It was Saturday night, and it was raining.
Diana and I were on our way home from a rare night out to eat at a sit-down restaurant. We stopped by Target to buy a digital camera, partly paid for by a gift card Diana’s mother had sent to us. All in all, an enjoyable evening.
We had just got onto Highway 17 Bypass from Harrelson Boulevard. I moved over into the far left lane, as is my custom. I misjudged, due to the rain, I suppose, and got a little to close to the median. Diana blurted out something, and I jerked the wheel to avoid going off the road.
That is when the car got out of my control.
I tried to stay in the left lane, but the car kept skidding over to the right. The more I kept trying to hold everything together, the more the car seemed to get away from me. I believe Diana was saying, “Charlie, Charlie…” over and over. I do not remember what I was saying, but there were probably more than a few curse words coming out of my mouth. Then the car started to spin.
There seemed to be nothing I could do. I’m sure there is some protocol for getting out of that situation, but I do not know what it is, and even if I did, I probably would have forgotten it anyway. At this point, I realized that we were spinning to the right, towards a wooded area. I seem to recall seeing a pole, or at least thinking that we were probably getting close to one. It is amazing how many thoughts can go through your head in a situation like this, almost all at the same time.
Diana was grabbing my leg and yelling, “Charlie!” I had my head down, and started screaming, like a running yell. I was getting ready to hit that pole, or a tree. I knew it was going to happen. At the same time I was thinking something along the lines of This is it I was also thinking This is like a rollercoaster.
Fortunately for us, we slid off the road, down into a ditch and into an erosion barrier us by construction crews. We also ran over a small orange barrel as we went off the road. The point where we skidded off the road was about ten feet from a pole.
The most dramatic part was behind us. We were okay and the car was okay, except for a slightly messed up license plate. Diana had her cell phone, so we called my parents to get a phone number for a tow truck. Police arrived, of course, as did a fire truck and an ambulance. I had just bought some new shoes earlier that day, and got mud all over them when I had to get out of the car. We eventually got pulled out. Then we went home, got settled, and went to bed. We prayed to God for protecting us and watching over us, and fell asleep soon after.
It is scarier to recall and reflect on the situation now than it was to actually be in the situation, because it happened so fast. What is really amazing was there were no other cars around us when we went off the road. It really could have been a whole lot worse.