The Car Accident.
*edit: some names and sentences have been changed or removed out of respect for privacy.
On the 5th of June I was drinking and hanging out with my god brother and our cousin Omar, and we decided to take a drive up to Angeles Crest. It was sort of a reunion day for us all: I had just recently started hanging out with my god brother again for the first time since my grandmother passed in ‘09, and Omar had just gotten back from Arizona a few days before, and we hadn’t seen him in 6 years.
We started drinking around 11:30 am, and It was around 1 o’clock when we started driving up the 2 highway. I had a 32oz of Bud Ice to start, and I had just finished a 32oz of Carta Blanca before we took off towards the mountain. My god brother had a couple drinks (I won’t say what), and I think Omar had a four loko, and a Carta Blanca, except it’s hard to say, he was stealing a lot that day, he might have had more.
Before driving up the crest, we stopped at Ralph’s and picked up a 12-pack and some ice. Omar also stole two 12-packs and a rack of ribs. (I’m telling you, that nigga is crazy). Our plan was to park, have a couple beers and enjoy the view for a bit. Wow, it’s funny how everything turned out, because I was really looking forward to going home that night. Mistake number 1: Don’t drink and drive.
So we head up the crest, park the truck and step outside for a bit. It’s really freakin hot today, and already I can tell this isn’t going to last very long. It’s only 2 o’clock, no way.
In addition to all that I had drank in the past hour and a half, I drank another beer, and was officially buzzed up and didn’t really want any more. My god brother and Omar had two beers and had decided it was a good time to leave. I was experiencing a dull version of the spins, and thought maybe it wasn’t a good idea to move just yet, so I said, “Hey, we should chill for a minute.” It must’ve been the way I said it because either they didn’t hear me, or they just ignored me. I know I didn’t say it with any urgency, and either way I didn’t make a point of stopping anybody, I just let it go. Mistake number 2: Don’t be afraid to speak up, especially when it involves your safety.
*Posted taken from angeles crest, before the accident. Taken with my god brother’s iPhone.
So we pile back in the car, my god brother driving, Omar in the passenger seat, and I, behind Omar, in the jumpseat. My god brother is the only one with a seatbelt on. I would have had my seatbelt on, but I was told there was none in the beginning of the day, and thought nothing of it. Omar, on the other hand is a regular knucklehead, and even though he had the option to wear his seatbelt, didn’t wear it by choice. It probably would have helped him too, if he wasn’t so damn ignorant. Mistake Number 3: Always wear your seatbelt - it’s not worth it to not wear it.
So we start heading down the mountain, it’s about 2 o’clock, i’m guessing and I played a couple songs on my laptop before putting it away in it’s case. That’s the last thing I remember before the accident.
The next thing I know, I’m opening my eyes to see blood dripping down my face, profusely. My neck is killing me and I’m confused as shit, trying to gather my bearings.
”____? ____, what’s going on?”
“Brandon, we were in a car accident, are you alright?”
“I don’t know. Help me out of here, please.”
My god brother helps me out of the car. for some reason, I felt like he helped me out through the passenger side, but that can’t be true because it would have been impossible, the door was squashed. He helped me out through the back window, onto the truck bed.
When I got out the window and stepped off the truck, I looked to my left and I saw Omar, laying on his back, his face covered in blood. I pretty sure I saw glass on his face too. I took a seat on the tailgate and asked my god brother again what’s happening.
“We just got in a car accident Brandon, just try to stay calm, Your doing ok right now and I think I just killed Omar. I know your hurt, but your talking to me and Omar isn’t, ok? FUCK! Why did we do this? We should never have been drinking, why did we think it was ok?! Omar, can you hear me? OMAAR!”
At this point I’m starting to feel some real pain in my neck. My god brother comes over to check on me and touches my head.
“Stop! Don’t touch me! if you want to help, find something to wrap my head up with to stop this bleeding.”
He wraps my head up with a shirt, and goes back to help Omar. I lay on my back with my legs hanging off the edge and start to do a checklist of all my working faculties.
