It was my “get-er-done” day and the Parkway was insane. So like any good East Tennessee holler dweller I used the back roads to get to my hair appointment and varied destinations.
My husband and I have been working like little squirrels putting up wood in the wood shed, cleaning up piles of limbs and brush, buttoning up the place for winter. It’s been so pleasant working outside with the beautiful leaves slowly dropping from the trees.
I drove out after our morning prayer and chores. It had been dry for a couple weeks but had rained the night before.
The ride through Little Valley, Waldens Creek and Goose Gap was lovely. Coming down a long curvy decline I rounded an outside curve and headed into a tight inside curve when the truck began to slide on the wet leaves. I called out “Jesus” and tried to steer away from crossing the line.
“BAM!” A white four door was just turning up that same double curve. The truck hit them in the driver’s door panel and pushed them into the ditch, the reaction of the collision pushed the truck back into the correct lane.
I looked around, saw no other traffic, put on the flashers and headed over to see about the other car and folks.
A young man looked up at me stunned and began to pull himself out of the broken window. I asked, “Are you hurt?” He shook his head “No”, and I turned to directing traffic.
At the right time I moved the truck off the road and asked the accident questions. I was clear headed and felt no anxiety or usual shakiness that can happen after a traumatic accident.
The driver had one passenger with him. They were not talking but milling around. Finally it came out, the driver was driving with a suspended license and the car had no insurance. They talked about switching, “who was driving.”
Ok I’m a woman, alone waiting for the police and they want to pull something shady. I just nodded and suggested they keep talking it through. I was quietly thanking Jesus no one was hurt and that He had kept me.
When the officer arrived, he immediately went to the two men and began asking questions. I noticed his tone was a bit “critical parent.” I wondered if he knew these boys.
It all came out. Not only was the driver driving with a suspended license and no insurance; the license plate on the vehicle did not match the vehicle.
I had my paperwork in hand and assured the officer I was not hurt. He was very pleasant but let me know I was at fault. I agreed with him, I had crossed the line into oncoming traffic! He told me there had been two other accidents at that spot that morning.
While the officer was writing up the report I looked over at the young man, now sitting on the ground, pale and smoking a cigarette. I went over and asked him, “Do you go to church?” He shook his head “no” and said, “I’m going to jail.” He had a wife and two children. Obviously he was not making the best decisions.
I asked if I could pray for him. He agreed and I put my hand on his shoulder and prayed.
Then I told him, “When you stand before the judge, tell him you want to go to Life Changers Outreach. They will help you start making the right choices and help you become the man you want to be inside.” He looked me in the eye and said, “OK.”
The wreckers had strapped up our vehicles and were ready to roll. We said, “Good bye.” He thanked me and said he was sorry. I said the same. I reminded him of the opportunity that may be before him and to remember what I had said.
I will miss that sweet truck and the fun we have had in it, but I’m forever grateful to my God who can turn even a bad situation into an opportunity for His Glory to shine. I kept thinking, I feel so expectant that something good is coming out of this. I could only Praise Him!
Pamela C G Johnson