date was Feb. 10, 1992, and a cold rain was falling. I was traveling east
on Highway 50 four miles west of Peabody where I resided.
the time, Highway 50 had no shoulders and ditches that quickly dropped off to
nothing. Although I am missing the next 2.5 days, the police report states
that I swerved into the opposite lane because I encountered a vehicle traveling
west in my lane.
18-year-old driver from Chicago, who was driving a stolen vehicle, swerved back
and we collided head on. The police determined I was traveling 61 mph and
the 18-year-old was traveling 73 mph. There were no skid marks.
being extracted from my small Mazda truck that took over an hour, I was
airlifted to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. The doctors found that I
had gashes in my forehead, elbow and chin that required stitches. The third and
fourth vertebrae's in my neck were cracked, my nose was broken and my septum
was deviated - injuries that eventually required a separate surgery. My left
collar bone was broken, my large intestine was ruptured along with my spleen
and appendix, requiring exploratory surgery. Numerous bumps, bruises, cuts and
scrapes; and, two months later, they found that my right leg had been
horrific accident was caused by an impaired driver. Yet, the toxicology
report on the18-year-old driver came back clean. So, how could he have
been impaired? He was sleepy!! He was tired!! Yes, being
sleepy and tired are impairments when driving any type of vehicle.
18-year-old, who was not wearing a seat belt, was killed at the scene when he
was thrown through the windshield. Can you imagine his parents getting the
news that their son had been killed in an automobile accident in
Kansas? They may not have even known he had left the Chicago
had my seat belt on. Although, it caused my broken collar bone and
internal injuries, I have no doubt that it saved my life. Remember,
however, that the year was 1992 and seat belts were not required to be
worn. I never wore my seat belt and the buckle was under the seat. So
how did it get on? I know what I believe - I will, however, let you draw
your own conclusion.
Ray Savage is retired from the Peabody-Burns School District and lives in Peabody.