On the way home from church today in Laurel, my son Nigel and I were on I-59 heading south when I noticed a car coming very fast towards me from behind. I swerved onto the shoulder, almost into the median. The car went between me and the car next to me, and continued at a very fast pace. I was going almost 80 mph, so the car, a silver Honda, must have been going at least 100 mph. Soon after that, maybe 10 or 20 seconds later, I saw a cloud of dust, smoke, brake lights and debris flying towards me. I immediately pulled onto the shoulder and came to a stop.
I told Nigel to stay in the car, and I ran towards the smoke. When I got to the Honda, it was already on fire. The driver was out, screaming and crying. Although it looked like a man, it turned out to be a heavyset black woman in baggy clothes. She was yelling and fighting with a couple other people who had also stopped to help. Within a few moments, a couple of the passersby had her pinned to another car with her arms behind her in a double hammer lock. She was yelling and screaming, “why didn’t I die?!?”
I walked over to the burning Honda, and started looking through the windows to see if there was anyone else in the vehicle. The other passersby started yelling, “get back, it could explode,” but I continued to look to make certain no one was still in the car.
The Honda had hit a small Mazda, and the two cars had spun out of control onto the grassy shoulder and they rested some 20 to 50 feet off the roadway. The Honda was engulfed in flames. I called 911, and as I was talking to the operator, I asked other motorists for a fire extinguisher. By the time someone found a fire extinguisher, the Honda was completely engulfed.
Inside the Mazda, a 40-something white woman was laying in the driver’s side seat with the airbag deployed. She was in pain, but was talking to the other people who had stopped.
Within minutes the police arrived, followed by three fire trucks. In the end, the driver of the Honda had hit three or four cars, and the police handcuffed her and put her in the back of the police car. She was hysterical.
To make matters more confusing, about half of the witnesses still thought that the woman was a man, which totally confused the police. They took my driver’s license information and my phone number. To Nigel’s credit, he stayed put in the car. He even made a friend by talking to a boy in another car.