I didn't make it very far and, thanks to call times recorded on my cell phone, I can give you an accurate timeline of my little journey.
- 10:01 a.m. Bonnie called and I told her I was leaving the house.
- 10:16 a.m. Mom called to tell me they were letting dad go home today. However, I had my phone on vibrate and didn't get the call.
- 10:16 a.m. Terry called to tell me they were letting dad go home today. See above.
- 10:17 a.m. Terry called to tell me they were letting dad go home today and for me to turn around and go home. Phone still on vibrate.
- 10:18 a.m. Terry called...yada, yada, yada
- 10:21 a.m. Bonnie called...stupid vibrating phone!
- 10:22 a.m. Bonnie called. The stupid phone was sitting on the console beside me but I couldn't see it jumping around?! Idiot!!
- 10:25 a.m. Bonnie called. At this point, they're getting a little panicky.
- 10:29 a.m. Bonnie called.
- 10:36 a.m. Bonnie called.
- 10:36 a.m. I'm driving along Interstate 10 thinking to myself, "What a nice day for a drive. This is a hell of a lot better than the stupid evacuation when it took an hour to drive three miles. Oh, man, that's a nice Lexus ... FFFFFFUUUCCCCCKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!" (Note: I literally thought, at that exact moment, about the 1 hour = 3 miles. This is important later.)
- 10:36 a.m. and 1 second Slam on brakes as traffic begins to stop right in front of me. Nearly get rearended by an 18-wheeler. Change three lanes practically all the way to the shoulder to avoid said rearending.
- 10:36 a.m. and 5 seconds Heartbeat returns to normal.
- 10:37 a.m. Called Bonnie. They are oddly happy to hear from me.
- 10:37 a.m. and 10 seconds They tell me their story (dad's being released, turn around and go home) and I tell them my story (I ain't going anywhere fast).
- 10:50 a.m. Called Bonnie and tell her I haven't moved an inch. I'm stopped at Mile Marker 823 in case they want to send a search party.
- 11:08 a.m. Called Bonnie and told her I've only moved about three feet and that they will probably be home before me even though they haven't even left Houston, yet.
- 11:12 a.m. Called Terry to tell her I made it to Mile Marker 822.
- 11:45 a.m. Finally pass the wreckage at Mile Marker 820 (Note: Traveled 3 miles in 1 hour!). It looks like a pickup truck hit a church van and the church van obviously had caught fire.
- 11:47 a.m. Find a place to turn around and head back to Beaumont. Call the family and they tell me that dad might spend the night after all depending on whether or not he can keep down some solid food.
- 11:47 and 10 seconds I tell the family that the traffic heading west on I-10 is now backed up about 10 miles and there's no way I can turn around.
- 11:47 and 15 seconds Family says absolutely do not try to go on to Houston. Go home, already!
From KFDM News:
Wreck Injures 3 Missionaries & Temporarily Closes I-10 West
Reported by Angel San Juan
May 27, 2006 - 11:35AM
Three missionaries heading to Mexico this Memorial Day weekend were hurt in a wreck Saturday morning at the 822 mile marker on Interstate 10 West, just west of Winnie. The three were inside a truck that was hauling a church van on lowboy trailer. The truck flipped, and the van which was unoccupied burst into flames. The three missionaries, who authorities believe are from South Carolina, were all injured, one was taken to Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont with serious head injuries. The accident happened at 10:06 a.m., and the westbound lanes of I-10 re-opened at around 11:50 a.m.