John and I were roommates for one year in college. We were sophomores, and we shared a passion for folk music. Our favorite group was The Kingston Trio.
John had a girlfriend in Charlotte, NC, and when he found out that the Trio was going to perform there, he asked her to get us tickets. Were we ever excited!
On the appointed Saturday of the concert, the two of us drove up to Charlotte from our college in Greenville, SC (a distance of about 100 miles) in John's beat-up Ford Falcon. We immediately started looking for a cheap motel room. That accomplished, we then made our way to the concert, where we were mesmerized by the great Kingston Trio.
The concert ended around 11:00, and we were ready for bed. As we drove the unfamiliar streets of Charlotte in the dark, obviously lost as we searched for our motel unsuccessfully, we decided to consult a map that I had.
While John drove the streets in the dark, I turned on the inside light of his car. The light inside the car blinded him, but he told me it was OK, that he could still see well enough. Bad mistake.
At the corner of 7th and Hawthorne, John ran a red stop light and T-boned a Yellow Cab at 40 MPH. The impact of that collision propelled us into another lane, where we were struck broadside by another Yellow Cab coming in the opposite direction (What are the odds of hitting TWO Yellow Cabs going in opposite directions at one intersection?)
My head went through the windshield a split second before my body was ejected from the vehicle (Cars did not have seat belts back then). I don't remember the crash at all. The first thing I remembered was a foggy, ethereal, floating sensation of bare consciousness. I didn't know what had happened. Then a numb sensation in my brain, followed by a warm, salty, sticky wetness drooling from my mouth and eye. Slowly I began to regain consciousness.
My thoughts began to form---Been in a wreck......thrown from the car......blood all over me......I can't let myself die here like this!!!!
I struggled to my feet, very unsteady. By now, a crowd was forming. We had crashed in front of a bar, and the patrons poured (pardon the pun) outside to investigate the loud collision. People ran to help me. An ambulance arrived. The police cordoned off the intersection. I was taken to the hospital where I was told I had a concussion and informed that only by God's grace was I still alive. Hundreds of tiny bits of windshield glass covered my body. My scalp had to be vaccuumed. My right eye suffered a large cut just below my eyebrow and I was stitched up.
---John was not even scratched in the wreck
---John's Ford Falcon and both Yellow Cabs were totaled
---One of the Yellow Cabs was transporting a pregnant passenger and she was injured, but baby and mother eventually were fine
---The next morning, John and I went to see his totaled car in the police lot where it had been taken. It was a crumpled mess, with a hole in the windshield where my head had struck it. Dozens of blond (mine) hairs were imbedded in the cracked glass
---A police officer was kind enough to pay John's fine for him and transport us to our motel. He told John that if he did not get reimbursed, he knew where to find him. John wasted no time in making sure the officer was repaid
---The next day, our fraternity brothers came to pick us up and drove us back to school
---I have never forgotten this terrible incident, and I often wonder why God kept someone like me alive when so many others have perished in similar incidents. I hope I have not disappointed Him too much. Thanks be to God.