Saturday, March 7, 2009




A few years in the late 1970's I drove a dump truck (sober, OK?). In Florida at that time was a mandatory annual inspection for all motor vehicles. I took my truck in for inspection, and it always passed with colors, especially the air brakes which behaved and performed perfectly. It occurred to me the reason they worked fine: because the truck bed was empty during inspections.

Filled with 12-ton of gravel, sand, or wet limerock, it was all I could do to get the rig to slow down, much less stop. I had to plan my stopping far in advance. One year I had 7 accidents. One of the times I could not stop, SIX stopped cars in front of me all got demolished--Bam-bam-bam-bam-bam-bam! And my truck drove away undamaged. The fact was, those brakes would not stop under a load. (There is more to this story...another time.)

Around the same time I was a member of a jury panel in a manslaughter case. A motorcyclist had been run down by a dump truck, which had possible brake failure. (The insurance companies wanted me on the jury, thinking I would be favorable to their defending case.) They didn't know me--didn't ask enough questions. Didn't ask the right questions!

Part of the trial evidence was brain matter, and other body-part material found under the wheel wells, and embedded into the tire tread. It was a pretty gory scene with lots of evidence, both pictorial and actual. I've never forgotten. One of the jurors even became ill from viewing evidence and a substitute was called up.

SKIP to thirty years later--this morning--and I'm wondering who EVER checks the brakes on a truck carrying a top-heavy load of many ton of slowly-rolling, mixing, wet concrete?

On my bike, riding from meetings to mass this morning, I narrowly escaped becoming one more Florida Highway fatality statistic. A concrete mixer came shooting through a red light at an intersection through which I had already started (on green). I had instant recall of that long-ago trial. In this morning's heart-stressing moment I almost had to lay my bike down...or be instantly killed.

I did not wish to be the subject of that kind of courtroom litigation, especially were it MY brain material clinging to the underside of truck wheel wells. Flex (my Guardian Angel) was there (I KNOW that! --NO grin.) and the incident was a 'personal' warning for more caution on my part, to "Ride Safe!"

I no longer fear death, but I am certainly not afraid to live either--in fact, I quite prefer it.

I hope Prayer Girl doesn't read this one--she'll 'ground' me! On a cold day WHERE, you say?

(Still sober, and ever so glad to be with you all today!)
In love and service,
Steve E.


Hope said...

I am glad you are home safe and sound! Dearest one drove truck for many years, many close calls.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you are OK. Really really glad.

vicariousrising said...

I'm glad Flex took care of you. He'd have me to answer to otherwise. ;)

RipGurl said...

Whoa! That is so scary. Looks like the angels were looking after you today. Thank God!

Shadow said...

oh man, i'm so glad you're okay. flex deserves a hug!

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

YAY Flex and God for keeping you safe and protected!

He definitely does for us what we cannot do for ourselves!

(((((((((HUGS))))))))) to you

Prayer Girl said...

Sometimes I have to pray 'before' I read hubby's blog. Just often enough, some 'brush with death' is described.

I gave up perms in my hair a couple of years ago, but on occasion with a blog like this - it makes my hair curl again. :)

I'll pray.

Scott said...

glad you're ok bro... man what a story... I know a gal who was messed up for life when a cement mixer ran a red light and hit her...

way to be alert Steve! glad you're ok!

Selchie said...

I've very glad to hear you're safe and sound.)))) What would I do for jokes?...)
It's a good point I think and maybe one that should be brought more to public attention....?
Have a relaxing day.

Banana Girl said...

My heart is now beating so damn fast that I need to type this faster. Thank God you are with us still. Thank you for sharing this, I will a lot more alert on the defensive driving front today. J.

Cat said...

Yikes Steve I am grateful you are here to tell about it - Now - go to your room until super time!

(hehehehe! I am sorry I could not resist!)

Indigo said...

Whoa! Ok, yes be careful please! I would be greatly saddened not to see you here in these pages. You've become a valuable friend hon.

Makes me appreciate Pickles she moves in front of me if something is coming to warn me not to cross, since I can't hear it. (Hugs)Indigo

Syd said...

Whew, I'm glad that you are okay. I hope that you'll watch out for those other crazy drivers.