My eyes searched the darkness ahead, desperately attempting to focus on anything which might shed light on what had just happened.Â My head was now stinging from what must have been shattered glass mixed with blood, running down my face.Â My ears were still ringing from the impact of the two vehicles.Â I now realized that the oncoming car must have been on the wrong side of the median â€“ in my northbound lane â€“ instead of on the other side of the median in the southbound lane as it had first appeared.Â Â Oh, yes, that portion of US 41 was on a curve.Â I remembered thinking, â€œWhat should I do?Â Okay, Iâ€™ll just wait, someone will find me.Â Surely someone will come.â€
Finally, a sound, â€œMâ€™amâ€¦Mâ€™am.â€Â The voice sounded like it was coming from somewhere in the distance, though I was quickly aware of someone standing next to my car.Â I turned my head to see a light shining in through the side window, and then I noticed the person had a uniform on.
He kept repeating, â€œMâ€™amâ€¦Mâ€™am.â€
Next, I wondered how he had found me so quickly, which only confused me for a few seconds.Â I was beginning to realize he was speaking to me.Â â€œYes.â€ I was able to mutter.
â€œDo you know what happened?â€ he said.
I tried to focus.Â â€œUmmmmâ€¦I think I fell asleep.â€Â My mind raced as I tried to recall the events leading up to the impact.Â The next words I heard him say would stay with me for a very long time.
â€œWell, mâ€™am, youâ€™re going to be in a lot of trouble for killing that girl.â€Â Â My stomach sank. What had I done?
Before I could really wrap my mind around what the trooper had said, I noticed another sound very close by.Â â€œWhirrrr, whirrr, buzzzzzâ€¦â€ The sound sliced through my thoughts and I realized it was a motor.Â It sounded like a lawnmower.Â Â My door started to creak and squeal and screech like metal on metal as it was slowly pried open by the Jaws of Life.
I was grateful to hear words coming from a different man, who was operating that machine.Â I remember him saying, â€œWhere does it hurt?” I didnâ€™t realize yet that I was not able to move my arms or my legs and I used my tongue to point to the only place I was able and I said, â€œMy lip is split.â€Â I kept repeating this as if it was the most important discovery I had made that night.
He asked, â€œDoes it hurt anywhere else?â€
Looking back, it must have seemed a really silly response due to the enormity of injuries I sustained that night.
The paramedic cut my shoulder harness and my lap belt, and then he called for another guy to come help him pull me out of the vehicle.
â€œGrab her legs and donâ€™t drop them.â€ He added.Â The second they started to pull me from my seat, I screamed in agony as now everything hurt.Â The pain washed over me like a huge title wave.
It seemed like an eternity passed before they got me to the gurney.Â Just inches short though, the second paramedic dropped my legs and another, much larger wave of pain overcame me.Â Slowly, thankfully, the pain subsided as shock took over.Â I would remain awake and coherent the entire ride to the hospital.