• Dana L. Butler

Part 1: How Getting A North Carolina Oil Change Turned… Well… Interesting.

Isaac passionately loves to crash his cars, trucks, airplanes, helicopters… whatever… into each other.  Or into walls or tables or floors or any other hard surface you can imagine. This morning (Monday, 3/18) he experienced his first real crash. Let me say it now: we are all okay.

Isaac and I, along with our housemate Jerusha, are in North Carolina visiting my family.  Stan wasn’t able to come because of his work schedule (sad!!) so Jerusha agreed to take some time off of work and wrangle this 17-and-a-half hour road trip with Isaac and me.  Yup, that’s us.  The road trip wranglers.  We drove from Kansas City straight through to NC.  No, we won’t be driving it straight on the way back.  Just for the record.  HOLY COW it was long.

So somewhere in the middle of Kentucky or West Virginia, my “oil change” light came on. Yes, I feel kinda dumb for not getting an oil change before we left town… but we decided to press on through and get the oil changed here in Greensboro.  So… this morning I was finally on my way to do that.  Isaac and Jerusha were in the car with me.

It was overcast and sprinkling outside.  We drove not even 5 minutes up the road from my parents’ house and prepared to turn right to go toward the parking lot of the dealership… and….


The crash was deafening.  We were hit from behind and everything that happened next occurred in slow motion. 

I gasped, stunned.  I remember Jerusha crying out in shock. Jerusha says she remembers us looking wide-eyed at each other for a split second as our car careened forward, out of control.  Both of our heads snapped forward and a quick moment of severe pain shot through them, then subsided completely.  

My right foot moved in slow motion, searching.  I have to find the brake pedal or we’ll end up in those trees… Have to stop the car………..

Finally found it and pressed down as hard and fast as I ever have.  We came to a quick stop, slamming hard into the curb on the wrong side of the road we’d been in the process of turning onto.  I remember being so thankful we hadn’t jumped the curb and ended up in the trees.

The entire event happened within probably 3 seconds.  They were the longest 3 seconds of my life.

“Thank you Jesus that we’re okay.”  I think I said it out loud.

Isaac was screaming, crying, shocked and terrified.

I stumbled out of the car, opened his door, unbuckled him from his car seat with shaky hands.  Never have I been more profoundly thankful for a car seat.  Ever.

I pulled him out of the car and held and comforted him and he began to calm down.

I hope his little spine is okay….

The guy who hit me came over, asked if we were alright, told us he’d tried to stop but lost traction on the wet road.  I asked Jerusha to call 911 and let them know we needed a cop.  I called my parents, who arrived within 5 minutes.  We loaded Isaac’s car seat into their car, and they took Isaac and Jerusha back to their house while I waited on the officer to fill out his crash report.

Nearly two hours later, my dad (who’d dropped the others off at home and then come back to meet me) and I arrived back at my parents’ place.  Minus my un-driveable 2012 minivan. 🙁 It’s a little sad – I’m not gonna lie.  

Got an estimate from the body shop at the dealership where I had been planning to get an oil change:  $4,350 worth of damage.

Entire rear body/underneath needs replaced.  Front driver’s side tire/wheel/rim/possible suspension/steering damage… from slamming into the curb.

I am so thankful it wasn’t my fault.  And that the other guy’s insurance policy is legit so we won’t have to pay a penny.  And again, that we’re all okay.  

Years ago I lost traction on wet roads and rear-ended someone – so I felt bad for him.  And he was apologetic.  A good guy.  Just a bummer.

Definitely wondering if we’ll wake up with sore necks/backs tomorrow from the insane whiplash moment we experienced.  Really praying Isaac’s okay.  He seems to be – he’s his normal wild, fun, dancing self. 🙂

We have to wait until Wednesday morning for the other guy’s insurance adjuster to come out and do their whole estimate thing….for AllState to accept liability for the accident and approve getting the damage fixed.  7 days worth of repairs need to be made on my car, according to the guy at the body shop.  IF we end up needing to get all the work done in North Carolina, that puts us arriving back home in KC probably a full WEEK later than we’d planned.  Eesh.  And that wouldn’t be such a big deal except for the fact that my little guy is SERIOUSLY missing his daddy. 🙁  As am I!  

There’s a chance we’ll be able to only get my front left tire/wheel situation fixed here and then drive it back to KC and have the rest of the work done there.  Hoping and praying that that works out.

All of that said, I don’t know that I have anything super profound to say tonight, except just that, despite all the inconvenience and hassle of this whole ordeal, I see the hand of God woven through all of it.  He’s good and faithful, and He protects and provides and gives grace for every moment, every circumstance.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the story within the next couple of days.


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