This is a story that happened to us in 2015, two years ago today. The backstory is Andrea and I wanted to take the kids on a cross country road trip to California. You are reading the second half of the story that I put up on my facebook page in 2015.
So I told you the story of our vacation but I did not tell you the story of how we got there. In the words of Slick Rick, “Are you all tucked in? Heeerrre we go!!” Once upon a time, not long ago….just kidding. The trip to California was supposed to include two additional family members, Aunt Helen and Sis in Law Trina. We rented an Expedition EL to accommodate six passengers and luggage but due to unforeseen circumstances, Aunt Helen and Trina had to cancel. Considering it was only the four of us (Andrea, Syd, Jeremiah and I) we decided to take our car so we cancelled the rental. Btw did I tell you we bought a Cadillac CTS? Oh man, this car is smoove!! It is “Chromaflair Grey” (looks green in the day, black at night), has the performance package, Recaro leather seats, HID headlights dual moon roof, tinted windows….you get what I’m saying, smoove!!
Before we left I was in the middle of making some mixes for the trip and my hard drive with all of my music crashed. NOOOOO!!!! I have no tunes. A DJ with no tunes is like a fat kid on a with no cake. Now the Caddy is equipped with OnStar and XM radio but I didn’t want XM because I have more music than XM could ever play. So the day before we leave I am subscribing to XM so we won’t have to listen to retarded mumble mouth rappers spoutin flex ooh ooh ooh ooh for 5,000 miles. So we loaded up the car and flexed to California ooh ooh ooh ooh. Ok that song is fiyah and my apologies to Jed Clampett.
I start the first leg of the trip and throw on the only mix I had on my phone. We are talking about different things, the trip, what we are going to see and eat. Andrea is anticipating taking tons of pictures of the Gorge, the Grand Canyon, and Arizona Mountains. The kids are thinking about swimming, eating, swimming, eating, mine craft, swimming and eating. Me, I am thinking, THANK GOD I AM ON VACATION and don’t have to hear about or fix any work related problems.
During the road trip the conversation turned to the three accidents that happened in Savannah, where the tractor trailers hit multiple cars and killed the young ladies, where the truck struck a van and killed a woman who then ran into a guy who was in his wheelchair doing a charity walk/ride and killed him. I told her of the time I was on Flat Shoals with my brother and we were hit by a guy who ran the red light. Our car flipped 5 times. Jason ejected and I went through the sunroof but was pinned in the car due to the dashboard collapsing onto my knees. I told Andrea, “We have to remember to give ourselves an exit route and always look behind us in case someone can’t stop.” Andrea is a truck driver so ya’ll know I am preaching to the choir.
About 8 hours in Andrea and I swap seats and she flips from XM old school rap to Joel Osteen radio. He is talking about Trust God to Do it His Way and then he goes into another sermon and talks about him being in a car accident. He says, I lost control of my car. I spun and was facing oncoming traffic. A tractor trailer was barreling down on me when at the last second he swerved. When it was over the driver said he felt like a wind blew him over at the last second." I listen for a little while but around 9 or so I get sleepy so I plop my Bose sound cancelling headphones on and throw a towel over my face and knock out. BAM, SCREECH, ERRRR!!!! My body is thrown forward, my neck is snapping backwards. The towel comes off my face. I am dazed. I don’t understand what’s going on. I yank my headphones off, look around, turn to Andrea and said, “What happened?” She says, “We were in a wreck!! We’ve been hit!!!” I scream, “I knew it!!! I knew this would happen!!!” All of the stories of car accidents that we talked about, Joel Osteen preaching about a car accident…that was a warning to be ready. I felt like I knew this was going to happen.
Andrea and I turned our attention to the kids. Both Sydney and Jeremiah are shaking uncontrollably and crying. I can’t reach behind me. I can’t touch Syd at all, she is directly behind me. The driver that hit us comes over and asks if we are ok? We nod yes. He says, “I couldn’t stop in time” and starts walking down the interstate waving his hands. I look back, the rear window is completely shattered, out of the frame and is sitting on the trunk AND that’s when I realize where we are!!! We are in the far left lane of the interstate. There is no emergency lane, just the median wall between the two sides of the interstate. Quite literally we are sitting ducks. We obey the car wreck rule, “You are safer in the car than standing on the interstate” and stay in the car.
