Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dramatic End to the Semester

I was just trying to drive home.

I finished my final day of teaching at APU today at 5:30pm (but who's counting).

The 38 mile commute is no picnic at this time of day, but so far this semester I'd had no major problems.

I was making my way south down the 605 (I traverse the entire length of the freeway) trying to enter into celebration mode. Sure, I have to listen to juries for several hours on Saturday morning, but I've taught my last class until September. I should be all yipee, right?

So I'm working on finding my happy place when the traffic slows to a stop at the 60 freeway which is well north of even my parents' house in Whittier much less my final destination in the Long Beach area.

Traffic reports indicated that there was an incident a few miles ahead.

No problem.

I've been driving the freeways since I began commuting to Cal State Fullerton during the last energy crisis.

I unpacked my patience and prepared to gut it out.

By this time my dear husband was home, so I called and asked him to look at and let me know which lanes were blocked so I could get out of the way.

It turns out there were not one, not two, but three multicar accidents between me and the open road, one of which seemed to involve a pedestrian.

I didn't look as I drove by the 2 blocked lanes of the pedestrian incident.

Home free, I thought!!!

"Vacation time ahead!", I tried repeating, but I couldn't muster any real enthusiasm. I was just plain drained

I'd be happy later.

Stalwartly I made my way to the 405 north, past the Long Beach airport, and into view of the offramp.

I had commented to Bob that I had seen some really creative (read extremely dangerous) driving over the past few days. Even I as I recalled the conversation I cringed as several people raced and tailgated their way up the freeway. I hung back, desiring to make it home without any drama.

The Orange Avenue offramp is a very long, uphill affair. I breathed a sigh of relief as I finally exited the freeway.


What's that smoke coming in my direction?

Why are all those big SUV's tumbling toward me like something out of a Bruce Willis movie?

Why is that light pole crashing to the ground in front of me?

Apparently 3 cars got into some sort of distress on the 405, got tangled up in a heap, and all came bounding across the freeway onto the shoulder and up the hill toward the offramp I was on, with one landing on its roof as I drove by. Had that hill not been there separating me from the freeway, they would have kept on rolling right across my path.

As it was, I was unscathed.

I tried dialing 911, but the line was busy.


Within a few minutes the LBPD Air Fox was overhead, so I knew someone had gotten through.

Here's the log on the incident:

405 North Before Orange Av Traffic Collision - Ambulance Responding 6:56 PM
Thomas Guide Map Coordinates: Page 795, Grid 1F
Overturned Vehicle Near the Orange Off Ramp, Message/Item Delivered LA County Fire Department 6:56 PM
SUV Overturned 6:57 PM
Dupe Caller States on Its Top on Right Shoulder 6:58 PM
.k/2537d0424.d/per Dupe North 405 Just South of Cherry, 4 Vehicles, 1 Overturned, Non Injury 6:59 PM
Vehicle Took Light Pole Down, All Vehicles on Right Shoulder 7:00 PM
Lbpd Air Fox / 3 Vehicle Traffic Collision With 1 Vehicle on Its Roof / Vehicles on Right Shoulder 7:00 PM
Message/Item Delivered Kruger with Fltbd ETA 15-20 7:01 PM
CHP Unit on Scene 7:17 PM
Please Notify Edison Pole Down #5182 Pole is on Top of Vehicle If They Can Expedite 7:22 PM
Message/Item Delivered Kruger With 1 Truck ETA 15-20 7:22 PM
Message/Item Delivered Falcon Tow With 1 Truck ETA 15-20 7:23 PM
Message/Item Delivered to Edison Inci#46-67980 Will Recall with ETA 7:26 PM
CHP Unit on Scene 7:33 PM
Please Check with Edison If They Have an ETA Yet 7:44 PM
Per Edison ETA Approx 30 Mins

That's the latest info as I post.

I made my way the few short blocks home with the surreal image of that light pole coming down in front of me.

Now that's a dramatic close to a school year.

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