- Ok, I just got up, so I can still walk.
- I can breathe.
- I’m still thinking pretty well, I feel like myself, no brain damage, hopefully.
- My neck hurts A LOT.
- My head hurts A LOT.
- I think I’m ok. The ambulance is on the way, I’m going to be fine.
And it was at this moment while laying on the truck that I realize that I am alive.
I am alive.
And I have never felt more alive in my life.
An emotion I can only describe as joy runs through me, and enfolds my being.
I have been reborn.
My past is my past. My life as I knew it is over.
The person before, whom I called myself, is no more. I have become something else.
*A picture my godbrother took, while waiting for the helicopter. Those are my legs you can see hanging off the tailgate.
So, I’m laying in the back of the truck, contemplating life and the universe, wondering if I were to fall asleep would I die, when the ambulance gets there. One of the professionals (I guess it was an EMT, I believe that’s what they’re called. I could hardly see. everything after the accident was sort of hazy, probably from the alcohol) cuts off my clothes - one of my favorite t-shirts and my 1969 GAP cords. That was kinda painful to watch, but passed quickly thanks to my recent revelation. They ask me a few questions about my condition, I tell them my neck hurts and that’s all I know. After they cut my clothes off, and they confirm that I have no visible injuries on my legs or chest, they put a collar on my neck, lift me up onto a gurney and we wait for the helicopter to arrive.
Now, let me just say, even though it was a horrible situation, I have to admit, I got excited thinking about the helicopter ride. I’d never been in a helicopter and when I heard they were sending one, I was a little stoked. This entire time I was experiencing a mixture of emotions, and the most present one was my worry for Omar, because up until now he still hasn’t said anything, completely unconscious. But even though I was worried, I couldn’t help but feel a little excitement for my first helicopter flight.
The helicopter arrives, and it looks fuckin’ badass. They wheel me over and set me down inside. I’m like, “whoa.” They set Omar down beside me, and we take off immediately. Two minutes later, we’re at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena and they’re wheeling me into the emergency room. Helicopters are freakin’ fast, yo.
I’m wheeled around for about one minute, and when we come to a stop, I immediately feel two things happening: My lip is being sewed up, and I’m being stapled on the forehead. What the hell? It’s not really that bad, is it? What the hell just happened?
As soon as my lip is closed, I look to my right at a lady who is helping me, and she looks at me. I smile at her, and she smile’s back. I love that part.
The rest after that is pretty blurry, and I don’t really remember so much. I think I must have fallen asleep. The rest is all part of my hospital stay, which I will probably write about later this week, as soon as I’m feeling up to it. I will also be writing more on the things I learned and the epiphany’s I reached while in the hospital. For now I’m going to finish this off with an account of the injuries I sustained, and wrap it up there. Now, whenever anybody wants to know what happened I can just send them here.
I fractured my C7 vertebrae. I have a huge gash on the back of my head that looks like a wolf took a giant bite out of me. That gash is also related to a giant slice on the back of my ear, which looked like someone had pushed forward and made it stick out like Dumbo. I had some of my skin peel off on my forehead, which explains the 9 (maybe more) staples I felt. And finally, I split both my lips, which were hanging off of my face before they sewed them back together (they did a great job, by the way).
You would never get in a car with a drunk stranger, would you? It’s always our friends who we have a hard time speaking up to, and it’s our friends whom we should be doing a better job protecting as well. It’s our own responsibility to know a good situation from a bad one, and if you can be brave enough to stand up for yourself, even against your friends, you’ll be able to protect yourself and them from accidents like these. I knew we had had too much to drink, and even though my god brother says he wasn’t driving fast, and he wasn’t drunk, which I believe, it’s beside the point - anything could have happened. Don’t be afraid to speak up or take action in any situation, but especially when your safety and the safety of others is involved. If you love yourself, and you love your friends, you’ll do the right thing, and that’s a sign of true character.