Sunday, February 22, 2009

15 Passenger Van Looses Control Towing A Trailer








Yesterday a van from Hobe Sound Bible College, pulling a small trailer, left the campus and headed up I-95. The plan was to drive to a Youth Convention in Pennsylvania. In the van were siblings Paul and Julia Stetler, school secretary Karen Hoffman (graduated last year) and two students - Luke Brinkman and Ally Lavy. Luke and Ally are in the picture up above, these pictures are from Karen Hoffman's Facebook.

About sixteen miles down the road part of the tread seperated from a rear tire. This is quote from the school receptionist on her Facebook page.... "Paul Stetler was driving and there was traffic all around but they crossed 3 lines (I'm assuming she meant lanes not lines. Just to be clear this was all on their side of the road, this was not in the oncoming traffic.) of traffic without hitting anyone, completely turned around and went off the road on a strip of land that 2 weeks ago had been cleared of trees. When the van turned on its side, all the windows on the driver's side broke out and Ally Lavy went out the window and rolled away from the van. Julia had her back against that big window when it blew so her back is sore, but she was checked at the hospital and OK. The van rolled twice and landed right side up! The tire was still inflated; just minus the tread. The trailer came loose sometime in the process. Paul had a pillow in his lap and with that and hanging onto the steering wheel, he managed to stay in the seat with no injury. The trouper said that all wrecks of this kind result in serious injuries and usually body bags! This was truly a miracle. They all looked like chimney sweeps, because that strip of land was all loose dirt from the recent clearing of the trees. I saw Paul before he got his shower. It would have been funny, but none of us felt like laughing!"

From what I understand, when the van rolled the first time Ally landed right in the spot where the broken out window was and as the van rolled away it left her laying there in the dirt/sand. Thankfully it wasn't on the road as that could have had a much more serious result!

I have heard several times that Paul felt that the weight of the trailer kept them from rolling more than twice and that also contributed to fewer injuries. The only other thing I heard that was different from the account above was that Julia's back was hurting so much because as the van rolled she landed on her back against the wheel well inside the van but I do not know which thing caused her back to hurt .

To have five adults in that bad of an accident and everyone can get up and walk around (and four able to just go home) is just amazing - only one even needed to go to the hospital and she is doing much better today (she was not admitted but was only in the ER). From what I understand the police on the scene were amazed. You can see that most of the windows of the van are completely gone - the van was totaled.

I have often thought about the incredible number of miles that are logged every year for traveling for the school, clear back to when I was a little girl, and there has never been one serious injury as a result of an accident. I know each and every trip there are those praying for safety for those traveling and I believe once again God protected this group too. It was also a blessing that it happened so close by so everyone could get back quickly and safely and a blessing it didn't happen when they hit the icy/snowy roads up north.

I'm sure each of them are very thankful to be waking up this morning alive and healthy (although I'm sure they are a bit more sore today) and I'm sure there are parents, siblings, family and friends here and elsewhere who are thanking God for protecting their loved ones.

Traveling mercies - I don't ever want to take them for granted!

1 comment:

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