A Wreck On The Highway

Driving home on the highway from Providence tonight, after spending the day with three very cool, very funny women. I was smiling, remembering our laughter-laced conversation over dinner when I saw, on the crest of the hill, a police car, lights flashing. Great, I thought, he’s got someone pulled over.

Then I realized the police car was in the median. And traffic was slowing down. Way down.

Last night I was out driving
Coming home at the end of the working day
I was riding alone through the drizzling rain
On a deserted stretch of a county two-lane
When I came upon a wreck on the highway

I saw snow on the highway, like it had been tossed there by kids having a snowball fight. A crumpled guardrail. An ambulance, lights whirling red-white, red-white.

A small red car, crumpled. A slightly larger blue car, in the median. Sideways. More police cars.

There was blood and glass all over
And there was nobody there but me
As the rain tumbled down hard and cold
I seen a young man lying by the side of the road
He cried Mister, won’t you help me please

People and cars, huddled together, against the guardrail. A paramedic, hunched over the passenger side of the blue car.

A gurney. In the road. On it, a white sheet, covering a body.

In an instant, someone was gone.

An ambulance finally came and took him to Riverside
I watched as they drove him away
And I thought of a girlfriend or a young wife
And a state trooper knocking in the middle of the night
To say your baby died in a wreck on the highway

Maybe someone’s wife or mother.

Maybe someone’s father or husband.

A brother, a sister, a cousin. A friend.





Sometimes I sit up in the darkness
And I watch my baby as she sleeps
Then I climb in bed and I hold her tight
I just lay there awake in the middle of the night
Thinking ’bout the wreck on the highway


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Life As I Know It
    Feb 23, 2008 @ 22:59:00

    What a tragedy. The older I get the more nervous I get driving. I’ve seen too many accidents happen.Great song choice…The River is one of my favorite albums…Great post.


  2. talesofmy30s
    Feb 24, 2008 @ 09:30:00

    Yikes. Horrible.


  3. Nicole P
    Feb 24, 2008 @ 12:40:00

    Man. Those kind of reminders are unsettling. I had a great day with you all. And enjoyed giving you a tour of Trinity. You’ll have to come back so I can show you the dungeon – you’ll dig the architecture down there. My head has a humungous lump on it and my shin looks like I’ve been in a football game. LOL


  4. Fairly Odd Mother
    Feb 24, 2008 @ 13:07:00

    So sad. Great song.


  5. shuey6
    Feb 24, 2008 @ 13:23:00

    our worst fear


  6. Ree
    Feb 24, 2008 @ 19:03:00

    And when your child is a new driver, this hits so very close to home.


  7. Shannon
    Feb 25, 2008 @ 07:23:00

    Damn, I’m sorry you had to witness that after such a great day.Despite that, I hope we can get together sooner than later, again.


  8. Allison
    Feb 25, 2008 @ 12:46:00

    This is such a tragedy, but you also wrote really, really well. So I just wanted to mention that.


  9. Angewl
    Feb 26, 2008 @ 02:15:00

    I am so sorry. {{hugs}}The poor families.


  10. Kerri.
    Feb 26, 2008 @ 09:27:00

    What an awful experience. I’m sorry you had to see that.


  11. Andrea
    Feb 27, 2008 @ 14:43:00

    I hate coming up on wrecks like that. Or even hearing about them on the traffic report as I drive to and from work every day. I often wonder if it’s during rush hour if that person was just going about their normal, every-day business and then suddenly their world stopped. It takes me to scary places to think about stuff like that, and it just reminds me that I’m lucky because I drive an hour each way for work and in more than 6 years, I haven’t been caught up in anything devastating. And I pray that I never am, despite the frequency and duration which I’m in heavy traffic.I hate those wrecks. I pray for the loved ones of the person who didn’t make it and for the quick healing of anyone else involved, both physical and emotional.


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