This blog is simply the story about my little life
with my sweet family that the Lord has blessed me with
and the day in, day out things that we do.
It basically is my online diary/photo album of our life.
I'm glad you're here!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Basketball bus crash....

*WARNING* This post has graphic details, please read with discernment.

Last year on January 25th, I was at work and Hayden sent me this text message. I read it and I started shaking and getting really nervous. At first I couldn't think. What does he mean "We just hit a guy?" Was he in his truck, if so, he's not allowed to have other drivers in his truck, then I thought, no, he wouldn't do that, then I thought, is he with someone else? Is he with Eric? What does he mean "I'm pretty sure we decapitated him"? That's awful! Is this a joke? No it couldn't be, Hayden does not joke like that at all and this is not funny.

Then, I realized he was on the school bus heading to a basketball game and I knew this was no joke.

I immediately tried to call him, but his phone was busy. I heard mine beep, meaning that he was trying to call me, but I was trying to call him at the same time and we could not reach each other. We did this for a few minutes and my heart rate was going up. Finally I reached him and he told me what happened.  He said that while they were on the bus heading up north to play a game in another town, the bus hit and ran over a guy on a motorcycle. It was awful!
I talked to him for several minutes and learned that no one on the bus was hurt, but that they had indeed ran over a guy on a motorcycle and killed him. This was very upsetting to say the least. His next text was so comforting though and so true; he wrote, "God was protecting us."
He went on to say that all the kids on the bus heard the bus driver scream, felt the bus swerve and then (tragically) they all felt a bump as they ran over him. I told him not to look at the body and he said it's too late. He said that right after they hit him he turned around and saw more than a 17 year old boy should see. He in fact did see the body and it was graphic, so much so that he thought the bus decapitated him (which we later learned did not happen). I immediately asked him how he was handling this and he said he was shook up, but fine.

I asked how the other kids were handling it and he said that some of the girls were crying, but that overall they were handling it okay. He said that all of the kids were stoic and serious. There was no goofing off or coarse jesting. I told him that as a Christian and a leader in his class he should try to be strong for the other kids on the bus and be a support to them. He said he would.
After our initial conversation we alternated between calling and texting for the next couple of hours. I kept checking in with him and he would check in with me.
He said that the media showed up on the scene and were interviewing them and filming them.
Later that night we saw these images of the news. That's Hayden looking out the third window from the right.
We're not superstitious, but a lot of people were talking about that it was bus #13.
It was so horrible.
We feel so bad for the man who perished and for his family.
The only blessing is that it happened so fast and the authorities really think he was knocked unconscious before he was ran over.
Hayden told me that the driver and the coaches got off the bus to talk to the police and the kids were left there alone. I asked if any of the kids behaved badly without supervision and he said no. He said they were all very serious, sad, quiet and obedient.
Those poor kids had to sit on that bus for two hours while they were investigating it and they had already been on the bus for an hour driving up there.
I was concerned about restrooms and food/water. Hayden texted me and said they were bringing porta-pottys and most kids had water/Gatorade as well as snacks.
Then we heard they were wrapping things up and were going to head home and stop at McDonald's. The school district sent another bus driver up there who drove the bus full of kids home. The bus driver was just too upset to drive the kids back home; someone from her family drove up to take her home.
This text upset me. A mother wants to protect her children from these hard realities of the world. I never wanted any of my sons to see a tragedy like this and here it happened and there was nothing I could do about it. I felt so bad. I felt so sad. I couldn't even hug him, he was a hundred miles a way.

I was so concerned for him and told him to try not to think about it and to pray about it. I told him I was so sorry he had to see that. I kept asking him if he was doing okay after seeing such a site and he kept reassuring me he was. I was so upset. This is not something that any mother would want their child to see. 

He kept telling me he was fine.
I kept asking...
...and asking. I was also praying the whole time. I was praying for the students, the driver, the authorities and for the man's family. At this point we had no idea of the identity of the man. I prayed that it would not be a teenager, I just think that would have been almost too much for these kids and the bus driver to take. We learned later on that it was a single man with no children in his 60s, who loved to ride his motorcycle. It's kind of comforting knowing he died doing the thing he loved. He did have family and friends who were so sad to learn that he had passed away.
We know that God was protecting these kids. The bus did swerve and they said it came within inches of hitting the cement median, which would have caused them to crash. I praise God for watching over these kids. I praise God for Sarah, the bus driver, who is only 29 years old,  because she held her composure, stayed calm and did the right thing.

We later learned that the guy on the motorcycle was merging onto the freeway and he sped up to get ahead of the bus, but he went to fast, started wobbling and then fell over rolling a few times and then went under the bus. It was not our bus drivers fault, but she has been having a very difficult time with it. To all of us parents, she is a hero, but she doesn't feel like one.
This was the best text I got all day. "We home."
A few minutes later we heard his little truck out side the house and then heard his key open the front door. The first thing I did was run up to him and hug him and kiss him on the cheek.
Thank you God for bringing my son home safe. Thank you Lord for protecting all of those kids and please be with the family and friends of the man who died.
The next day they offered the students counseling and Hayden said none of them went. We wondered why and I think it's because all of the kids had cell phones and were able to talk to their parents. They also helped each other a lot while they were waiting on the bus for two hours during the investigation and the long ride home. 

A few days later all the boys and girls basketball players that were on the bus made a big thank you poster for Sarah and they all signed it and took a picture of themselves and sent it to her. It made me cry. 

It's been a year since this incident, but it is still fresh on our minds, especially since we are approaching the one year anniversary of it. Please say a little prayer for the man's family and also for our bus driver, Sarah. She's back to driving the bus again, but she no longer does the long distant drives, she just stays local. 

One more thing, make sure you tell your loved ones that you do love them and hug them close, you never know when life might take an unexpected turn!

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear." Psalm 46:1-2a

Hugs, Sharon


Mardell said...

Oh Sharon,
How awful! I just cannot imagine the horror. Thank God Sarah didn't crash the bus. I will certainly say a prayer for the mans family. This post brought tears to my eyes. The cell phones really came in handy that day. Can you imagine not having them and not know what was going on? Oh my.

Have a great weekend. We're being bombarded with a snow storm!

as always starzie said...

Oh Sharon I'm so sorry Hayden had to experience such a tragic event. You are right, his Angels and God were with him on that day. I will pray for the man's family, as I know this first anniversary of the accident will be so hard for them. And I will give extra hugs to all of my love ones!
Take care,

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