It was 2002, I was a mother of a 4 year old and a 2 year old. I was a stay at home mom during the day and worked at a family business in the evenings. Life was good and easy. It worked for us. We were happy.
A typical afternoon found me driving north on I-77 to work when I spotted flashing blue & red lights ahead on the right. Traffic was congested, but not horrible. I moved into the left lane figuring it was an accident or someone caught speeding. Traffic had slowed considerably as people looked to see what going on. In my mind I kept hearing my dad repeat over and over "assured clear distance". I had a good 30 yards between myself and the car in front of me when I passed the police car that was sitting on the side of the expressway all by itself. A quick glance told me that whatever had happened was over and he was merely finishing his report. Traffic came to a stop. I still had 30 yards between my van and the car in front of me, that is until the guy behind me plowed into me and pushed my stopped vehicle into the car in front of me.
I was thrown forward and then flew back with such force that it laid my seat back. The entire back of my van was crushed to the rear tires, the front was damaged to the point that my electrical system was disabled. Stunned, I unbuckled my seat belt, stumbled from my van into the median strip and sat down in the grass. The guy from in front of me came over to see if I was alright. His first question was "How in the world did you hit me? You were so far away!" The guy that obliterated my van came over and said "It was my fault, I was looking at the cop car and didn't know traffic had stopped. When I looked back it was to late to stop. My foot never hit the brake. I don't think I hit you that hard though, I was only going 25 mph."
The other driver and I looked at each other with a "yeah right" glance and then we noticed a very irritated Highway Patrolman walking toward us. There was no disputing what had happened. By this time the young man's dad had shown up... and he was an insurance salesman. Enough said. He proceeded to try and convince me that this was nothing compared to other accidents he had seen and that surely my vehicle was drivable. "He knocked out the electrical, it won't even start. Not to mention that my rear bumper is making my tire look like a balloon. Are you serious? You consider this drivable?"
The police officer stated that due to the fact there was so much room between myself and the car in front of me that I would not be cited for his damage. Everything fell on the young guy. I assured the officer that I did not need an ambulance, that I was shaken up and had a headache & very minor neck pain, but nothing that warranted a visit to the hospital. My husband showed up, the van was towed (later it was deemed "totaled") and I went home.
That evening when I went to bed I was moaning and rocking in pain. My neck hurt so bad. I am not a wimp. I delivered two children, both natural, with NO DRUGS! I have a very high pain tolerance. This pain was unbearable.
As I laid in bed, I hated that kid. I hated him for not paying attention, I hated him for gawking, I hated him for lying about his speed, I hated him because he was the reason I was in so much pain, I hated him because I couldn't sleep, I hated him because I couldn't make the pain stop, I hated his dad for treating me the way he did, I hated the fact that daddy showed up to bail him out. It was obvious that he was the kind of kid that got rescued from his mistakes and daddy made it all go away. I bet he got a new SUV out of it, because unlike mine, his vehicle was not drivable. Stupid insurance salesman.
I was not in a good place and I had no intention of stopping my thought process. Somehow, he needed to feel as bad as I did to pay for what he had done. And if my thoughts could will it... well then, so be it. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
To be continued...