Saturday, January 04, 2014, we'd just finished a brunch of biscuits and gravy, and Caren was leaving with Austin to pick up Katie and Mary who had spent the night at a friend's house - a girls' night out before Katie left for college that next Monday/Tuesday. Rick had left for work at the same time Caren left to pick up the girls.
At approximately 1 pm, Rick called to ask me if the police had called. He said Caren had been in an accident, removed by ambulance, and he had to leave work to pick up Austin.
At this time, we had no idea what had happened, or the extent of Caren's injuries. We did know she had been ejected from her vehicle. We learned later that her seatbelt had failed/malfunctioned, as she had seatbelt marks on her in the hospital.
What we also later found out from Austin (Caren's 5 year old son), he had unbuckled himself from his car seat, left the vehicle after discovering that Mom wasn't in the driver’s seat, as he "saw her fly out the window like Superman". Austin opened a damaged sliding van door and let himself out to search for his mom. He wanted to help Mom. He found her face down, her head and body surrouded by blood and "asleep and not answering" his frightened cries to her. He said he was cold and alone and noone would stop. He was afraid to touch her, because he didn't want to hurt his mommy.
Austin speaks of a man calling 9-1-1. He describes his truck and the man in detail.
At that moment an angel of a couple also happened on the scene and kept Austin safe and warm in their vehicle until the police arrived. This couple would later tell us that a woman, who seemed to have medical knowledge was asking Caren questions at the scene, but Caren was unresponsive. We are unaware who this woman is, or how long Caren was unconscious. There was also apparently a plow truck stopped on the side of the road as well, according to witnesses.
The ambulance and fire department arrived. Then police arrived, and the police then kept Austin in their car until Rick arrived. Austin was smart enough to tell them where his daddy worked. So the police contacted Rick at work. Rick rushed to the scene, called me (Caren's mom) on the way to the scene of the accident, and once there brought Austin home; Rick and I then left immediately for the ER. Caren had already been taken away by ambulance by the time Rick got there. We would find out later, that EMS (ambulance) never even knew a child was involved because he was in the police cruiser. We are still amazed that Austin didn't end up with any obvious physical injuries (not even seatbelt marks from his car seat).
Little did we know this was the beginning of a journey we couldn't even begin to fathom.