Friday, August 15, 2008

Something Strange Down the Road

Something strange happened down the road yesterday …

I took a break from the drawing board to run down to the Super Wal-Mart (yeah, I know) to pick up a few groceries, as well as a prescription for my wife.

It didn’t take me long. I got the handful of groceries, went through checkout (forgetting to pick up the prescription) and soon was back in the car heading westbound on Lewis Henna Blvd.

Lewis Henna runs parallel to the new toll road, State Highway 45. It also crosses the north- and southbound frontage roads of I-35. At both frontage roads are traffic lights. As I approached the northbound frontage road, the light turned red. I came to a stop.

As I sat there, waiting for the light to change, I found myself looking up at the SH 45 flyover that connects with I-35. I had never really looked at it before, but now I find myself contemplating just how the thing is. It’s about the height of a ten-story building.

Wow, I thought, when you’re driving on that thing you can’t see how high up you are, and a good thing, because you’d get vertigo.

I imagined what it would be like to get out of your car and peer over the edge. Of course, you wouldn’t want to actually do that. It would be crazy to do such a thing.

Later, I estimated it was 3:30 or shortly before (say, 3:28) while I was sitting there, looking at the flyover, waiting for the light to change.

The light turned green. I drove on, making a detour through the La Frontera shopping center to go to Grapevine Market on another errand. Didn’t take long. Ten minutes later, I was home.

As soon as I arrived, I realized I had forgotten the prescription. Which meant I had to go right back to Wal-Mart. Could I beat the afternoon rush? I glanced at the clock on my dashboard. It was 3:45. I had plenty of time.

A few minutes later, heading back down Lewis Henna, eastbound this time, I saw red and blue flashing lights ahead. I realized these were emergency vehicles. There had been an accident in the intersection with the I-35 frontage road, and evidently it was a bad one. I estimated there were half a dozen cop cars in addition to an ambulance and a fire truck.

Later, I read the accident happened at 3:30, which means it happened a minute or two after I drove through the intersection on the westbound side. It might have even happened at the very moment I drove through the intersection. I wouldn’t have seen it happen, you see, because the east- and westbound sides of Lewis Henna are dissected by the toll road SH 45.

Well, with the intersection shut down, I had to find an alternate route to Wal-Mart. I know the area well, so it didn’t take long. I picked up the prescription and went back to my car. Above, a yellow EMS was helicopter circling over the accident scene.

Wow, I thought. This really is a bad accident.

I drove down Lewis Henna (the westbound was not shut down) and as I did so, glanced up at the flyover I had been contemplating earlier. There was an ambulance sitting up there, lights flashing.

This was strange, I thought, because the accident was way down below on the ground.

I drove on. At the red light I came to a stop. I looked to my left, where I had a clear view of the accident scene. I saw a black motorcycle lying on the asphalt in front of a white pickup. That’s bad, I thought.

I got home and told my wife about what I had seen. I went back to the drawing board. After awhile, she called me into the living room. They were talking about the accident on television, she said.

Here’s what had happened. Around 3:30, a motorcyclist ran a red light and was struck by a pickup. He was killed.

But that’s not all. Minutes later, while the cops and EMS were working the accident scene, a man jumped or fell off the flyover above and was killed.

The investigation of this bizarre event has been turned over to the Texas Rangers (LINK).

GO HERE to see raw video footage of the accident scene. (Incidentally, there were two motorcycles on the scene. One was was the motorcycle belong to the man who was killed, the other belonged to a man who was riding alongside him. The motorcycle I saw lying on its side on the asphalt can be seen in upright position in the raw video footage. There is also a motorcycle seen lying on the grassy median. I do not know which one belonged to the man who was killed.) ...