I was watching a Disney movie with my grandchildren this past Saturday when my cell phone began blowing up with text messages, Facebook messages and phone calls coming in. I knew immediately that something was very wrong.
As I got up off the couch to catch one of the incoming calls, I had a sense of fear in my heart. As I answered the phone, it was one of my friends asking me if I knew about a crash involving a limousine at a major intersection nearby. I did not. As I read the various text messages, they read, "Limo crash at Rosedale Highway and Coffee Road" and "Limo rear-ended on Rosedale Highway." I told my wife and grandkids that I had to leave right away and I might not be back for a while because something happened at work.
More disturbing to me was the fact that I knew our son was out driving a limo and that's why his kids were at our house. When we picked them up from their house earlier in the day, daddy's limo was in the driveway so I didn't want to upset them without knowing what I was dealing with.
I knew it would take at least 10 minutes of travel time to arrive at the scene. The whole time I was driving, my heart was beating like crazy. My belly was filled with anxiety and I had that sick feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when bad things have happened. The longer I drove, the more my phone continued to blow up with reports coming in about this limo accident. I reassured myself that IF it was one of my chauffeurs that he would have radioed in the collision and as a matter of protocol my on-duty dispatcher would be calling me. I also reminded myself that if it was our son involved, my wife would be immediately notified by the fire department where she works as a supervisor of the 911 center. None of those calls had come.
As I neared the intersection but stuck in traffic, I could see four fire engines, three ambulances and about a dozen police cars. I knew this was bad, whatever it was. As I finally got parallel to the westbound crash from the eastbound lanes, I could see it was an eight-car pile-up with the limo firmly wedged in the middle. I could see the tailgate of the SUV limo had been completely penetrated by the vehicle that struck it. Passengers of all of the vehicles were lined up on the curb being treated. I was thrilled to learn it was not one of our vehicles. At the same time, I was sympathetic to the operator involved. He's a brother in the industry and I've been there and done that crash thing.
I immediately called our dispatcher and requested any high occupancy vehicle we had to proceed to the crash site to pick up any stranded passengers. I then called the operator of the crashed vehicle to let him know I was sending help and there would be no charge. The goal was to get the non-injured passengers off a state highway as rapidly as possible and I thought the the two-car operator might be in trouble. Fortunately, he did not need my services and no one was seriously injured.
I've learned that good will with law enforcement goes a very long way.
It's not only the most wonderful time of the year, but also one of the most dangerous.
Series: How to handle difficult run-ins with law enforcement over a limousine.
Driving Gem: Plenty of things unrelated to phones can result in accidents.
Driving Gem: Lifting and handling luggage is never good for the back.