Submarine Races

So, all of us with teenagers have probably hoped, at least secretly, that our kids are not engaging in the time-honored tradition of spectatorship at the submarine races… I know I have.

Never did I expect that one of mine would actually attempt to enter the race, in a vehicle intended only for dry land.


Yes, that silver Explorer darn near made it into one of the tributaries of Melton Hill Lake last Friday afternoon.

Beta, on her way to work at Big Ed’s from her apartment in Knoxville, was cruising southbound on Melton Lake Drive when she fell asleep at the wheel.

At 4 in the afternoon.  Rush hour.  She crossed a lane of oncoming traffic, just missed a row of vertical railroad ties, traveled nearly 100 feet  on the wrong side of the railroad ties along the top edge of a gully, then veered off toward the water.

She called and told me she’d fallen asleep while driving, and asked me to pick her up.  She didn’t say anything about the truck being in the lake, or anything like that… I guess I assumed that she’d been pulled over for weaving, and the officer wouldn’t let her drive.

She’s okay.  Her dog (riding in the back seat) is okay too.  The Explorer — yes, that one — is less than okay, but upon close inspection in the daylight, probably isn’t totaled.

On Friday evening after a wrecker towed it home, we thought the  frame was bent, but on closer inspection in the daylight,  it’s not.  There’s a cross-rail that is mangled, the front axle may have to be replaced, and some mounting pieces that nearly sheared off, but those are all things that can be found in a junkyard.  There’s a window busted out, the driver’s side rearview mirror sheared off, but those are replaceable.  HWTFM and I went back to the scene of the crime on Saturday, and picked up several pieces.

The kid is lucky to be alive.  It’s a wonder the truck didn’t roll.  She’s lucky she didn’t get thrown through the windshield (with no seatbelt on).  It’s only now that I can actually think about it, write about it, without shaking.

Maybe a few weeks without wheels will be a good thing.

THURSDAY UPDATE: Yes, it really is totaled. Our mechanic said it can’t be fixed.

7 Responses to “Submarine Races”

  1. on 09 Nov 2009 at 8:18 pm Mike

    I am so glad she is OK.

  2. on 09 Nov 2009 at 11:55 pm deichmans

    Oh no!!! So glad she’s O.K. — hopefully this will be a reminder for ALL of us to ensure our kids wear their seatbelts (if only because you don’t know what’s coming at you from the other direction).

    Good luck repairing the Explorer.

  3. on 11 Nov 2009 at 12:00 am David L. Bolling

    Scary stuff, glad to hear that she wasn’t hurt!

  4. on 15 Nov 2009 at 4:50 pm girlfriend

    Cars can be replaced, children can’t. Thank God that is all that happened. The thoughts of what could have been are scary.

  5. on 20 Nov 2009 at 11:40 am Greg Mangan

    I read about your daughter’s crash in the New Sentinel and am happy that she came through without any major injury. I suggest that she attend an eight hour driver improvement class…I’ll be happy to have her attend one at no charge. We teach drivers of all ages things that most people just don’t know!! Recognizing that you’re falling asleep is one of the lessons learned in the class. Contact me for more info.

  6. on 23 Nov 2009 at 9:26 am daco

    Thank goodness Beta is okay.

  7. on 13 Dec 2009 at 3:46 pm Joel

    Glad your daughter is OK. That’s the most important thing.

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