"If you make an accident after midnight and don't find a drunk, keep looking - you've missed somebody." -- Riley's Rules of EMS
Not the movie. That was fiction. This was real. I have a number of friends and relatives who work or have worked in medical/hospital sorts of fields. I've heard stories - too many. And had one experience where I was up close, though not really all that close. I was close enough or too close as it was. There is damned good reason I wear a seatbelt, automatically - and it's not because of the state laws or federal pressures about them. There is also (the same?) reason that if I expect to be driving, I do not drink and if I do drink, I do not drive. This happened some years ago, but I've just fairly recently had a reason to post this story.
As some may know, jmaynard used to be a volunteer paramedic in League City, TX. He did that for 17 years (and unbuckled three people. Two just too scared to move. One just barely alive, but alive! Wear your seatbelt, damnit.)
One night, I rode along. Most of the night was dull - and that's good. Boredom is the ideal. The best wish you can give to a person in any sort of emergency response position is to wish them an uneventful shift. There were two calls. One was a truly minor thing, a mere 'fender-bender' if even that. An older gentleman was taken by ambulance to a hospital just to be absolutely sure nothing was really wrong. The other call, was sadly more memorable.
If you've ever been in League City, TX (near Houston) you likely know that the idea of going through it, even with lights and siren going, at 70 to 90 mph means things are well-nigh desolate - thus early AM. We arrived to find no patient. What we saw was an overturned, flaming pick-up truck - with no driver. And some ways away, after some curious tracks in the turf, a car with a driver who wouldn't come out or roll the window down. That was a police problem, not ours.
Where's the patient? "People don't look up" isn't just a line from Second Life (scavenger type) hunts. Reality is like that too. We spent time looking up in trees, down in ditches, etc. Only to come to a very unfortunate conclusion: the pickup driver was probably under the truck. Eventually the fire crew had the fire out and the truck was turned over. And I was given instruction to stay back, for which I am grateful. Yes, that's where he was.
The truck driver's one mistake was not wearing a seatbelt. I don't know that it would have saved him here, but I know that without it he didn't even have a chance. What happened? The car driver was not sober. The guy in the truck was simply on his way to work. The car nosed under the bed of the pickup. They both went off the road. Somehow the truck wound up flipping end-over-end (was the assumption). Somewhere in that, the windshield popped out. And the unbelted driver popped out. And the truck landed on him. When did the fire start? Who knows? But result is one dead pickup driver, no matter the order of things. Somehow the car had made it back to the road. And that's all I really know of the events of that night, as that's all I saw or heard about.
The car driver? No idea what happened to that person, but I suspect an up-close experience with the legal system.