Friday, August 24, 2012

Rip It

I accelerated up the I-95 North ramp in Woodbridge. At 12:02 a.m. I merged just as a police car flashed its lights and got inches behind the car ahead of it. The front car quickly changed lanes and the cop zoomed out of site.

I had just attended Friday night Temple services for the engagement blessing of my friends DWT and BBQ, and afterward a small group of us had chatted at a diner over coffee and milkshakes. Then I drove DWT and BBQ back to Arlington.

Auto accident leads to fatality on Interstate 95 north around Woodbridge, VA
A minute late
At 12:03 a.m. I pushed hard on the brake. The speedy cop had turned horizontal in the middle of the interstate and blocked all the lanes. I was about the fourth car back. DWT and I opened the windows to feel the cool air and drizzle. The police officer was walking around with a Maglite in search, expressionless.

A fire truck pulled up to my left. We eavesdropped as the police officer approached and shouted to the fireman, “We’ve got body parts back here!”

“Where?” the fireman said.

“Everywhere! Legs are over there,” he said pointing to the interstate shoulder off to my right.
Looking for tissue

Within minutes ambulances and police cars swarmed all around, but the nucleus was in front. Officers and others walked around searching for something. Some of the stopped drivers and passengers, mostly teenagers, walked closer to the scene. After the rain picked up and just before we rolled up our windows, a younger girl walked past and said to her boyfriend, “Take me back to the car, I want to go back to the car.”

DWT told me a story of his friend who was servicing his car on the shoulder when he was struck by a car. “Since then, I never pull off to the shoulder. Too many crazy drivers.”

DWT told me about his time in the military, and how some Marines would hoard the best flavors of Rip It, the contracted energy drink. “The yellow flavor was disgusting,” DWT said.

I could’ve gone for some Rip It (the red flavor, not yellow) because we were stopped for over an hour. We couldn’t understand the delay given that, at the least, the left lanes seemed clear up ahead. Finally, they let cars crawl through a designated path on the left shoulder.

The rain pounded my windshield. My wipers were set to the highest level. There was too much congestion at the nucleus for me to see, but once past the emergency vehicles we observed the red debris scattered across the pavement for the next hundred feet. It was human flesh.

I finally got to bed at 2:30 a.m..

The accident was on the news over the following days. An intoxicated 19-year-old girl struck—or rather, shredded—a man who was standing next to his parked car on the shoulder. She sped away from her crime and was arrested in Maryland.

Before leaving the diner earlier, we had waited for another friend to use the restroom before saying goodbye and leaving. “It makes me wonder what would have happened if we hadn’t waited for him,” BBQ said.

I don’t bother dwelling on such thoughts. However, I do plan on getting an ample supply of red Rip It for alertness, just in case.