Watch Out for Highway Workers


Tina V. Cabrera

A woman crossed the street in the early evening hours and a car struck her dead. It was reported that she had just left a house party in honor of Father's Day.

A young man hitched a ride in Mexico. The brakes on the truck failed, which led to the truck careening off a cliff. The accident resulted in 7 fatalities, including the young man.

A man fell asleep at the wheel and lost control of his car. He swerved sideways across the freeway and another vehicle slammed into his at high speed. The other vehicle carried two - the driver and one passenger. No fatalities reported. The three involved complained of minor injuries.

The pedestrian's name was Sandra. She was 47 years old.

The hitchhiker is reported as the only American fatality. The others were of Mexican descent.

The man who fell asleep on the road stands at 6'2" with red hair. His name is Ken and his license plates are from Arizona.

The house party Sandra attended was not in honor of her father but for the father of her best friend Connie. Sandra's father died when she was three. She never knew her father, but kept a sepia-colored photo of him on her refrigerator, pinned up with a rose-colored F-shaped magnet. She only went to the party for Connie's father because it happened to be Father's Day, which falls on a Sunday every year. Sundays are Sandra's only day off. Every other day is devoted to various routine tasks.

The American hitchhiker, Rick, was on the dream trip of his lifetime. He was at the tail end of his tour of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. He died on a Sunday. It also happened to be the day before his 37th birthday.

The driver with the Arizona license plates never met the two women in the other vehicle. His name is Ken. Ken was informed that the names of the opposing claimants are Susanna and Amanda. Ken suffered a minor injury to his hand, which he insisted on caring for himself, while Susanna and Amanda suffered from chest and neck pains, which sent them to the ER. That same night they spent a total of 6 hours in the waiting room. They discovered that the reason for this long wait time was that there was another car collision that same day, reporting several fatalities.

Sandra used to collect anything and everything to do with roses, both real and manufactured. One Sunday morning at her favorite flower shop, she admired a bouquet of roses with her fingertips, raising one rose to her nostrils to enjoy its fragrance. She pricked herself on a thorn and winced as she licked the spot of blood from her pointer finger. She bought the whole bouquet, set it on top of the TV, and watched it more than the television show. The dozen roses were carefully arranged with three in front, three on each side and three in back. The primary rose - the one that pricked her - sat in the middle front row. The fragrance filled the room until the next morning when she dumped the bouquet into the trash.

All three accidents involved a vehicle. Vehicles, though they can kill, are not made to kill. Not like guns. Guns are made to kill and only kill. No guns were involved.

There was no cab on the truck. The truck was new. No one knows for sure why the brakes failed. An ongoing investigation is expected to reveal the true cause of the accident. It is apparent that six of the eight passengers sat in the back of the truck. All six died of major injuries. It so happened that the only two survivors were the only children in the group, an infant and nine year old who had been sitting inside the truck where they were found with only minor injuries. The driver - who obviously was also inside the truck - died.

A single rose was found on the road where Sandra was hit. When asked, no one who attended the Father's Day party remembered whether or not Sandra took a rose from the two party bouquets with her.

Rick's car could not be found for weeks after his death. It was speculated that someone noticed his car sitting close to the border without movement and so took the opportunity to steal it. An investigation led to an arrest. The car had been stripped. Luckily there were no items of value left in the car. Rick's backpack, with his valuables, was found further down the cliff, including a one-use camera with photos of his Mexico trip.

Amanda drove a two-year old Toyota Corolla that her father had given her as a gift. Her car was totaled in the accident. Amanda and Susanna remain best friends. Though they live countries apart (Susanna in Germany and Amanda in America), they post frequent status updates and current photos on Facebook that show no trace of the trauma incurred on that Easter Sunday. Amanda keeps photos in a private folder on her computer. She doesn't look at them, just as she doesn't look at the photos of her mother lying in a coffin.

Shortly after the accident, Susanna said, "Everything happens for a reason." Amanda's response was, "Hmmm." Susanna made this statement while she and Amanda rode in the car driven by Amanda's father, who had been in a serious collision the year before. In fact, no less than four of Amanda's family members have been involved in some kind of collision.

Rick had never been in a car accident of any kind before the one in which he died.

Sandra had never been struck by a car before.

Ken had never struck a car before.


Rick had been a volunteer many times. He had been a volunteer with Engineers Without Borders.

Amanda had never volunteered for anything except for the library book fair in her freshman year of college. This was part of a required Community Service Project and therefore does not count as real volunteer service.

Several of Rick's friends speculated that he must have offered up his body as a human shield for the two children who miraculously survived the accident. They were not yet aware of the fact that the two children sat inside of the vehicle while Rick sat in the back.

Amanda had met Rick two weeks after her accident at a friend's house party. She told him and two others about her accident. How the airbags deployed, causing her pains in the chest. How she felt traumatized. He said, while rubbing her arm, "At least you're alive." Amanda had only met Rick once because he died in that tragic truck accident in Mexico a month later. She had planned to meet him some more.

Shortly after the accident, Susanna told Amanda, "I was praying right after it happened." Amanda's response was, "Aha." Amanda hadn't prayed because she hadn't believed in God. She still doesn't.

Rick didn't have a chance to pray. This is what is assumed. He died instantly. His loved ones hope he died instantly so he wouldn't suffer.

Amanda and Susanna suffered because they lived.

Sandra might have suffered.

Amanda still doesn't know what really caused the accident. She has a hard time believing the police report, which quotes Ken as saying: "I fell asleep for a second."

The accident occurred shortly after 9 in the morning.

Amanda's car is the only one that collided with Ken's on a freeway containing other moving vehicles.

Everything happens for a reason.

You build it - It can fail.

An apple falls - not floats - from a tree.

E = mc2.

It's like this see. Material, moveable objects within the same atmosphere = encounters, collisions, explosions, implosions. Place a thinking human being in that same atmosphere and you have more of the same, and then some. Every motion, collision, explosion, implosion has a traceable cause. Man is the story.

Amanda does not express her spoken responses very well. She prefers the written word. "Just teaches you to enjoy the moment. Live. Really live, man." To which she writes: We live somewhere between memory and fantasy. Never here. Never now. It only appears that one has lived here and now, after he has left his trace.

She still doesn't know why she lived and why he died. She stopped asking why, taking the human out of the equation.

A 53-year old highway worker was struck dead this morning on the off-ramp of Highway 15. He will be replaced by a 32-year old worker first thing in the morning.

The first highway message board on Highway 15 reads: Safety Alert! WATCH OUT FOR HIGHWAY WORKERS.

Another message board half a mile down the highway reads: WATCH OUT FOR HIGHWAY WORKERS.

Watch out.

The End