start prt2 of part 2
While I was trying to get him to understand that he should get in and crank it one of the other fellows
inside the van jumped into the front seat and cranked the van engine.I quickly reached over and disconnected the battery cable.The
motor died.That meant there was no charge coming from the 'alternator/generator'.I looked at the older man and sadly shook
my head while I hooked it back up to allow it to keep charging.He didn't seem to get it.
The next few minutes consisted of me trying to explain that even if I charge the battery he was going to use
his juice up real quick using his headlights.This meant he didn't have enough time to get to the exit or plaza to the south
since I couldn't justify leap frogging him down to the other plaza with out getting some valid method of payment laid out.His
only alternative was to try to get to a median turn that should be south of us then back north to my plaza to the north or
let me tow him since there was no way to get his low slung van across the median at this point.BUT,,if I towed him,,I could
not allow any one to ride in the van while I was towing it.I could only allow two to ride in the cab of the truck with me.
As this was going on I was trying to figure out the easiest way to get these folks off the road safely
and quickly as well as watching the traffic on both sides of the pike.That finally revealed the fact that the median turn
was only a short distance south of our position.
That made for a way.I could charge him up and he could drive down to the turn and get headed back north to
my plaza.When his battery ran down and the motor cuts off,,I could charge it again for a few minutes and thereby leap frog
him to my plaza.With them having to wait there for repair arrangements my boss wouldn't be upset at me not getting the payment
method straight first since the important thing was to get them off the road to a safe haven.
I immediately went to the radio and called dispatch for a 'u-turn' approval.After a little conversation
about the situation to fill dispatch in on my plan of action I received authorization along with the instructions to stay
behind the patrons vehicle with my beacons on untill the turn was successfully accomplished.
There followed a few minutes of pointing out the median turn around sign close enough to be plainly seeable
with the wreckers spot,,getting him to comprehend that he should turnoff all the electric stuff inside the van,crank it up,wait
for me to get the cables off and get back in the wrecker and blow the horn for the all clear to go in order for me to
stay behind him with my beacons on.He was then to wait for me to blow the horn before proceeding me to the far left lane,which
I would do after I called in to dispatch and ensured traffic was nill,I even blew the horn
during this point to make sure
he got the idea and knew the sound.After the signal he was to go the far left lane and go to the sign I shined the spot on
and turn around to head back north.I went over this more than thrice and each time it seemed he comprehended it.I do know
how to ask '?comprende' and also know that 'si' means yes.
With that done,,he and I were walking the line back to front of the van when I seen another pack approaching
so I told him to get in the van,crank it and that I would unhook the cables after he did.I figured I had enough time to do
that and get in the wrecker before the pack got to us.
He climbed in and cranked the van up.I was taking the cables off when I heard the a/c kick on and realized
I also heard music.I stopped,left the cables on, stepped to the passenger window,got the woman to roll down the window so
I could tell them 'no' a/c,'no' radio.As they slowly complied the pack got to us and it was a big one.It took enough time
to pass that I actually stood and waited before I unhooked the van and shut the hood untill it had completely passed.Even
with the motor running it was still pulling charge from the wrecker so it couldn't hurt.
After the last car from that pack passed I looked up the road and could only see a glimmer way off.I
quickly unhooked the cables,shut the hood and headed to the wrecker.As I tossed the cables in the wrecker bed rather than
stowing them,,the van pops into gear and takes off.As it does,,I hear the radio start playing loudly.
Hurriedly jumping in,throwing the wrecker into gear to try to catch up while calling dispatch I notice that
the lights were closer than anticipated for such a short interval,and there seemed to be more than just a few.
While getting onto the road and accelerating into the far left lane I told dispatch what was occuring as I
watched the van,still in the emergency lane blow by the median turn around marker at about 40mph,,hit the brakes then swerve
all the way across to the far left side of the road.
I stopped just shy of the turn access and while still talking to dispatch,,I began popping my side lights
and working my brakes to add to visibility.I could see the lights from the south bound pack in my mirrors and the hi-beams
began to glaringly reflect through and around my cab as I watched the vans 'back up' lights come on and the van began reward
progress in a weaving jerky kind of fashion,,,then the glow of the lights disappeared as the battery lost the ability
feed the lights,engine,radio and quite likely a/c as well,,about 10 feet on the other side of the turn around.
To my horror,,as the cars light beams from behind me got brighter and began doing that wavy pulsing that they
do when cars are passing from lane to lane in front of other cars behind them,the people in the van,,began piling out like
a disturbed anthill.They didn't just get out mind you,,they got out and 'spread out'.
As I heard at least one of the vehicles behind me start making the sound of wheels trying to slow down under
the influence of modern ABS,I thought to myself 'Oh,Father',,and said these words,while tensing my legs pushing the clutch
in with my left,the brake to the floor with my right and cramming myself against the seat,into the radio mike still keyed
open in my hand,,'There's about to be a,,' then there was the sound of auto body crunching into auto body,glass shattering,tires
squeeling and the lights all went all kinds of different directions turning into a veritable monochrome kalidescope.
That slowing of time perception kicked in and I glanced out to my left to watch a car sliding past my wrecker
in the soggy median followed closely by another one drifting in it's wake sort of side ways,,gradually diverging from the
path of the lead car to stop with in 10 feet of my wrecker a little to the rear of my cab door.As that occurred another car
squeeled brakes past me on the right,out of the corner of my eyes that were tracking the lead car and the left area,I got
the sense it was sideways a little.A few voices sounded off in screams as I finished my sentence with the word,,,'wreck.'
The lead car to my left stopped hard against the turnarounds harder packed surface with in feet of a woman,two
kids and a couple of young men,lifting up in the rear about 4 to 6 feet as the front end impacted the harder soil.
I looked into my rearviews and could see more lights getting swervy and could hear brakes engaging causing
tires to scream.Another car came down to the left,barely under control,,around the first car and stopped past it by about
20 feet. Many more whizzed by to the right with obvious sounds of rubber distress and rpm changes.
The group that the lead car missed by a few feet stood froze in their position as did the ones that were between
my wrecker and the van.The ones on the far side of the van in the median had began moving toward the van.Thanks to the time
dilation effect,,they didn't seem to move far very quick as the careening vehicles also seemed to take forever coming to a
rest or pass by.
As that wore off in the instant that it does,,the vehicles came to a rest with the resumption of natural surround
sound rather than the odd quality that comes with slowed time events.I could hear a couple of Mexicans talking in the same
tones as the folks in the car closest to my wrecker,,language didn't matter,,they could easily be understood as saying the
same things,,'Are you allright?','Gracias,God!' 'Thank you,Dios!'A few babies started crying and the sounds of still running
motors ceased as the two not on the turnaround cut off their engines.The lead cars had allready stopped on impact.
A few cars slowly drove past,,faces at the windows with typical,,'We were allmost in that' looks on their
faces,,and I heard dispatch say in a very stunned and concerned voice ask,,'647b-W2?,,W2?,,Roy,,are you okay?' My reply,,while
a tad breathless as the feeling of Death having brushed your cheek while passing by to remind you that He awaits your turn
with patience and sweet affectionate fondness lifted,was firm and solid while I told dispatch,,'Yeah,,No apparent injuries,three
vehicles directly involved,,patrons appear unaffected,,but let me go check'.But I wasn't too solid in the knees as I hopped
out and heard dispatch say,,'Thank God,,copy that 647b,,advise whether you need medical,,we have Troopers enroute.'
end prt 2 of part 2
( intro ) ( prt1 ) ( prt1of prt2 ) ( prt2 of prt2 ) ( prt3) ( prt4) (prt5)