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Life & Lyrics- “Wreck on the Highway”

Published on March 18, 2014, by in LeeLee Blogs.

Coming home at the end of the working day

On a deserted stretch of a county two-lane

When I came upon a wreck on the highway

Bruce Springsteen


It wasn’t exactly the end of the working day but instead, the end of a weekend visit with my family in Jersey.

It wasn’t a deserted stretch but it was definitely a county two-lane…9W in New York in fact.

And, unfortunately I witnessed a wreck on the highway.

Wreck on the Highway

Wreck on the Highway

It all happened around 3:30pm on Sunday afternoon, March 16th.  I know the exact time frame because the clock popped up on my cell phone just moments before….of course,  I was in the middle of a conversation with my friend Jodi (a fellow Bruce Bud) about upcoming Springsteen concerts when the wreck happened before my very eyes.  Go figure…it’s so crazy how many events in my life somehow always link to Springsteen.

When I came upon a wreck on the highway

All of a sudden…I experienced 15 seconds that were scary, shocking, and surreal.  Was I watching a scene on a movie set? Or did time actually stop for a brief moment? Thank God Tom’s reflexes were sharp and thank God the brakes on his Yukon worked! He rapidly slammed on them as we (Tom, the 3 boys, and myself) watched two cars drive into each other.  It all happened just 50 yards ahead of us on a county two lane road.  I had never witnessed a head-on collision before and never want to again! It was loud…the cars slammed into each other (it almost looked intentional but obviously, it was not intentional at all)…after the loud smash…both cars spun around.  Awful…just awful.  Both cars involved looked like 2 compressed beer cans.

Wreck on the Highway

Wreck on the Highway

My next vision was of a deployed airbag and a man…the driver of the red car.  His head was tilted over. I honestly thought he was dead.  Meanwhile, Jodi was still chatting away and my cell phone was still attached to my ear.  However, I wasn’t processing anything she was saying…rather, my jaw completely dropped… and my mind…well, that went into a bit of a state of shock.  Somehow I remained calm and remember telling Jodi…”ummm…I just watched a head-on crash…I’ve got to call you back.”

When I came upon a wreck on the highway

Tom and I got out of our car and ran right into the crash scene….even with wreckage and glass all over the place!  We screamed to other witnesses (bicyclists and a woman outside of her home)…”Call 911…Call 911.”  As I approached the vehicles,  I did the sign of the cross and  just kept thinking, “Oh God please…I hope children aren’t involved.”  What can I tell you? It’s the Catholic in me and it’s the mother in me!

Fortunately, several bicyclists who were also at the scene joined Tom and I as we tried to assist all the people involved in the wreck.  4 adults in all.  Although they were all in serious pain and in shock, they were able to speak to us.  They seemed alert and aware of what had just happened.  You can imagine how relived I was when Tom told me that Nelson, the driver of the red car, was responsive. Amen!

Several firefighters, ambulance, and police crews from area towns reported to the scene.  Since the drivers were trapped in their cars, they had to break off doors and cut through windshields to get everyone out.  It was a serious head-on collision! All four involved were quickly taken to area hospitals.

Investigators at the scene asked Tom and I for witness statements. We didn’t mind adding another hour to our trip home so we stuck around.  It was the right thing to do…to help others in need and to help with the investigation.

I’m still rather perplexed as to why on earth both cars crossed the dividing line and slammed into each other.  But that’s not up to me to figure out.  I’ll leave it to police officials, insurance agents, and personal injury lawyers.

When I came upon a wreck on the highway….

While waiting for the authorities to take statements, Tom took some snap shots then we both spoke to the boys about safety and accidents. I must confess something else crossed my mind.  Some may think the idea and thought is rather inappropriate so I apologize in advance. However, at least I have the guts to admit what I was thinking…

I looked at Tom and the boys and said, “well, now I can write Wreck on the Highway.”

Bottom line…there’s always a story and there’s always a Bruce lyric to help tell that story.

I prayed for all those involved in the wreck today.  I hope they’re better and wish them a speedy recovery.


Lee Lee

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