Pedestrian Accident

On Feb 3 of this year my mom, sister and I were in a car accident. My mom was driving, I was in the passenger seat and my sister was in the back behind the driver's seat (both my sister & I are 26). We'd just left shopping outlets and pulled onto the highway in the lane closest to the median. There were 2 lanes to our right and it was dark. The highway was fenced in and dark--it was 8 at night and no streetlights line the freeway.

I was hooking up the iPod preparing to having a dorky singalong with my sister like we'd had on the way to the outlets, which are 1/2 an hour from the town I live in. Some of my memory is fuzzy and other parts crystal clear of what happened next. My mom made a sound that made me look up, just in time to see a large shadow in front of me. The impact was only a moment and I don't remember anything except what went through my mind during that time. My brain was trying to process what we had hit. I thought it was a pole, a tree, or something that had fallen off a utelity truck--which I knew was impossible since we were doing everything right and the only time we left the road was when my mom pulled the car over. The impact felt like an intense stop on a roller coaster--I didn't feel the seatbelt, I didn't feel the pain in my knee from hitting the dashboard, just a feeling like someone pushed my entire chest. I opened my eyes and saw a shattered windshield that looked like someone had dropped a bowling ball down the center of it. The rearview mirror was gone.

Then my mother started screaming. "Oh, my God! I think I hit a person! I HIT A PERSON!" A man had stepped out from the darkness of the middle lane in front of our car. He had never looked up, didn't try to raise his hands. Just stepped in front of our car.

The three of us immediately pulled our cell phones out to call 9-1-1. In less than two minutes a cop car had pulled onto the median and my sister, who works for the Sheriff's office for our home county, went to meet him. My mom had seen the man when he stepped in front of the car, just a moment, just long enough to brace herself against the wheel because there was no time to swerve and no way to avoid him. My sister was there when the officer checked his pulse, she saw him lying on the ground. I never saw him but the images are in my head just the same.

Most of the details from that night are stuck in my head and replay like a bad record I can't shut off. I remember telling my mom, over and over, "It's not your fault! It's not your fault!" There was nothing else to say and I couldn't get myself to shut up. I remember my mom's shakey, panicked voice when my sister walked back from meeting the office and she asked, "Is he dead?" My sister simple said, "Yes," and my mom's cries changed to "Oh, my God. I killed a person."

My dad had gone to bed and I remember dialing his cell phone and the house until he answered--my sister had called my aunt that lives a few streets over and her pounding on the front door woke him enough to grab the phone. He thought he heard teenagers screaming. Instead, it was me yelling at him in the answering machine to pick up, standing in the middle of the freeway. It was chilling to hear part of it when my played the messages back the next day, before she hit "delete" in the middle of it.

There was glass everywhere--the windshield almost completely shattered. The medics said because my mom and I both wear glasses it probably saved our eyesight, but it took a while to spit the glass out of our mouths. I had to crawl over the middle console to get out because my door was facing the highway, embedding glass in my knee because I wasn't paying attention, I just wanted out of the car. A piece didn't come out for two weeks.

I don't remember the actual act of my knee hitting the dashboard, but it hurt afterwards. The effects from that didn't appear for two weeks and I've had it looked at since. They took me into an ambulence so I could take my pants off--there was so much glass in my pants they didn't want me to sit and cut myself. The back of the ambulence was facing the Sheriff's car that pulled up behind us and until they covered the window for modesty's sake, I just looked at the black shape laying on the ground in front of the Sheriff's headlights and the yellow sheet they pulled out to cover him with.

The first two weeks were the worst--it was living hell. I couldn't get away from the screams, I constantly felt the impact in my chest and I was terrified to sleep because I was having nightmares I didn't remember. The accident happened on a Wednesday and I took the next two days off work. That Thursday night my mom & I were watching television and watched CSI, which is a normal show to watch in our house. It turned out to be about a girl who had gotten hit by a car. The only time I had cried was when my dad walked into my hospital room but that night I broke down in what my mom described as "sounds of grief."

I've been to counseling and my sister's going, my mom's counseling hasn't yet worked out (the therapist she had spoken with on the phone forgot to schedule her in after giving my mom an appointment time, so we're currently looking for a new one for her) but this is a tough situation. We haven't lost anyone we know, but we're still grieving. For what? I don't exactly know sometimes. I just know I'm not me anymore, I'm someone else, and I haven't figured out who this new person is yet. I miss the old, happy me, the me I was before the accident. Right now I'm just going through the motions, just fuctioning for the sake of things I have to do instead of enjoying anything. I'm just coping. Week 3 after the accident arrived and I turned numb to a lot of what I was feeling and am still relatively numb to this day.

