May 21, 2009

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

My boys are in Scouts. Tonight we had what they call Court of Honor where they receive all their awards for the last 6 months.

My boys had three rank advances this 6 months, which was a lot of work. They went from Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class and now are First Class. They'll be doing volunteer work, taking on a leadership position inside the Troop, and earning another Eagle Merit Badge to try to get their next promotion, Star.

They're working hard, they're enjoying it, and I hope they keep the motivation. My eldest is going to ask to be in the Color Guard to play the drums. That will get him more service hours as well.

Summer camp is coming where they'll earn five more Merit Badges in their path to attain Eagle Scout. This summer they help their first Life Scout with his Eagle project.

On our way home it was so very dark and rainy. I live out in the sticks, the road to my neighborhood long dark and desolate on a normal evening, add the bad weather and it's even darker and feels even more remote.

Off in the distance I saw sparks coming from one of the lightpoles on the right side of the road, as if some sort of generator were attached to it and blew.

I immediately moved to the left lane, not understanding, having a difficult time seeing, realizing there could be more to the situation. I said to Ringo, "I'm driving. You watch over there and tell me what you see..."

I had to slow down anyway as cars around me were breaking quickly. I was nervous as Ringo watched and said, "Mom. A car hit that pole."

"How bad is it? I can't look. I'm driving..., " I replied.

"I think that pole is in the middle of his car. Is that a Ferrarri? It's a sports car. He hit hard...," came his answer.

And even though it was dark and rainy, without taking my eyes off the road, I flipped open my phone and called 911 so they could dispatch the emergency vehicles. I was evidently the first person who had called.

I wonder what dispatch thinks when people call. I said something like this, "There has been a single car accident on Lake Hwy, just West of Bee Hwy. A car hit a light pole. It appears he hit from behind, spun into it, but I can't tell as it's dark and rainy. I did not stop as other cars had. I could not determine if there were fatalities from my vantage point and given the weather, but from what I did see, it's serious."

She said, "Is the pole coming down?"

I replied, "No. It's a cement pole. The car probably took the brunt. Every light is out now, however as they appear to be lit in series."

And she said thank you and that was that.

What a mess. I keep checking my local paper on line to see if there is any information. It's only been an hour... but I want to know if they're OK.

And I wonder what everyone else did. Cars were stopping, it was rainy, the pole was sparking... I just saw it as a potential for all sorts of additional bad. The quicker the rescue crews got out there the better...

Posted by Boudicca at May 21, 2009 10:24 PM

I was at the doctor's office last month, waiting for an appointment. They had one of the news channels on and they ran a story while I sat there of 3 brothers - triplets - who were awarded Eagle Scout together. I had meant to blog it - but of course forgot all about it by the time I got home because I didn't email myself a reminder. It was a great story though and it might be the first time that has happened.

Good idea to call 911. You never know. Sometimes they get a flurry of calls other times everyone thinks someone else called. Better to be the "extra" caller than to find out 15-30 minutes later that no one else called at all!

I hope the driver is okay.

Posted by: Teresa at May 22, 2009 09:40 AM

Check and see if you have a local scanner feed in your area, like We have several feeds here in the metro Atlanta area and the forums are usually pretty good at reporting local going-ons that haven't hit the mainstream news. I once even got a chronically reckless driver on my work route busted by providing his vehicle description in the law enforcement forum. A few days later, local cop started monitoring that area and I was treated to the gorgeous site of jerkwad's vehicle bathed in pretty blue lights off the side of the road.

Posted by: diamond dave at May 22, 2009 10:56 AM

I tried to call in a wreck on I-95 last year and couldn't get through to 911, so I hung up. I was impressed when shortly after getting home, the dispatchers called to be sure I was OK. They knew about the wreck, but were afraid my failed attempt to call was because "I" was hurt and had passed out or something.

Posted by: George at May 22, 2009 02:34 PM

Streetlights aren't connected "in series" -- they just have a fuse that blows whenever there's a fault on the line. And that indicates the real problem. The power outage was apparently the result of a downed power line (hence the sparks you saw), so before the fuse blew there was the danger of electrocution.

Posted by: Bob at May 23, 2009 10:06 AM

Bob- I noticed the next morning that they were street lights and power lines... same pole. I didn't remember the power lines as most of our lines are underground, but this was an old section.

He hit, I saw sparks, the lights went out. The one light went out and then, POOF, the road was bathed in darkness. It was very eerie.

He's lucky he didn't get electrocuted.

Posted by: Bou at May 23, 2009 12:44 PM