On the Accident Scene

Last Thursday we were running errands. We were barely two miles from our house when we came upon the scene of an accident. There was a jeep that had run off the road right into a tree. There was a guy standing there, and I stopped to ask him if he was ok. He said he had called 911, but the lady was still in the jeep.

I immediately pulled over, told the children to stay put, and ran back to the jeep. The guy was standing back from the car, but when I looked in, there was a woman on her side, scrunched down, half under the steering wheel (which is why I hadn’t seen her when I first pulled up).


She had not been wearing her seat belt, but the air bag had exploded.

I immediately climbed half in the car and started talking to her and holding her hands and rubbing her hair. She was having difficulty breathing and her leg was obviously broken (the foot was at a 90 degree angle). She was at a very awkward angle and was trying to climb out, so I was supporting her head and upper body while trying to get her to remain calm.

I found out her name was Pam, and I got her daughter’s name and phone number as well. By this time, a neighbor had arrived and she called her daughter. I got a brief medical history (she was not very healthy) and asked her if she remembered the impact. She told me that she had blacked out before hitting the tree and she didn’t remember if she was speeding.

She was really struggling to breathe and kept telling me she was dying. I kept her as calm as I could (assuring her she was not dying) as we waited for the first emergency responder. Best guess it took 8-10 minutes for the first EMT to arrive (although it felt like an hour).

When he got there, I had to step back. At that point, I just kept talking to Pam and was running and fetching stuff for the EMT guy. He did a quick assessment, and then he had me help him try to get the jeep top off. They were going to need to stabilize her in the jeep before getting her out.
We weren’t able to get the top off (the impact had jammed it), but when I was trying, a little teddy bear fell out of the visor.

Shortly after this, more emergency workers started arriving. Pam’s daughter arrived as well, and I tried to comfort her. People kept asking me if I was a nurse, I told them, “No, I just have 8 children.”

It took them almost a full hour to extract her from the jeep. They had a helicopter come in to fly her to the local trauma hospital. The helicopter landed about 20 feet from our vehicle (where the children still were). They got to watch it land and take off. (The only cool part about the whole thing).

Once Pam was on the way to the hospital, I spoke with the police officers, and then we left. I was too shaken up to run errands, so we went home.

On the way home, we passed the teddy bear lying in the middle of the road. It must have fallen out when they towed the jeep. We turned around and picked it up.

I called the hospital and found out that Pam had arrived, but they didn’t have any other information. When I called again that evening, they told me she was not in the hospital. I asked if that meant she had passed away, and the ER lady told me there had only been one fatality and it was not a female.

I have no idea where Pam is or how she is doing. She was so banged up that I have trouble believing she was released after 8 hours. Transferred maybe?

I called her daughter and left a message, but I haven’t heard back, and I don’t want to call again. But I’m very anxious to find out how she is. And I would really like to return the teddy bear.

As stressful as the whole situation was, I am so thankful that I was there. I think the worst thing about being in pain, is if you have to endure it alone. At least I didn’t leave her alone.




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  • Dee

    You did a good thing. Maybe the towing company or police can give you an idea where to find her to return the bear?

  • PJ Jonas

    Thanks, Dee. I’m keeping an eye on the obituaries pages in the paper. If she doesn’t appear there, I’ll try to call her daughter again in a bit. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try your suggestions.