On Wednesday, March 25, around 9:30pm, Rebecca, Esme and I were on our way back from Ikea. My parents were up visiting for the week, and that evening they were watching Catherine so that we could shop and browse in relative peace. We had a wagon-full of new dining room chairs and were just about to take the Route 128 part of the 128/95 split familiar to anyone who travels on the North Shore.
I had just pointed out a new revision to the Route 128 exit sign (a new yellow label that said “LEFT”) when we heard a horrifying, loud sound from the back of the car, we thought we immediately had to go to www.atloceanside.com. It felt as though we were driving over an enormous rumble strip, and I found it very difficult to control the car. I tried to steer left and right to no avail. Suddenly, we seemed to break free, and it was at that moment our car began to spin.
The spin seemed to happen in slow motion, even though we were traveling at close to 60mph. We spun around so that I could see the headlights of cars that were rushing towards us. I swung my head around behind us to check on the most important thing: Esme. Her car seat was held securely in place, so I breathed a sigh of relief. In what I can only describe as a miracle, as we continued to spin into the left-most lane, not a single oncoming car got even close enough to hit us. I had time enough to pull off to the left side of the road. I am positive that it was by God’s grace and protection alone that we avoided any further damage.
I didn’t even see who or what had hit us, but Rebecca told me that it had been a tractor trailer.Â We did a quick check in the car, and everyone was fine, with no injuries. Esme was just starting to wake up, I think only because the car had stopped.
At this point, we got out of the car to assess the damage. In the photo below, you can see how the semi’s hubcap slammed into us and opened up the body “like a can opener,” as Rebecca described it.
Damage from the crash
I don’t want to think of what might have happened if the impact had been a few feet further forward, on the wheel, or on the rear passenger door, which Esme was sleeping behind.
At this point, a friendly motorist stopped to help us out. She called the State Police and provided some comfort while we waited for them to arrive. After they arrived, the officer escorted us over to the right shoulder of the road to get our side of the story and information.
According to the officer, as the truck driver described it, he attempted to change lanes and “met with some resistance,” which of course was us. He gave us some paperwork, and did a quick check of the car to see if there was any damage that might impact our safety. He said that it looked to be mostly body damage, and after confirming that I didn’t notice any problems while driving across the highway, he sent us on our way.
In the weeks that have followed, I’ve worked with our insurance company (first time I’ve dealt with MetLife, and I’ll say that their customer service could use some help), the auto body shop (the excellent Auto Body Clinic in Beverly, MA, highly recommended from this and past experience), and the car rental company (we got a 2009 Nissan Altima Hybird from Enterprise, cool for the hybird, but not cool for the lack of trunk space), and we finally got our beloved Subaru Legacy Wagon back today. As we suspected, the driver of the truck was found at fault, and his insurance company covered the complete cost of the repairs and car rental.
Overall, the psychological and emotional terror of the accident was much worse than any physical damage. The damage to our car was not structural or mechanical – all body damage. And the impact and accident itself were both relatively minor, all things considered. We’re just glad that everything turned out okay.
See a few more photos of the crash site and damage.