Thank God He Put on His Seat Belt

October 2, 1995. I was living in Tulsa, OK and a little after 11:00 pm I received a phone call from my sister in Montana telling me that my dad had been in a serious car accident. She did not have any more information, but would call me back.

At 9:35 pm, my dad walked out of his restaurant to go home for the night. As a business owner, he was in the habit of carrying a small Texas Instrument calculator in his left shirt pocket, but as car driver he was not in the habit of wearing a seat belt. However, that night as he was driving away from the restaurant he felt the need to put on his seat belt. And thank God he did.

Less than 5 minutes later he was broadsided by a 15-year-old driver who was speeding and failed to stop at a stop sign.

My dad was driving a small 1983 GMC truck and the 15-year-old was driving a big 1979 4-wheel-drive GMC Blazer.

My dad suffered multiple broken ribs, a broken clavicle, a dislocated shoulder, chipped teeth, multiple contusions, a gash on the back of his head, and his pelvis was broken in three places, but he survived.

He survived because he had done two things: He carried his Texas Instrument calculator in his left shirt pocket and most importantly, he put on his seat belt.

My dad now always wears a seat belt, but I was reminded of how important this is by a dear friend whose family recently walked away from a terrible car accident because they were wearing their seat belts.

Not everyone wearing a seat belt survives every car accident, but the odds of surviving when wearing one are significantly higher.

Dad's accident010My dad’s 1983 GMC pickup truck. Wearing a seat belt saved his life.

1 Dad's accident (7)Driver’s side of my dad’s truck. Both vehicles ended up in the yard of the house on the northeast corner of 13th St. West and Colton. The 15-year-old was speeding east on Colton when he failed to stop for a stop sign and broadsided my dad who was driving north on 13th St. West.

My dad was less than 5 minutes from leaving his restaurant and less than 5 minutes from being home.

Dad's accident (8)Photo showing how the cab was ripped away from the chassis.

Dad's accident009My dad’s crumpled dashboard. 

Dad's accident (2)The corner of my dad’s driver’s side window and door. The metal square in the center of the picture is the remnant of the exterior rear view mirror. A corner of that metal square was embedded in the Texas Instrument calculator my dad had in his left shirt pocket.

Dad's accident (5)A picture of the exterior rear view mirror with the camera sitting on the top-middle of the back seat looking straight forward. This metal is what was stuck into my dad’s Texas Instrument calculator in his left shirt pocket.

Dad's accident (6)Close up of the driver’s door looking in the window to show how little room he had for his body. The metal plat on the upper left is the remnant of the exterior rear view mirror.

Dad's accident (4)Looking down into the driver’s side of my dad’s truck. The blood on the other side of the seat is from when my dad was trying to unlock the passenger door so he could get out, but he lost consciousness and never got the door unlocked.

Dad's accidentDocumenting his injuries.

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