the words to tell the 911 operater exactly where we were at, I had to pass my phone to a man who was struggling to dial the phone himself. He managed to do what I felt was impossible for me to do.
The operater oddly asked for who’s phone it was and number, as if they didn’t have caller ID or a monitor that had all my information. The man had said “oh, this isn’t my phone, this kid gave his phone to me so I could talk” and of course and he had ask me for my name and what number I dialed from. I don’t remember how the phone was hung up.
I do remember the office showing up on his bike. I could hear the gulp of dispare as he looked at the car. I know he wished he wasn’t the first to be on the scene. My lead crawled back through the gates and walked towards the truck, he said “lets go, there is nothing we can do here. He’s dead”. I didn’t want to leave, I felt like I could have still done something to redeem myself for being such a coward.. Then he told me “you didn’t see the him? the body was coming out from under the hood”…
My heart sunk further than it was just a second ago.
I slowly got back into the truck saying “you’re right, let’s go.we’re still on the clock”. I buckled up as tightly as I could, put on whatever music that could possibly erase my mind of the current situation. I kept my calm while driving back to shop as couple red and blue lights passed by us. I had a solid poker face the whole time while clocking out and speaking to my supervisor about coming to work tomorrow morning.
my mother picked me up from work, as always. I knew as soon as I sat in the car I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I broke down in front of her. I couldn’t and still can’t believe how weak of a human being I am. I didn’t do a damn thing. if that person was my loved one, I’d want the first person there to do something. But… I couldn’t.
This isn’t even the first time I’ve seen a person die. But this is the first time I’ve seen a life disappear in front of me like this. No apparent reason. No outside evils such as murder or drugs. Just, gone. I can’t wrap my head around it still.