I believe that I was in second grade when I was hit and ran over by a Suburban SUV. At the time I was riding my bike to/from school and home which was a few miles away. I had to ride and maneuver my bike through fairly dangerous conditions and intersections to get to school. To this day it is still unclear to me as to why I was not being offered rides to and from school by my step-father Chris. My step-father worked from home and we lived fairly close to my school so he did have the chance to volunteer to get me to school safely. However, no one really cared about my safety as long as I got to school on time.
And so I rode my bike to and from school starting in the second grade. I’m unsure how old I was at that time but I remember being cold in the mornings in particular. I attended a private school where pre-determined plaid uniforms were mandatory and I found the outfits to be chilly as well as itchy. I could never seem to get warm enough in those plaid uniforms. I remember being scolded about how expensive the uniforms were and I felt really bad that my parents had to spend so much money on clothes that I hated. I was not a fan of wearing the uniforms to say the least but uniforms were a requirement of the school. Therefore I was wearing a uniform on the day that I was hit and ran over.
The details of the accident are as follows; I was riding my bike home from school so the time must have been anywhere from 1:30 to 4:30 in the afternoon. I was beginning to cross the crosswalk in a busy intersection close to a mall. A woman in a dark navy blue Suburban SUV approached me on my left side to make a right turn as if she did not notice me. Suddenly I felt the Suburban tap my left shoulder and that is the exact moment when I thought to myself that I must “get the license plate number”. I do not know why that was my first gut reaction. Second to my primary reaction to being hit my life slowly “flashed” before my eyes as I was knocked to the ground by the approaching Suburban. I began to scream.
I remember pain… A lot of pain as the front right wheel of the Suburban ran over both of my lower legs. Although I was laying on the ground by this point I was still positioned on the bike and the bike frame was crushed around my legs as the Suburban drove over both the bike and my legs. The Suburban stopped before running me over with the back tires. The lady driving the Suburban said that she was not even aware that she had hit me until she heard me screaming and by then I was already crushed under the SUV.
That was the first time I can think of that I remember my life flashing before my eyes. That part really happened and it seemed slow, as if I had a long life to play in front of me. After I was completely underneath the Suburban the car behind her started to honk their horn to alert her to the accident. The driver of the car put their flashers on behind the Suburban and got out of the car. I only saw that the driver had stopped traffic in the busy intersection and me from under the Suburban. The bike frame was deformed around my legs and my school uniform was completely demolished. I never got the opportunity to say thank you to the person who pulled me from under the Suburban that day, so if you are reading this, thank you!
The next moment I realized that an EMT was frantically working on cutting my clothes off so that he could easily free me from the crushed bike frame. I was mortified and completely humiliated! My gut reaction was to yell at the EMT that my “step-father will be so mad at me!”. I am unsure why I believed that Chris, my step-father would be angry at me for the damaged clothes, but at the time it seemed very rational to think so. I was whisked to the hospital protesting in nothing more than my undergarments. It was quite revealing and embarrassing to have my clothes cut from my body in the middle of a busy intersection, even at such a young age. At the time I cared nothing for the pain that I was enduring but I was quite preoccupied with the worry that I would be punished for ruining my school uniform. Apparently this behavior alerted the medical personnel to “speak in private” with both my mother and step-father. What they said there, I will never know.
I don’t remember my hospital stay at all but I do remember that my legs were miraculously not broken. However, they both had clearly been ran over as there were large Suburban track marks running across both of my calves. The doctors were surprised to inform me and my family that my legs and feet were simply deeply bruised but not broken. They were so bruised that I was not able to walk on my own for a few months. I remember this challenge being particularly difficult because my classroom was at the top of an old church tower and there was no elevator at the time to get up there. If I remember right, I crawled up the stairs to get to my classes because there was no possible way for me to walk up the stairs on my own two feet. The rest of the time I was given a wheel chair to sit in. I believe it took about 3 months for my legs to feel healthy enough to walk on my own again.
I hadn’t really viewed this event as extremely traumatic until recently. I see that the accident did in fact have a profound effect on me both physically and psychologically. For a moment that day I believed that I was going to die and it certainly was traumatic for a girl of my age.
I am curious if this accident has impacted my life in more ways that I am still unaware of and yet to find out? Only time can tell.