Do You Stop? Today I Drove up on a Bad Wreck on the Interstate

My family and I enjoyed a little R&R at the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg on Saturday. Today, we headed home while an ice storm came through Virginia. On our way down I-64 West (edited…I originally said East and it was a typo), we came up on an accident…

The truth is, we shouldn't have been there. We left early on Sunday to have my daughter back for cheerleading practice. We found out on the way home that practice was canceled. We were taking our time, traffic was light, and the roads were in bad condition and getting worse. I would have much rather been back in Williamsburg enjoying the pool still.

Then we came up on a single vehicle wreck. The vehicle was sitting upright on the side of the road, but the faces of the people standing around is what got my attention. The car seemed to have flipped or rolled. It was a bit mangled. There were 4-5 stopped cars on the side of the road. I had no clue what was going on, but I told my wife I was going to stop. There weren't any emergency vehicles on scene yet. 

I parked on the side of the road, in the grass, a distance from the road but close enough that I wasn't worried about getting stuck. I then ran back to the vehicle. 


When I was leaving, I stopped and snapped one photo of the scene

I mentioned on Facebook that I don't always stop for wrecks when emergency crews aren't there yet, and someone asked why. I don't because I have a duty to my family to keep them safe. I don't want to stop if that puts my family at risk by being parked on the side of the road. 

In this situation, we were uphill, traffic was light, and I felt like my family was safe. 

I proceeded to the car.

I was right…the looks on the faces of the bystanders was bad…then I spoke without thinking before I made it to the car.

I asked if everyone was alright. The answer I got wasn't good…and I realized that this person I asked might have been in the car or known the person. Luckily he wasn't. These people didn't know what to do. They had been there a while. 

I got in the vehicle and asked if anyone was a medic. Nope… I told them I was a firefighter/EMT and instantly they looked to me for guidance in making everything better. Unfortunately, I didn't have anything…I couldn't do much but I did what I could. I think I did help them though. I explained what I thought was going on with the patient, but let them know that there really wasn't much we could do until "real" help arrived. 

It always amazes me how things are when we are on the other side of the coin and waiting for Fire/EMS/PD response. Everything is different. 

Crews were on their way. When I got to the car, I heard units going West bound figuring they were going down to turn around. I was right. The wait wasn't too long. 

In the end, crews showed up from Fluvanna, Goochland, and Louisa Counties including the Brothers from Kents Store VFD. Apparently, we were located at the corners of all the three counties. They all responded. They did a great job on scene. I found out later that it was reported as an MVA with possible ejection/entrapment.

I stayed long enough to help get the patient out of the vehicle, then I left. He was in good hands now. 

Come to find out that I knew some of the Brothers and Sisters on scene via FB. 

In the end, I am glad I stopped. I wasn't really able to help the patient in any way. If I did anything positive at all, it was giving the Good Samaritans a break and some understanding of what they were experiencing. I was able to calm some of the shocked looks on some of the faces. Nothing ground breaking, but it might have just been being there and knowing what was going on. 

Kudos to the crews on scene. They did a great job. 

When I got back in the car, my kids had a million questions. I shared what they could handle. 

Do you stop?