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Roger's Sailing in a Strange Boat Blog
Thursday, October 07, 2004
  Hello. I am back. I had a very nice time on my trip.
What I witnessed yesterday afternoon, about 40 miles north of Laredo is haunting me...

I called my friend Steve, about 2:00 yesterday afternoon while I was cruising down I-35 at about 78 mph. What I saw in front of me was unbelievable. About a half-mile in front of me, an SUV went in to the left lane (as if to pass), and then it lurched from side to side, it then went back and forth across the lanes, on 2 wheels at times, & then rolled over & landed in the northbound lanes. I told Steve what had happened & hung up & I called 911. After the call was finished, I ran over to the vehicle, making sure that everyone was OK. They were all in shock (obviously). There was a man in the front passenger seat (he had his arm in a sling) & an older woman & a little girl in the back. It didn't make sense to me...Who was driving...I kept asking them who was driving, then the man pointed out to the median & I saw someone laying out there. I ran over there...She was dead. I just looked at her (I didn't check for a pulse), I didn't see her chest moving & her eyes were open and fixed... There was so much debris (bags, clothes) all over the median, I grabbed a towel (I think), or it may have been a shirt & put it over her face. I went back to the SUV & tried to get a door open. All 4 of the doors were sealed up from the accident. The man started to become more lucid, and was asking me how she was...I told him I was sorry & I shook my head. By this time, there were about 4 or 5 people that had stopped to help. I asked him if I could call anyone for him & he had me call someone & once they answered, I gave him the phone so he could use it. All of this was at 2:08, yesterday afternoon. Some Border Patrol Agents arrived about 20 minutes later, they took the little girl back to their vehicle, and the man & the older woman were still stuck inside the wrecked SUV. The Border Patrol agents could not open the doors either.

What I didn't know, was that the woman who was thrown from the car was 7 months pregnant...I don't know what I could have done differently...

About 40 minutes after the accident, EMTs arrived...Right about then, one of the Border Patrol agents says "she's going to sleep on us". The woman in the back seat was passing out, but we still could not get the door open. A flat-bed wrecker truck was there & tried using chains & a hook to open the door, all that did was rip pieces of the door off. Eventually they had collected 2 or 3 pry-bars & went to work on the door &amp;amp; got it open. They pulled her out to the ground & gave her CPR & oxygen...But it was no use, she was dead too...

Now for the worst part...How do I get my cell phone back...I saw the man in the SUV still had it in his hand. I came up to him & said "I'm sorry, so, so sorry. I don't even know what to say here..." I just looked at him for was maybe 10 seconds and then said "Is it alright if I take my phone back?" He handed the phone to me. I feel so crappy for doing that, what a petty thing...

The LaSalle County Deputy who was there asked me a few questions about what I saw. He told me that it looked like the vehicle rolled twice (I told him I saw it roll just once...). Then the DPS (Highway Patrol) officer arrived, he asked me to fill out a statement. After I was finished, he looked it over & make sure that everything was OK on it & he looked the scene over & he told me that I was right, it did just roll once, he showed me the spots in the grass where the vehicle had hit. The woman who had been thrown from the vehicle almost had to have died instantly. It could not have been more than 3 minutes (4 at the tops) from when the accident happened, to when I got to her.

I felt so terribly useless, I have told myself that there's nothing that I could have done to save anyone's life.

Anyway, I am still pretty shaken up over this...

Here is the Laredo Morning Times Online story about it. Although I almost wish that I didn't know so much about it...

I am going to try to update my Blog later, maybe include some happier things from my trip...

Be good (and drive safe--this means you, Janelle)
 
Gringo in South Texas; Observations, Wildlife, Life

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