Narrow escape from highway chaos

Michael Riebs AudiV8 at
Wed Mar 6 17:50:51 EST 2002

Praise God for your protection. That must have been very scary.

Michael Riebs
Grand Rapids, MI
'90 V8Q
'98 A6QA

----- Original Message -----
From: "Doyt W. Echelberger" <Doyt at>
To: <quattro at>
Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 3:46 PM
Subject: Narrow escape from highway chaos

> At about 8 am this morning I was driving my 87 5ktq  east into the sun,
> on  my way to Cleveland, Ohio.  My wife was in the passenger seat, reading
> the morning paper.  Traffic was moving briskly at the legal limit, and
> there were lots of cars and trucks around us.
> Suddenly for about 5 seconds the limited access highway around us turned
> into a scene much like the crashes you see on television when you are
> watching almost any big racing event. Cars and 18 wheelers zig-zagging
> across lanes and swerving onto the berm, and a brief image of an
> oncoming  (westbound) beige car careening sideways at 90 degrees as it
> jumped the median into our lanes, skidded between vehicles in our
> traffic, and slammed into a light pole on the ditch-side of our highway,
> knocking the pole off it's base.  In what seemed like slow motion, the
> came slowly arcing down across the road ahead, like the boom of a big
> that was tipping over.  The light element on the pole smashed directly
> the center of the road ahead of me, and exploded into a shower of flying
> I was in the passing lane when it all started, and most of the frantic
> activity was in the slower traffic lane to my right.  Everybody ahead was
> showing brake lights, so I had to jump on the discs pretty hard. My next
> thought was to drop off onto the center median if the car ahead stayed on
> his brakes, but that never happened and we were all past the wrecks and
> fallen pole in about 3 seconds, and people were pulling off the road on
> right and stopping on the shoulder, and running back toward the accidents,
> so I just stayed in the passing lane and kept moving, looking in the rear
> mirror.
> We were still alive, hadn't hit anything, and it was all over so fast that
> my wife just barely had time to look up from the newspaper. She didn't
> scream. I had to explain to her what we had just been through, and why I
> had braked so suddenly.
> For a brief moment, I had the perspective of a race car driver that is
> moving through a crash scene, with other cars changing lanes almost
> instantly to avoid obstacles........and I experienced a time warp in which
> each instant seemed to last forever....  I didn't like it at all.  And I'm
> glad I was driving with both hands on the wheel and at an assured clear
> distance, at a legal speed, and without the distractions of a radio or a
> cell phone. For a while, I'll probably drive  with even more distance
> between me and the car ahead, and maybe with my right foot ready to tap
> brake...
> Stay alive out there.
> Doyt Echelberger

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