I’ve never been a big fan of my 50-mile-one-way commute to work. It’s worse as we are subject to Daylight Saving Time and the skies now begin darkening at 4:30 p.m. The darkness makes my commute home so much fun on the windy and fast four lane HWY 71, which has no divide, is painted with deer blood and fluorescent spray paint lines that mark the mishaps.
I was in the far right lane. The truck two vehicles in front of me slammed on its brakes, slowed, and then kept driving. The car in front of me slowed slightly and kept driving. I was safely behind both vehicles and then saw the thing that caused the truck to brake. I swerved into the left lane and as I drove by the point of impact I saw what looked like a German Shepherd, spinning lifelessly on its right side. Spinning and spinning.
I was sitting at the light at the 290 & 71 intersection. An early model red Celica stopped behind me. The car had a boom boom stereo. I thought, “Who the hell listens to boom boom this early?” I looked in my mirror and took notice of the driver, a guy who looked like Drew from Office Space. The O-face guy.
The light turned green. I chose the left lane to get me through Oak Hill on 71. The red Celica followed. Traffic was heavy. Both westbound lanes were zooming at 40-50 mph in the 35 mph zone. After a mile or so, the car in front of me signaled left and started to brake as it was going to turn in to a business parking lot. The car rolled to a stop and was waiting for a pause in the oncoming eastbound traffic. I stopped. The red Celica stopped. The old minivan stopped. The new minivan didn’t stop. The new minivan ran into the back of the old minivan, shoved it into the left eastbound lane and sideswiped the red Celica. The car in front of me turned in to the parking lot. The van missed my truck’s left side by inches. It pulled back in to the left westbound lane in front of me just in time as eastbounders were coming again. This all transpired in 4.3 seconds. I witnessed the wreck because I had a gut feeling it would happen. I heard everything. I should have stayed as a witness. I didn’t stay because I was confident that the wreck didn’t warrant severe injuries. I steered right, drove off in the right lane and looked in my mirror to see the doors of the three involved cars open.