Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Holiday Inn Express, Warrenton, MO

We drove from Chicago to just south of St. Louis last night on our delayed trip to KC to see DP's mama and sister. We were supposed to go on Sunday, but it was freezing and we decided to wait a day for the roads to de-ice. We had an uneventful trip to St. Charles, south of St. L, stayed with DP's aunt and cousin and a rambunctious puppy and an old doggie and set off this morning for KC.
We had only been going about 20 miles when the traffic slowed and came to a stop. We moved about 1 mile in the next hour. We saw a couple of tow trucks drive past, and decided that the first exit we came to we would get off. The Starbucks we had drunk over an hour ago was making itself known.
It turns out that everyone was getting off I-70 as they had closed the road. There were police cars and police directing traffic and we headed for the Subway for the bathroom and sustenance .It turned out there had been a horrible accident just a short distance west and it involved between 12- 14 vehicles. Two cars had collided when they slid on the ice, the drivers had pulled over, exchanged information and then a semi had ploughed into the back of one of the cars killing one of the men whose fiance was in the car, and starting a chain reaction. Apparently there were ambulances everywhere.
We found out bits and pieces as we hung out at the Subway and talked to fellow travelers. We stayed there for about two hours; the MHP was still not saying when the road would open, so we headed for Walmart where we traipsed around for an hour or so, buying things that we didn't really need and some things we did need. When we got out around 5pm the road was still not open, it was icy and raining and we decided, like many others who were stranded, not to risk the road at night as the temperature dropped.There was a fire truck in the front and we met a fireman in the elevator who was on the phone to someone and saying he was helping out the relatives of the people in the crash. Then later we saw him and he was carrying some black garbage bags and a wallet and we heard him say to his buddy: "this was in the glove compartment". So we figure some of the crash victims' relatives are staying here. It feels so sad and part of me wants to help - but I don't think they really need me and I would not even know what to do. I am good at mental health crises - not traffic accidents.
Someone's day ended today on their trip to see loved ones for the holidays. And probably this kind of thing is happening in other places in the country.
Whenever you pass an accident you slow down, ponder how you are so glad it wasn't you and then speed up again and go on your way. It's human nature I guess. Get on with it. Keep going. Onward. But for those 12- 14 carloads of people there was no driving on today.
I am a little melancholy.
Pray for the families. Think of everyone who is missing a loved one tonight.
Hold each other.


Virgil said...

Just read your blog; you seem very kind. The couple you mention are our employees at CooperRiis in North Carolina, which is a mental health therapeutic community. Ed was killed in the crash and his fiance Verna is at the Holiday Inn Express with you. We arranged for a Grief Counselor to see her and a local minister. She is in great pain and experiencing trauma. We are flying a staff member in, but I don't know when he will be able to reach her... probably after midnight.

You mention expertise with mental health crisis. If you are inclined to help Verna, please let me know.

Virgil Stucker
Executive Director
828 899 4673

Anonymous said...

damn. what a horrible, horrible accident.

i hope the rest of your travels are safe.

i'm gonna go hold my sweetie now.

KM said...

That sounds like an unbelievable accident. I am sorry that you are witness to such a horrible event. I hope that you are able to have a safe rest of your trip and wonderful christmas visit anyway.