Saturday, June 16, 2012

Car"cass" IX - Ear Witness

I haven't done a "Carcass" series in quite a while...more out of laziness than for lack of subject matter. However, I couldn't pass on the the remains from an accident I witnessed last night.

Last night on my walk, a few minutes after seeing two consecutive cars pass by with ~2 year old girls hopping up and down in the front passenger seats on their moms laps, totally unrestrained...I heard the short squeal of a car sliding and the big boom of a big impact. The accident was not even a couple hundred yards away on the other side of the highway and immediately people were running to the scene. When I came upon it, the two cars were side by side as if they had backed into adjacent parking spots in a parking lot except they were in the middle of the road. The cars' front ends...obliterated. People were frantically trying to open a passenger door, eventually resorting to using a flag pole to pry the passenger door open and get the passenger out as the car began to burn. Bystanders were everywhere yelling and trying to get the fire out and the people out. Eventually some came running with fire extinguishers, most of which were promptly used improperly and ineffectively. I even saw a couple extinguishers being sprayed willy-nilly 20-30 ft away as the person carrying them ran toward the car. But the fire was suppressed and the passenger removed from the car.

In the confusion of the night, the lights, the yelling people everywhere, the smoke from the fire and haze of the fire extinguishers, I walked away. I got back to the apartment 10-15 minutes or so later. I was left with the following in my head and emailed my sister my basic thoughts:

How did they have such a forceful head-on wreck on a one way road in such heavy traffic when neither car was traveling the wrong direction?

The ambulance took at least 30 minutes to get there, weaving thru at least 1/2 mile of stopped dead traffic, I figured all occupants probably died, unless airbags are miracle workers (in general, only Americans and a few select other westerners wear seatbelts here).

This morning I happened to drive down that stretch of Gulf Road and noticed that the vehicles involved have been pulled over about 100 yards down and to the side of the road, but still in the same relative positions to each other. I walked down a little later and took the photos below. I also learned a little in the light of day:

This is about how the cars came to rest relative to one another but out on the road itself.

Carcass IX - Evidence Exhibit A

Looking at it's windshield, I'm still thinking the occupants of the Marquis considered themselves very skill drivers and so weren't wearing their seatbelts and probably did not survive.
Shattered Windshield - Exhibit B

The Marquis' pried open passenger door.

Pried Open Passenger Door - Exhibit C

The Marquis' deployed driver side airbag and dashboard broken in half.

Deployed Airbags - Exhibit D

The Marquis' passenger side, In the light of day, I don't think the main impact was head on...not that it explains how it happened though.
Evidence to the Contrary


The Honda Accord's airbags, both front and side-curtain were also deployed. Except for a small crack where the review mirror is attached, the windshield was intact. In retrospect, none of the panic of the people was focused on the Honda....although they may be a bit bruised up and shook up, I now believe the driver of the Honda was probably not so confident in his skill as a driver and so was wearing a seatbelt...and survived.

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