How Not to Start a Disney Vacation: A TMSM PSA

IMG_2207Sunday August 24th started like any other travel day, that ended with a huge twist. Instead of flying out of Norfolk to MCO, Drew and I had elected to fly out of Richmond. We figured to save 50% on airfare, for basically the same flight at the same times with both flights being none stop why not when Richmond is only another 30 minutes away from us. So Sunday was spent packing luggage and prepping the house for us to be gone a week, as we were meeting the Ni-phews (nieces+nephews) in Orlando for a week, and their first trip to Disney. None of what you are about to read has been made public. Originally we didn’t put it out online because we had family driving from VA to FL to meet us at the parks and didn’t want to worry them while they drove. Then I realized if I told this story publicly, people would be worried and would want to know we were ok, and if we were in the parks, my lack of response might cause panic. So we filled in the “inner circle” and left it off grid, until now.
We hit the road on 64 West bound leaving Hampton Roads about 5pm. Around 6pm, the most smooth and mellow “pack and go” day we have EVER had in all of our trips to Disney did a total 180. I remember seeing the sign about the 295 split being 30 minutes out, and saying to myself oh cool we will be on time for my call. I remember playing Frozen Free Fall on my cell as Drew drove our black 2002 Sportage named “Scotty” to the hotel in Richmond.  I remember looking up to see the cars ahead of us all randomly stopping and saying “why are they stopping?” and I remember Drew saying don’t worry we were fine. From there the world went upside down. I remember Drew saying “Hold on”, a white car beside me, then looking at my feet and seeing what had been the glass in front of me. I then remember Drew asking “are you ok” (and it seems I informed him I did NOT want to be upside down and I did NOT like being upside down!) and people yelling from outside the car asking if I was ok and could I open the door, as I frantically looked for my glasses, clutched my phone (which never left my left hand in the wreck) and then in a panic grabbed my backpack that had my laptop and Duffy in it fearing something else would happen and I would loose my Duffy and my laptop (which holds my whole life on it).


From there it got calmer and easier to remember. The people who saw the wreck kept asking if we were ok.  When EMS checked us out they kept saying they were amazed that all we walked away with was some cuts, bumps and bruises. Drew had some small cuts on his leg and arm from the glass and I had a head bump and slight arm pain which they think is where my arm hit the side of the truck and later became a really ugly bruise. We both felt we were ok and didn’t need to go to the ER. But we did realize we had a car full of luggage, were 30 minutes from the airport, and a bunch of personal stuff that had to leave the car as it would NOT be returning home the following weekend when we got home from Disney, so luckily my father was able to come help with that issue.

(My arm. The day after, and today)

After an hour and a half of standing around the side of the highway, the truck being flipped back onto it’s tires by a tow truck, and the State Trooper gathering statements from multiple witnesses, we finally got to leave the highway, empty the truck, AND found out exactly what happened.
It seems as we were stopping some jerk who was speeding clipped the back of the SUV by the passenger side rear tire, causing us to spin clockwise, and the front tire of the driver side hit a white car, causing the car to flip while spinning, and then we slid on the roof about 10 feet or so.  Here is the most insane part of all of this, the guy who hit us, KEPT GOING. That’s right, somewhere out there as of last weekend is a white car, with body damage on it’s front end, major paint transfer, and a driver that had NO concern as to whether we lived or died in that flip over. The Virginia State Police are actively looking for this person based on the AMAZING witnesses who gave statements, and stayed around to ensure we were ok, to those witnesses I say THANK YOU!!  If you think you know someone who acquired new body damage on Sunday 8/24 about 6pm on 64 west bound in Virgina just east of Richmond, or have any details on this wreck please contact the VA State Police.
We made it to the hotel. We got maybe 4 hours of sleep between the alarm clock being set an hour early in the room, our flight time, and us both being a mess and unable to sleep right. We made our flight to Orlando, we got to Orlando and had an AMAZING time with the family and the friends we caught up with, and made it home ok.
But here my friends is the point of this story, the very important PSA. We weren’t hit from the front, so no front airbags deployed. Being a 2002, the SUV didn’t have side airbags, BUT Scotty had seat belts. Wonderful, amazing, LIFE SAVING seat belts. The EMS, County and State PD all kept saying “thankfully you had on your seat belt or this would have been a LOT different event”. Because of those seat belts we were safe, alive and able to meet the ni-phews for their first trip to Disney.IMG_2315

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Michele Atwood is the Owner/Editor of The Main Street Mouse and it’s subsidiaries and author of the books “Moving to Main Street U.S.A.” “How Many Sleeps Till Disney?” and “How Many Sleeps Till Disneyland?” Michele also contributes Disney news to the Joe Kelley Morning Show on 107.3 WDBO in Orlando. She and her family made the move from Michigan to the Orlando area to pursue their Disney dreams. Michele is a life long Disney fan, and has two sons who have followed suit, each going on their first Disney trip before their first birthday’s. Part of the goal Michele has for The Main Street Mouse is not only to keep members informed, but to create somewhat of a Disney Family by relating to others through personal experiences and opinions. Also, Michele is making it a priority to share stories of inspiration and hope to other Disney Fans in an effort to share the Magic and hopefully make a difference in the lives of others. ~ I enjoy writing personal perspective blogs, doing TMSM Meet Ups for our readers, and keeping the constant interaction going with others, sharing the Disney Magic to people when they can’t be at their Happy Place.

Michele has 6610 posts and counting. See all posts by Michele


6 thoughts on “How Not to Start a Disney Vacation: A TMSM PSA

  • September 3, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Of all the safety elements in vehicles today I believe the most effective is still the seat belt. Thanks goodness you were both belted in.

  • September 3, 2014 at 10:39 am

    OMG! So glad you guys are okay! And that you had a great trip in spite of it! 🙂

  • September 3, 2014 at 5:12 am

    Wow, so glad everyone is okay. That’s so scary! I really hope they find the guy who hit you. Thank goodness for seat belts!

  • September 2, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Thank God for our seatbelts; am so glad you are ok! After that you deserved a good Disney vacation.

  • September 2, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    So very glad you were wearing your belts and are ok. My daughter was clipped on 95 heading to work and her vehicle tumbled 3 times across the opposite lanes and stopped on the other side of the highway shoulder. her harness and side , front airbags kept her safe and cocooned. After the jaws of life cut her out of her Jetta, she walked away with minimal airbag burns and bruises.

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