On Friday, I went to a Christmas party in Tulsa. The investment firm handling the funds for the scholarship foundations I serve on was having an office party, and their clients were invited. They were also the ones who sent me the steaks in the mail. I guess they like me!
It was raining that day, and there was also lots of traffic on the turnpike. I've got he windshield wipers going, as in addition to the rain, other vehicles are also throwing up water off the road, making it somewhat hard to see.
As I approach the exit to Tulsa, about a mile or so back, I see something black or gray, looking like its flying in the wind, off on the side of the road. It was big, but I couldn't really tell what it was. Plus, with the conditions, I didn't have the time to stare.... I had to make sure I stayed on the road.
The highway is built up high, and the exit ramps have steep embankments. Getting on the exit ramp, I looked down the side where I thought I saw something flying. Down below, I saw a van rolling around, and another car sliding beside it. What I saw then, I guess, was the white van on its side in the air. The gray was the underside of the vehicle. A wreck! And judging from the height to which the van soared, it wasn't just a fender bender.
Looking behind me there were lots of cars and semis. Initially I thought about stopping but figured that if I slammed on the brakes, I would have caused such a pile up it would have made national news. Instead, I fumbled for my cell phone and dialed 911.
Dialing 911 was an interesting experience. It rang a few times, then someone asked me where my emergency was. Well, being that I was close to Catoosa, I said "Catoosa". Then I heard the voice say "Please hold, I will transfer you".
What? Then I heard ringing again.
It rang several times and then someone else answered. I told them there was a wreck that I wanted to report, and they promptly asked me where it was. When I said it was on the turnpike right after the Pine Street exit and before the Tulsa exit, they said "Oh, that's the Highway Patrol, please hold, I will transfer you".
What? Its a good thing no one was trying to kill me, not sure I would have lasted that long. More ringing...
At this point, I am on the road where I-44/US 412 meets SH 66. Off between the eastbound and westbound lanes was a semi truck that had somehow lost control and ended up stranded in the median. The ground was torn up, but I can't tell if there were other vehicles involved. But there were sure a lot of police, and ambulance and such.
I'm staring at the accident, phone to my ear, thinking "what is going on!?!" when a third someone else answered the second transfer. Apparently I was sent right to a Highway Patrol officer, as when I mentioned the location of the wreck, he told me he was almost there. Great!
Made it to the party without seeing any more wrecks (thankfully). On the way back, I drove the city streets as far as I could, trying to avoid the crazies on the highway. I even decided to wait in Tulsa until most of the rush hour traffic ended. In the name of safety, I had dinner at El Chico.
I'm dedicated when it comes to safety. Only wish I was as dedicated when it comes to my diet.
At El Chico, I had the apple pie after eating dinner.....