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  • Yesterday was the crash. I can't believe I survived, let alone escaped without any broken bones or concussion. We were almost back to LSC, on I-91 right before Exit 22, and suddenly we stared hydroplaning, first to the right into the road, then an over corrected left that sent us barreling down the embankment on the side of the highway. All I can remember is my mom shouting “Oh my god, we're hydroplaning! Okay, okay, okay!!” and then as we left the road, head down, arms up in fists, jaw clenched, feeling completely helpless as the car bashed around, not knowing if we were upside down or not, not knowing if I was about to die, just hearing “rumble rumble SMASH rumble rumble SMASH” and waiting for “the impact” that I knew was coming… but it… didn't. The rumbles and smashing just stopped. I opened my eyes and immediately said “I'm okay, I'm okay”, before mom even had a chance to ask us. The first thing I noticed was the taste and smell of the airbag gas… disgusting, chemically, and yes, I could clearly taste it too. But I didn't know what it was, at first, so my thoughts immediately went to “GET OUT”. Within seconds I realized our orientation–the car resting on my side, the passenger side, and Mom was trying to open her door, but couldn't lift it directly upwards. I realized I had my iPhone still in my hand and remember being astounded that it was still intact and on. Looking around for an exit, I suddenly saw it–Pete climbing through the popped-out rear window of the hatch, completely unaided. “Mom! Pete's getting out! Pete's getting out through the back!” “He is?! Okay, okay, where…” Pete probably crawled over the seat, but the orientation of the car confused me so I spent a precious minute struggling to pull down the back seat so I could follow him, though I don't think I had to. I crawled out on my stomach and mom followed soon after, scrambling up the wet, muddy hill to the side of the road. The car was steaming for a while but soon stopped. Two giant pieces of trim (which I now know to be the plastic lower front fascia and the front bumper) lay behind the car in the ditch, the only things fully visible in front of the thick vegetation the car was resting in. The three of us stood there for a while, cold and shivering like a homeless family, making sure each other was okay, counting our blessings, removing a piece of glass from Pete's ear. Only two cars stopped nearby, and neither made it to us. The St. Johnsbury police, apparently right around the corner, showed up nearly immediately and barely got us into the back of a Ford Explorer police car before moving us to an ambulance that showed up, where sat motionless for a good half hour as they took our vitals and asked legal refusal questions. Eventually, the young cop in a crown Vic drove us to the LSC campus where we all stayed for an hour or two before dad showed up and took us to the wrecking yard to see the car. It was horrific, seeing that thing. The car was beyond totaled. Almost everything we retrieved was smashed, damp and muddy from sitting in the river-like ditch for hours before letting us see the car again. I will never forget this.
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