The guy is waving cars off to avoid more wrecks, more cars running into the rear end of OUR car. I grab my phone and call 911. I tell them what happened and that we are totally disabled in the fast lane of the interstate with nowhere to go. “PLEASE HURRY OR WE ARE GOING TO GET KILLED!!!”
The guy who hit us is waving cars down and then I see it. A tractor trailer is barreling down on him. The driver doesn’t see him. The guy is waving his hands. At the last second the guy jumps the median to the other side of the interstate and is almost hit by cars from the other direction. The tractor trailer slams on his brakes and slides to the right of me. He stops right by my door and looks down at me. I am freaking OUT!!! I grab my phone and call 911 again. I tell them again to hurry but this time I can see an exit on the opposite end of the interstate and I am able to give them a reference point. We continue to stay in the car.
We are all scared. The kids are crying. Andrea is holding their hands and trying to calm them down. I can’t do anything. I am totally helpless. We hear more screeching tires, horns blowing. People are swerving to avoid us. Then a second tractor trailer comes and it happens all over again only this time the guy is not there waving his hands. WE are on our own. That tractor trailer swerves and misses us and then we hear more tires and a bam. Another accident happens a lane over and about 30 feet back. STILL NO COPS. Horns, screeches swerve, Horns, screeches swerve!! We are watching it unfold through the back window, our unobstructed view, and each time we tense up and prepare for the worst. This went on for what seemed like eternity. And then it happens.
A tractor trailer is coming at us. He is not slowing down. There is no one to warn him. Sydney see’s the truck coming, lets out a blood curdling scream, “DADDYYYYYY!!!!” turns towards me and looks me in the eyes. Her eyes said, “DADDY!!!! I’M GOING TO DIE!!!!!” She ducks between the back seat and my seat. She is screaming and crying. I’m staring at headlights coming straight for us. There is no escape. We are going to die. I scream, “OH GOD!!!!!!!! (Andrea said I also said) SWEET JESUS!!!!!!! and the truck moves over by inches.
At this point I can’t take it anymore. I tell Andrea I have to get out. She says, NO and Sydney screams, No Daddy noooooo!!!! I tell them if I don’t get out here and start waving these cars off we are going to be killed. I jump out of the car and start walking down the pitch black interstate, waving my phone’s light in hopes that people see me. They don’t. They are swerving at the last second but I refuse to let me family die. I walk at the cars and trucks waving my hands like a madman. Finally the police arrive and block the lanes.
The investigation shows that there is a lady in a white Toyota Corolla in front of Andrea. A car or truck ahead of the Corolla loses something off of their vehicle. It cuts the Corolla’s tire. Instead of turning on her emergency signals, and moving to the emergency lane on the right of the interstate, the lady STOPS in the fast lane of the interstate. I mean completely STOPS. Andrea being the professional driver that she is tries to go around the Corolla but traffic is thick and moving at 75-80 MPH so she has no choice but to stop directly behind the lady. She can’t move but has left at least a foot of space between the Corolla’s rear end and our front end. There is a median wall to our left and cars whizzing by on our right. There are cars swerving out of our lane and that’s when the impact happened. A grey Chevy Suburban swerves to avoid us and slams into the right side of our car. He crumples the CTS like a sardine can. His SUV’s left fender is completely crushed, the tire is torn off, he bounces off of us and the back of his truck slams into us again. He comes to a stop in front of the Corolla. And the Corolla, not a scratch on the car.
It is by the GRACE of GOD that we are still alive. It is by the GRACE of GOD that we are still alive. It is by the GRACE of GOD that WE are still ALIVE!!!! Now, I am going to be really real with you. This was a test of faith for me. I know God covers us. I am on a new path, one that I asked God for. I told Him I was ready and I submitted to His will. What I heard that night was, “You better call my name and ask for mercy or you will lose your family.” This was to build my faith in knowing that God protects us.
I also feel like had Aunt Helen and Trina been in the Expedition the accident could have been worse. People could have been killed because there is no way that guy would have been able to swerve and hit us with a right side impact. It would have been a full rear end collision. So when you look at the pictures that Andrea put up showing how much fun we had I want you to remember that on May 29th 2015 at 11:15 pm the Thomas family and Lampkin family almost became interstate statistics.