The Perfect Accident (1/5)

We were traveling along E. Aguinaldo Highway in Dasmarinas, Cavite in a Hyundai Grace van going home to Manila from Tagaytay.  We had just come from a wedding at the Tagaytay Midlands.

It was nine o’clock in the evening.  The weather was cool and dry.

The asphalt road was smooth and the segment of the road we were traveling on was flat and straight.  But the road was unlit and dark except for the beam of our headlights illuminating our path and the flashes of light from the oncoming vehicles on the opposite side of the four-lane highway.  Our side of the road was virtually clear of traffic, we were cruising at 80kph on the left lane passing one car after another every kilometer or so.

Suddenly, a man appeared right in front of the van.  He was obviously drunk since he was not looking in our direction as he walked across the road.  He was on the van’s path and I was going to hit him.  My heart leaped within me.

I took my feet off the accelerator pedal to step on the brakes while I steered the van to the left as far as my hands crossed over on the steering wheel to avoid hitting the man, then immediately steered it back again all the way to the right to avoid crashing into the oncoming cars on the opposite side of the highway.

As I steered the van to the left I heard a couple of loud thuds before I was able to steer the van back on the right track and bring it to a halt.

“Oh no, you hit him!” shouted Mon, the owner of the van, who was sitting in the front passenger seat.

I hit the man!  The loud thuds had told me that.  I thought I had steered clear of him because I lost him in my field of vision as I steered the van to avoid him.  But it was because my eyes caught the glare of the headlights from the vehicles I was about to crash into that I lost sight of him.

I brought the van to a halt, took off my safety belts, and turned my head out the open window and glanced back at the man I had hit.  He was on his belly, sprawled in the middle of the road, motionless, about ten meters behind where I had stopped.  I immediately backed up to a point where the man was now a couple of meters in front of the vehicle.  He’s not moving.

“I think he’s dead,” I told Mon as I got down from the van to get a closer look at the man.  Mon likewise got down and walked toward the man.  We both took a closer look at him. Motionless on his belly, the man’s head was turned to the right.  He was dipped in a small pool of blood from the neck up to his face.

He’s dead!  Nobody could have survived such an impact.

“We need to rush him to a hospital!” I told Mon as I was about to lift the man to carry him to the van.

“Don’t move him,” Mon answered as he walked back toward the van, “we need to call a hospital for an ambulance.”

We don’t have that much time.

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