Note to Readers: Each chapter in this story has been told by a different character.
- Chapter One was written from the perspective of Crash, the dad.
- Chapter Two was told by Scarlet, the mom.
- Chapter Three was simpler in language because it was told by Mia, who was then nine years old.
- Chapter Four comes to you through the words of Ian, who was then ten years old.
- Chapter Five was told by Crash’s father’s wife — the step-grandmother of Ian, Mia, Maddie, and Liam.
- This one, Chapter Six, is written in the voice of a local police officer who responded to the scene of the accident.
I invite you to go back and scan the chapters, both to appreciate these different characters’ points of view and to refresh your memory about some details that will come into play in the next few chapters before the story wraps up.
My squad car radio crackled.
Then the dispatcher’s voice came through loud and clear.
Attention Winnebago fire and rescue…Pecatonica… South Rockford… please report to the scene of a PI… personal incident of a multi vehicle collision. Witness report of seeing a passenger van being struck by a large box truck. Estimated number of victims is 6. Time 16:43.
Intersection of Kingman and Mohave.
Passenger van struck by the larger vehicle that left the scene.
Passenger van is currently on a property at Kingman and Mohave.
Engines and ambulance being dispatched now.
I turned my car around and sped off to the scene.
This is a sleepy little neighborhood. The speed limit is 20 mph on every street for a solid two miles in every direction.
A potential hit and run? This never happens around here.
I pulled up to the scene right after the fire engines and ambulances. Their station was only two blocks away, while I had come from two miles away.
The EMTs were in full force triage mode of the victims of the passenger van.
Two more of my department’s squad cars pulled up, and we began interviewing witnesses.
I heard the property owner screaming at my colleague. In broken English, he yelled, “What you do about this? My yard ruined! Who pay?!?!”
I turned my attention instead to the dozen or so neighbors standing on the street.
Witness #1 (Name withheld)
“Yep. That rental truck came flying out of nowhere. You know, this has always been a bad intersection. It really should be a 4-way stop.”
Witness #2 (Name withheld)
“I just heard a huge BANG like an explosion. I ran outside and saw this van in my neighbor’s yard. But why is it there?”
Witness #3 (Name withheld)
“I was out here with my wife, walking our dogs. We saw that truck hauling FAST down the street. It came up behind us, and we pulled our dogs in closer as it flew by. It must have been going 50 mph, at least.
And then we saw those two vans. The first one made it through the intersection easily, but the other one? Nope. There was no way. That truck hit it dead center.
It kind of looked like the driver of the second van tried to veer off to the left, you know, to reduce the impact?
But I cannot believe that the truck paused for only a second, and then took off going even faster than it was going before.”
Witness #4 (Name withheld)
“That truck was FLYING, man! It weren’t gonna stop for no one, no how.
It hit that van, and it slowed for a second or two — and kept right on going.
No way we were gonna get a plate off it.
But since it’s a rental truck… and it was a 26’ box truck with corporate markings on it… I’m pretty sure you can trace it.
And when you do find the guy who did this, I hope you nail them.
Just look at those little kids’ bodies all being loaded on stretchers into ambulances.
That ain’t right.
That driver shoulda stopped.”
I waited for the radio traffic to clear before I pushed the button on my squad car radio.
“Dispatch, we’re following the ambulances to the hospital.
We have yet to interview the adults and other occupants of the van who were being triaged.
We’ll report back from the Emergency Room.”
Except for the names of the characters, nothing in this story has been altered. The sequence of events is completely accurate.
The next chapter will also be completely true, although it will leave you somewhat incredulous.
This is a question that only the most discerning readers can answer correctly.
My friends, I invite you to SPECULATE about which person in the van was injured most seriously.
The answer is actually right in front of you, if you have read every chapter.
Please use the Comment section to make your guess!
Hint: If you don’t see a place to vote or comment, scroll ALLLLL the way down to the bottom of this page, past other people’s comments. There it is!
Thank you for reading!
Chapter Seven will be posted — when I have 20 readers’ guesses!
(And the end of this story is near! LOL)
Special thanks to Aubrey Waldenberger, Volunteer Firefighter, Firefighter 1, and EMT Basic student for her consultation on language for this post.