Thanksgiving has always been an important holiday for my family. From the touch football game between my brothers and me to the secret family recipes that are baking in the kitchen, Thanksgiving is a big tradition and has always been a wonderful time.
During my freshman year of college, I flew home for Thanksgiving break, like most college kids. I had a great time with my family and went back with my jeans a bit tighter, which was to be expected. I could have never guessed what was about to happen to my beautiful Lexus SUV and myself after I landed.
I was driving back to the dorms from the airport, thinking about the great weekend I had just experienced, when I decided to call my boyfriend. We had gotten through the “I’ve missed you, can’t wait to see you, where are you right now?” questions, when out of nowhere: BOOM, they hit.
I had been driving over May Avenue when I noticed the other vehicles slowing down. I slowed down from 65 to 50 miles per hour. About five seconds later, I found myself in extreme panic and fearing for my life. Six power lines had fallen on top of my vehicle — three above my head, two in front of me, and one that caught underneath my hood and started cutting through my car toward me. I was consumed by thoughts of ending up like a Final Destination victim, cut in half by the hot power line. I dropped my phone and immediately slammed on the brakes, hoping to stop the power line from cutting even further into my car and closer to me.
Because of the power line’s force, my car swayed strongly side to side as I slammed on my brakes, so I hit my head against the window several times. After the car eventually came to a halt, all I could do was scream in panic. I didn’t know if I should get out of the car and run, fearing it might blow up, or stay in because of the live wires, fearful that I would electrocute myself if I tried to run. I passed out for a minute or two and when I woke up I heard my phone ringing. It was my boyfriend, who was terrified and asking millions of questions about what he had heard on the other end of the phone. I managed to screech, “Help, help, help, power cords on car… I’m scared!”
He eventually calmed me down enough to get the gist of what had just happened. I tried calling my mother, but she and my dad were in church and her phone's ringer was off. I felt very alone. I wondered if the end could be approaching.
A police officer arrived about ten minutes later. All I remember is hearing him scream, “Get out and run as far away as possible!”
This terrified me even more. I grabbed my phone, jumped out of my car, and ran as far away from my car as I could. My mother called me about a minute later, after my boyfriend had gotten hold of her. All I could do was scream and beg her to come to me. Since I’m from Houston, it wasn’t as if she could be there in an hour.
My head was throbbing in pain as I talked to her. I started rubbing my head, and was greeted with excruciating pain and the feeling that my hair was wet. As I pulled my hand away, I noticed my fingers were dripping with blood. My head was bleeding from where I’d smashed my head against the glass.
A police officer eventually came up to me and asked his routine questions: “Are you okay? Do you need an ambulance? What exactly happened?”
I felt angry and afraid at the same time. I was so angry with this police officer for leaving me sitting in my car for what seemed like an hour, and I was angry with him for treating me like I was a just a speeding ticket. But at the same time, I was afraid because I had never been in a wreck, and I didn’t know how to handle things. I was also afraid because my head hurt, along with my arm, which had pieces of glass in it. I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t know who to talk to.
Eventually, my parents got hold of me and were able to get a flight out of Houston within an hour. I remember them running to me in the ER like I was never going to breathe again. I had bandages around my arm where the doctors removed all the glass, and a major headache due to a severe concussion. I remember feeling safe and loved once my parents were there, but I still wanted answers.
It turns out a truck had hit the utility pole that the power lines were connected to, which in turn caused the lines to droop. When the utility guys went out to work on the pole, somebody made a mistake, and that’s when the wires fell on top of my vehicle.
Every time I drive over that May Avenue spot I catch myself holding my breath. All of my friends and family called it a “freak accident.” And that’s exactly what it was. The experience taught me a valuable lesson: you always have to be prepared for the unexpected. I was a teenager who thought I was unbreakable. Now I value my life even more than I could have expected. One wrong turn or minor mishap can kill anyone, even if it's dealing with power lines.