I was at my desk at KCC at 7:30 flipping through the emails one after another. Many of them were updates from Mr. Bozman on the progress of the dorm replacement. Apparently he did not trust the contractor because he was now including a series of photographs documenting each day’s progress along with daily man hours and materials usage.
Bob Jackson came in with several different morning issues of state newspapers. There were plenty of pictures of yesterday’s county news with pictures. The fuel truck and I were in a few on the back pages, but the Feds removing the boxes of records made the front pages.
Bob said, “If you keep kicking people in high places you are soon going to need your own security detail, but I love it. They think they can do what they want and are immune. Someone is going to pay dearly for that mess. At least the girls got some fuel to keep going.”
“I wish it was over; this thing is going to get real nasty before it is,” I said.
A few minutes later I received a text from Marcy, “I have a fuel retailers license in my hand and Robbie called to say the State Ag Department was there certifying the meter. Jason says that covers all the bases and we are legal for everything.”
“Good, I was worried we had missed something,” I replied. I spent two more hours on emails and planning for next year’s security groups training.
The rest of the day was normal: meetings all afternoon. I needed normal for a while.
With the day over at KCC, I left to go home and begin another one. Things were hopping from all directions at the gym. It took three people to answer all the phones. Every news outlet on the east coast had a different angle on the commissioner’s story. Then there were terrorist theories out there.
As I made the turn at the overpass from 213 onto 301 I passed a Toyota Tundra pickup that was sitting on the shoulder. It caught my eye because it had huge tires on it and one of those roll bars behind the cab filled with lights and all full of mud from off-roading; a true redneck truck if I ever saw one.
The truck pulled out behind me; it was not that unusual any more with the aggressive enforcement of the state’s no texting and cell phone use while driving.
I was in the right lane going well over the speed limit; everybody did on this stretch of road. The Tundra passed me balls to the wall then after it got a hundred yards or so ahead, slowed down and stayed ahead of me for a mile or so.
Then as we got to an isolated area between Cville and Q-town it started running erratically like it was going to quit or the driver was jigging the accelerator. I moved over to the passing lane to pass it. Whatever was wrong with it stopped and it ran beside me.
Half way between the two towns there is a branch that floods when there are North Eastern storms or tropical storms. The dual bridges are old very old and built during the Great War when 301 was a major materials supply route to Wilmington, Philadelphia and New York. There was one for north and one for the south bound lanes.
The bridges were concrete with large concrete sides and big abutments. The normal shoulder narrowed to just the two lanes. A hundred feet from the bridge the Tundra slammed into the side of the Suburban and stayed there. It was forcing me into the concrete abutment head on. I tried to counter steer to force both vehicles to the right and through the bridge.
The heavy Suburban started to move the Tundra to the right, and then the driver turned the truck hard to the left again and forced me back onto the path of the abutment.
The old bridges still had the original guard rail system to keep cars out of the branch. Fifteen feet back from the start of the abutment there was one of those triple twisted cables that went through a series of I beams secured into concrete that stretched from bridge to bridge anchored into the abutment.
At the last instant I chose the guard rail instead of the abutment. I yanked the steering wheel to the left to miss the abutment. The driver of the Tundra must have never considered that I would do that and both trucks moved to the left.
As the wheels of my Suburban hit the grass it seemed like we picked up speed as the wheels slid; I had been hard on the brakes. The Tundra hit the abutment head on with a deafening sound as I slid towards the guard rail.
I saw the driver of the Tundra flying through the air, careening towards the other side of the branch. “No seat belt,” I thought as if it mattered. I watched as his head and body became impaled on one of the I beam posts of the guard rail on the other side, just as the Suburban hit the guard rail.
They say your life flashes before your eyes as you face death. It had happened to me several times in the sandbox when I thought the shell had my name on it as I was flying through the air from the concussion.
I saw Grandma and Grandpa Jones, also Crystal and Betty standing on the other side. They were in a haze, dressed in the purest white I had ever seen. I wondered if Jenny was pregnant and if I would ever know now. I told all of them I loved them every morning; I was glad of that now.
The Suburban hit one of the posts holding the cables. The back of the vehicle lifted as if to go end over end. Something broke and the Suburban lurched ahead as the airbags began to deploy. Something stopped the forward motion again. There were horrible metal tearing sounds and glass was flying everywhere. Then things went dark.
Edit by Alfmeister