Amidst the dust from airbags, shattered glass and the smell of fuel and oil, I turned around and will be forever grateful that I saw my 2 older children looking right at me, bodies fully intact, and heard the sound of my infant son crying, signaling that he was also alive.
Thursday, Feb.19, 2009, at 6:50 p.m., my three children and I were hit, head-on, by an alleged repeat drunk driver on Summer Street in Hingham.
It is estimated that he was traveling at a speed double the posted 35 mph when he lost control of his vehicle, crossed the center dividing lines and smashed into us as we were on our way home (heading West towards Hingham) from Grammy’s house in Hull.
The accident occurred in a split-second and I am so thankful everyday that I had my seatbelt on, the kids were properly buckled into theirs, and that I was paying 100 percent attention to the road. I was able to react and turn my wheel to the left causing the impact to occur primarily in my front passenger seat and passenger side, saving our lives. That was the one seat in the car that was not occupied at the time of the crash.
As soon as I saw his headlights come up over the crest near Button Cove Road, I remember thinking, "He is going to kill somebody.” By the Grace of God, and properly fastened safety devices, he did not. I couldn’t believe we had all survived.
Amidst the dust from airbags, shattered glass and the smell of fuel and oil, I turned around and will be forever grateful that I saw my two older children looking right at me, bodies fully intact, and heard the sound of my infant son crying, signaling that he was also alive.
My two and 3-year-olds were wearing five-point harnesses and had latch systems securing their car seats. My infant son was in a rear-facing infant seat with a tight five-point harness and latch system as well. All three children were seated in the back two rows of our vehicle.
My two older children and I had bruising from the airbags and from our seatbelts. A few days after the accident, as the bruises became more prominent; I couldn’t help but stare at them, on all of us, and think over and over again that seatbelts really do save lives.
Today, it is still extremely difficult for me to think about, write about or talk about this accident without reliving the feelings of fear, anger, relief and gratitude that have encompassed my heart and soul each day following this accident. My motivation for sharing this story is the knowledge that, perhaps, if others hear of the importance of seatbelts, properly installed car seats, and always watching the road, someone else’s family could also be saved from a tragic ending.
Sgt. Steven Dearth has said to me, in the days following the crash, that we cannot control what others will do on our roadways, we can only protect ourselves. This rings so true to me today. Please remember to always wear your seatbelts, always fasten your children properly into theirs and always drive safely.
I hope that no other mother has to go through the experience of coming so close to losing a child. And I hope that no other father has to get a phone call that his entire family has been in a crash with an alleged drunk driver … but, if he does, I also hope the next thing he hears is “… and everyone is OK."
Life is precious and far too fragile not to follow precautions every single time we get behind the wheel.”