I had the craziest commute to work this morning. With No Ordinary Family fresh on my mind from last nights episode, the irony that I would witness an event like this and subsequentially act ‘heroically’ is not lost on me.
There I was merging onto I-35 headed south from the Denton area. My commute is about 15 to 20 miles and can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour depending on who or what is in the way on any given day. As I merged, coffee cup in hand, sipping slowly to avoid that burnt toungue…traffic starts to speed up. I whisper, “Thank God” thinking this will hopefully be one of those twenty minute days.
Just as I am getting onto the bridge at Lewisville Lake a car from the left lane swerves across the center lane, where I am located, and across the right lane, bursting through the concrete barrier and into the water. I had slammed on my brakes to avoid getting sideswiped and I now found myself taking deep breaths with heart pounding hard and rapidly. Did I just see what I think I saw? That kind of stuff ONLY happens in the movies, right?
I followed suit with many other lucky cars that dodged this out-of-control-truck and and moved to the emergency lane with flashers on. Still in a bit of shock, it finally hit me that a vehicle containing real people went into the water. I ran a few car lengths back almost tripping on some of the broken concrete and looked over the edge. The lake must not have been very deep by the bridge because the majority of the truck’s cabin was still above water with the front right corner submerged.
There was no movement from the truck but two passengers were easily identifiable through the shattered back window. Everyone was on their cell phones, presumably dialing 911 for help when I heard a faint moan coming from the truck. I ran what seemed like a ½ mile to the end of the bridge and went around the concrete barrier, working my way down the embankment toward the vehicle. I was not sure what I would actually do if my trek was successful but who could just sit and wait for police?
My journey ended at the waters edge and the truck was a good distance out of my reach. It was either get wet, make a running leap, or just sit on the bank like a dummy after making such efforts to get this far. I elected for a running leap. Since the truck was nose down, I tried to land on the tailgate but fell short just a bit, instead grabbing onto the tire, letting my feet plunge into the murky water. I managed to hook my left leg over the side and pulled myself into the back. Creeaaak! The truck moved as my weight added stress to the already precariously positioned vehicle. I began to think my delusions of grandeur were going to make things worse rather than better.
As quickly as the shifting began, it subsided and I regained my sense of balance. Keeping my feet to the side of the window, so as to not go through the cracked glass, I bent down and opened the sliding panel a few inches. I asked loudly if everyone was alright. A boy’s voice said, “I think I am but I don’t know about daddy. He started acting crazy on the highway and kept shaking. Then he just rolled his eyes back and went to sleep. He still won’t wake up.”
“Ok…help is on its way but here is what I want you to do. Cover your eyes so I can break out this section of glass and pull you out.”
“But what about my dad?”
“We will get him too but you are first.”
Seth, as I later found out, covered his eyes as his side of the truck began to slowly slide deeper into the muddy water. Being too short for his legs to touch the floorboard, the water had not yet started to cover him up. He and his dad were just hanging, face forward, caught by their safety belts. I put my soaked foot through the glass and managed to make a child sized hole to pull him through. The tricky part was unfastening his belt. I held onto his left arm absorbing the weight off of the device as he pushed the release button with his right hand.
Before long we were back on the bridge and rescue workers were pulling Seth’s dad out. As they finally put him on a stretcher and began loading him into an ambulance, the EMS Technician told us that it looks like this guy had a seizure of some kind. Seth ran to the ambulance just as his dad’s feet were clearing the entryway and asked, “Is he going to be ok?”
As the EMS worker grabbed the door to pull it close he said, “I don’t know son but I did save 15% on my car insurance simply by calling Gieco. A fifteen minute call could save you that much or more. Get a free rate quote, view your account and pay online.”
It is getting much harder to fool you. In fact, this probably did not get all of you. For more Gieco fun from the past click here and here.