View Full Version : I witnessed an accident involving a Praxair truck today 8( [Seattle Driving]

28th March 2013, 10:11


So I was on my way out of Seattle to waste some money, and my husband and I were in the carpool lane on northbound I-5 (far left lane with the diamond in it). I think our side of the highway was about 4 lanes at that point. We were close to Lynnwood or Everett. Not sure which. But anyhow, I was looking at my husband because he was talking. He suddenly stopped blabbing and pointed out through the windshield on my side of the car.

What I saw next really should be on Youtube, because it happened so fast. I saw a brilliant flash of red paint, and realized, good God, there is a red Volkswagen Bug about 5 car-lengths ahead of us, flying through the air about 5 feet above the ground. It was almost sideways when it went airborne.

And the reason it was going sideways, was that the driver of the Bug tried to change lanes when there was a Praxair tanker truck in the center lane. He ran his car right into the broadside of the chemical (GAS) tank, bounced off, and rode right up the back of the tractor trailer's forward wheel well. The red car ricocheted between the two trailer wheel wells and finally came loose from the larger vehicle without punching a hole in the tank. Meanwhile, the entire passenger side of the driver's cabin inside that Volkswagen was crushed like a soda can.

I wasn't aware of this at the time, but my husband used to write a lot of vendor contracts, and one of them was with Praxair. Those trucks carry everything from Acetylene to Hydrogen, and he aware of the danger. When these two vehicles finally rolled to a stop, which wasn't too long a thing (it was rush hour and traffic was almost stopped anyway before we saw the accident), there was red bumper shrapnel and all kinds of **** across many lanes of the highway. Traffic had temporarily come to a complete stop on the left side of the northbound interstate.

I jumped out of the car, since we were only about 10 feet from the accident at this point. I motioned for the other drivers behind us to wait a moment, and quickly picked what debris I could out of the road. We saw that about 20 yuppies had stopped to call 911, and when I turned around the driver of the truck was talking to the driver of the Bug, who was able to get out of his car and walk away. W T F!

There was no pileup, in fact, I don't think a single other vehicle got hit aside from the Praxair truck and the Bug. What really freaked me out about this incident was, some months ago I watched a video of the same thing happening in China, except in that video, the truck exploded.

I was 20 to 30 feet from the impact site of the Praxair truck and the Volkswagen. If the truck had exploded, you wouldn't have been able to read this short, but exciting, narrative.

Also, I wanted to tell you something, Volkswagen Bugs are about the toughest-framed cars in the world, because of the round shape -- but up against a tanker truck, it handles like cotton candy -- never ever ever ever ever ever let a car lull you into feeling safe for one second.

You never know when you could literally DIAF in the USA.


P.S. here is the totally sad Chinese version of what I saw today:

28th March 2013, 10:39
Glad to hear everything is OK with you, you must be pretty shaken at the thought of what might have happened.

28th March 2013, 10:43
thank you!

even scarier than the thought of what could have happened was what i did -- picked up the trash before checking on the driver.

and here i thought i respected life!!!!

@.@ should i quit smoking LOL

28th March 2013, 11:38
Or...maybe you knew intuitively that the driver was OK. And so you did what needed to be done.

Good for you!

28th March 2013, 11:57
Swan, you could be right, but I still felt so bad for not at least looking at the driver.
he was fine, like you said -- and,
I figured, what could hurt a Volkswagen? a giant 30 ton tank of freezing chemicals! @.@ lmao!


I want my Mommy !!
...I want my blankie, and my book, and probably a good stiff drink, and it's freaking 5:00am and I am still thinking about this wreck @@

X_x it could happen to you, it could happen to me, lol

28th March 2013, 12:09
Sometimes after a traumatic event people do something mundane, controllable to balance themselves back.
Picking up the trash (returning the scene to what it was before) gave you time to process the event a little before
possibly more trauma of checking on the driver who could be dead. So give yourself a break. You did great!

Really happy everyone was OK!

28th March 2013, 12:32
thank you!

even scarier than the thought of what could have happened was what i did -- picked up the trash before checking on the driver.

and here i thought i respected life!!!!

@.@ should i quit smoking LOL

I might have done the same. Trash on a highway can cause further accidents,
and your immediate concern was to prevent those.
I have noticed similar behavior in myself, and was equally shocked, thinking I did not care for people.
I guess that's why I'm neither an ambulance driver nor an emergency room doctor.

Perhaps what people like us have in common is that we are concerned with the future...and prevention.
Maybe you thought let the dead bury the dead, not realizing that he was alive after all.

28th March 2013, 13:32
Angelic intervention at its best, some 30 years ago I was in Detroit driving home at 4 am from a friends house in the winter, as I was going thru the light of a divided highway heading north I crossed thru the first light and then the 40 space of land in between and then started crossing thru the second light.

Next thing I knew my car was in a snow pile covering the right side of my car and I was passed out laying on top of the wheel.

A guy in a car that hit me was traveling down the wrong side of that divided highway at least a mile before he hit me full force in my drivers door doing at least 60 mph. He had no light going the wrong way so there was no reason for him to slow down.

So I wake up laying behind the wheel , drivers side window next to me is completely gone, front dash and rear dash tops or both buckled from collapsing of the impact and raised 4 inches, left front wheel blown, drivers door took full impact , rear left wheel blown. Did NOT have my seatbelt on and when I woke up didn't have a scratch or cut on me and I was sitting 2 inches next to the interior of the drivers side door. I crawled out of the opening where the drivers window used to be and sat on the curb with the guy that hit me who was cut up and bleeding.

We sat there for 15 minutes and nobody even drove by, just a calm winter night.What an erie feeling that was and a blessed feeling. Oh and yes I have thanked the angels many, many times over the years.

Although I know your shook up, you also witnessed a miracle too of the angelic kind :)

28th March 2013, 15:37
I will mention the unmentionable.

It might be the simple desire to not see what human crushed meat looks like, as that kind of visage stays with you until the end. Especially when the body is still twitching and leaking. Not something that most of us desire to be looking at. Even worse, someone is 'still home', and staring right at you, but is irretrievably gone. Those are the tough days.

It can take a few seconds to prepare one's self for that potential visage. The inner confrontation and issues rank high in the face of those moments - and change comes.

28th March 2013, 17:06
thank you!

even scarier than the thought of what could have happened was what i did -- picked up the trash before checking on the driver.

and here i thought i respected life!!!!

@.@ should i quit smoking LOL

I don't think we can undo what's been done, but we can always help going forward. You can't help others if you're not safe. Have you ever taken a first aid course? Survey the scene, protect yourself and help others when its safe. Pretty much in that order iirc. Sounds like something kicked in and you instinctively knew to protect others from further harm?

I wanted to try for a career in fire/ems but I couldn't take the ems part of it. Since that time I've had a few bad wreck happen right in front of me just like you described. It can be rough, but staying calm like that is the main part. For me anyways.

28th March 2013, 21:25
I couldn't do EMS either, not without a lot of training. It's a grim business.
I guess the alternative is worse, but still!

The accounts of the accidents up there are amazing, and I am glad you guys weren't harmed!!!

My dad told me when I was a kid, that he had witnessed more than his share of terrible wrecks, including fatalities,
and often had been the first person on the scene... I don't envy him that (at least he doesn't have to remember it anymore!).