I've been Googling a lot--his name, reading his obituary, and looking to see if I can find a support group (either online or off) for people with this certain kind of trauma. Most of the grief and trauma support is for people who have lost someone they love and we know very little about this man other than we were there when he decided to end his life, transferring his suffering to us.

So much went right, and I'm trying to focus on the positive more. There was little traffic in a high-traffic area, our car didn't swerve, and the man went over the car instead of into it. We were all wearing our seatbelts and the airbags didn't deploy (the cops said there wasn't enough pressure put on the bumper to set them off, and I'm grateful because it allowed my mom to keep control of the car and to see through her broken windshield enough to find the side of the road). My family is safe but so much has been broken in the process. I haven't forgiven the man for what he did to my family, I'm still so angry at him for not thinking about how he would effect someone else by his actions.

titancia titancia
26-30, F
8 Responses Mar 16, 2010

Titancia, I hope you see this post. I too had a similar incident but the person I struck lived. When i read your story i could say word for word your same feelings that i still have that have gotten even worse. How are you coping now & could you give insight or encourage ment that time can heel it? thanks Randy.

I know accidents are not foreseen and can happen with anyone. It is also very horrible feeling to see an accident but a good feeling when you see the injured didn't get too much hurt in accident. I pray for your life and good luck for the future.

This must have been a terrible experience, and i wish no one get to experience such things. Many a times, it becomes difficult to avoid an accident and it turns out to be pretty bad and have a very strong impact on our lives and the way we see things after such tragic accidents, I too lost my mom last april in a car accident and i haven't been able to recover completely, such things need time. Time heals everything.<br />

Thank you all for the encouraging words. I am the driver of the car, titancia's mom. This must have been difficult to write, but titancia, you did a terrific job! We share so many of the same emotions, but I wish you and your sister didn't have to. I couldn't imagine that we would become even closer than we already were, so I'm grabbing this blessing and running with it!<br />
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For those who commented, thank you. It's been six months since the accident and we are all coming along. The passing of time has been a good thing, and through counseling, prayers, and understanding people like yourselves, we are healing. Each word of encouragement helps us move a little closer to peace of mind. To those of you dealing with your own tragedy, my heart sincerely goes out to you.<br />
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cb1706, I'm so sorry something similar happened to you, and while you had your children with you, horrific is the only word that comes to mind. I want you to know that I understand; sometimes it lightens the burden just knowing someone else out there does.<br />
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newhopehealth, JohnL1963 and Titan007, thank you for such helpful advice on how to move through the healing process. I read somewhere that there are always blessings to be found in even the most dire of circumstances, the biggest for us is that we lived. We are determined to live it well by reclaiming our happiness and finding the joy of simply being.

This story was very hard for me to read because i like you mother had a car full of my children when i was invovled in accident that left the pedestrain dead. As a mom i cant express the worries I have for my children and as a human being with a heart i cant express how much mine breaks when i think of the life that was lost.....Take good care of yourself and each other.

This is a horrific tragedy! I hope you and your mom are alright. This must have decimated your mother.<br />
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When you experience a traumatic event you are experiencing all kinds of negative emotions.<br />
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These negative emotions are part of the memory of the event. What has taken place back in those moments has long since stop. It is now history. It no longer exists. Yet the memory of what took place feels very real and for many when this happens to them it is real! They are re-experiencing all of those trapped negative emotions attached to the memories of what took place. It is these trapped emotions that cause the problems. If you remove the negative emotions from the memories they have no affect on you. They now have no power over your life, so you get your life back.<br />
You don't have to live with this!<br />
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You may find that the emotional/psychological trauma that you experienced from this doesn't go away on it's own. If it doesn't talk to me, I get rid of the emotional/psychological trauma that people experience.<br />
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Be well,<br /><br />
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"You can't change history, but you can change the future!"

I am truly sorry for the life experience you have had to endure. What you are going through it not uncommon, but remember the most imprtant thing about this. YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN ALL THIS. I would like to say it will get better over time. The experience of your incident is still fresh. I myelf just past a year this January on the event that has had a profound effect on my life. Some days good, some days not. <br />
Though the incident was not your fault you still feel a level of responsibility in the whole event. You run scenarios of 'what ifs'. What if you did this versus that.<br />
One item that helps me through each day is believing that this incident was for a purpose. My search is now to determine what that purpose is. I hope your mom is OK, as well as your entire family who share in this event. <br />
I hope is some way this helps you.

I know accidents are so horrible. there is loud noise, what's going on doesn't make sense, all we see are broken pieces. No one should have t go thru this. it's none of ur fault. I am really happy that you and your family survived. it will take years to forget that nightmare. get yourself involved in something. read good books, watch nice movies, enter a good relationship. it will help you forget it. life is a gift. please take care of yourself.