December 30, 2001 will forever be engraved in my memory as the worst night of my life.I was a senior in high school and with my then girlfriend when I went to a friend’s house. At 11.35pm I stopped in front of a yellow traffic light, which I normally pass over, kissing my hand and giving a decent gas. While two of my best friends arrived next to me at the red light, there was the driver of the new car he had just got. We had always discussed for fun whose car was faster (during the “Fast and Furious” era). This was his chance to show it to me, and when the light turned green, we pressed the gas.
The road consisted of two lanes that went to one lane, and I was in front of him.As soon as the tracks were fused, a car drove onto the road and cut me. I drove too fast to stop and since there was no place to the right of the car, I steered over the yellow line on the opposite lane and passed the car. My friend did the same thing, but was not successful. I looked in the rearview mirror, but he wasn’t behind me. I quickly turned my car around and raced up the road again. What I saw completely shattered my soul.
My two best friends had come off the road and hit a brick wall – both the car and the building were in ruins.I got out of the car and ran to the crash site. The car was covered in debris and gravel and there was nothing to watch from my friends. At that point, people ran from a nearby bar because they heard the impact and tried to remove debris from the car. I ran over and ripped a huge piece of sheet metal from the car that people wanted to remove to get to my friends; When I withdrew it, everything underneath was covered in blood. My back is still damaged by it, the adrenaline whipped through me at the time and let the pain fade into the background.
My friend in the passenger seat had a large cut from ear to neck and his blood bubbled out of it.My friend in the driver’s seat was spitting blood and his lower leg was looking through his kneecap. To this day, every time I think of this picture, I have to give myself a minute, go to another room and gather. No one should ever have to see a family member or a friend in this situation.
My thoughts started to race, I knew I had to act.I screamed that someone should call 9-1-1. I ripped down my sweater and wrapped it around my friend’s neck and pressed it as tightly as I could. I still remember the feeling of blood, brain and shards of glass when I tried to help my friend. When I looked at my other friend in the driver’s seat, he wanted to help me. He couldn’t speak, but I could see he knew what was going on. I took his hand and tried to comfort him, telling him that everything was going to be fine and the ambulance was on the way.
He could see that his leg was injured, and I grabbed his eggs and said he still had some, that’s all that matters.I held my friend’s neck with a sweater in my left hand and as I leaned through the passenger window, I grabbed the hand of my other friend who had been driving – those minutes felt like hours. I couldn’t do anything but reassure them that everything will be fine. My friend in the driver’s seat slowly lost consciousness. Eventually came the police, ambulance and fire brigade. I will never forget the last moments I had in the driver’s seat with my friend.
Although he could not speak, he communicated with me with his Spirit; I knew what he was thinking and he knew I was there for him.Much more cannot be said without words. His head nodded and I could see he was losing consciousness. He grabbed my hand, looked at me, and I saw his soul leave his eyes, his grip loosened, his head fell down and he was gone. I had lost him.
As soon as this happened, I was pulled out of the car by a police officer and firefighters as medics rushed in.I heard them say, “He still has a pulse” and I prayed that they could save him. My friend in the passenger seat was able to quickly remove them and send them to a local hospital; Although he was unconscious, they thought his condition was stable and he survived. My friend in the driver’s seat couldn’t free them for hours and had to bring out the jaws of life.
All this time, my then-girlfriend watched in horror. I ran to her and told her we had to contact my friends’ parents.This was 2001, so smartphones were not an option and at that time not all had a phone. I asked someone in the crowd if I could borrow my phone and called both my friends’ parents – both of whom were incredulous and everyone rushed to the scene of the accident. I will never forget my father’s face when he saw the accident. I could see his soul being crushed. His baby was held in a car covered in debris and blood. Firefighters and doctors tried to remove him.
They were eventually able to remove him and take him to a hospital.They did everything they could, but at 3 a.m. they informed the parents that he had left. When the parents came out of the room with the doctors I already knew, my friend had died in the car, pressing my hand with the last energy he had. My life will never be the same again.
It is unnecessary to mention that this event was the talk of the city and I was in the spotlight.District attorneys wanted to file a murder charge against me. I was a week away from my 18th birthday and one of my best friends is dead and the government blames me for his death. Fortunately, the father of my best friend who died was a lawyer who quickly closed this case – I will be forever grateful to him for that.
The next few weeks felt like a dream: the hospital visits, the awakening, the funeral, the commemorative events, everything was blurred.I decided to be taught at home for the rest of the semester because I didn’t want to deal with all the gossip and school issues. My friends wanted to visit me, but I was just done. I felt like I was the one responsible for his death, and if only I had gone into that yellow light, my best friend would still be alive.
To this day, I think of Ryan every day.I live with the pain of being responsible for ripping a son and brother out of a family, and it hurts. The therapy was a joke, and I learned to deal with the pain myself. It gets easier over time, but I still have to cry suddenly when something brings the events of that day to my memory.
To see someone die in an accident is horrible.When you see your best friend die and feel responsible, you can’t explain it in words.
Now that I am older and have my own family, I pray every day to the universe that my wife, son and daughter never have to experience anything like this.
I’ve given up driving faster cars and always drive extra cautiously, especially when someone else is in the car.Life is just too short.
I love you Ryan.Rest in peace.