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Monday, March 15, 2010

THE PHAETON

July 10th, 2005
A friend of mine once said, "You tell everything you know, just to have something to talk about." Friday I had the oil changed in my silver 2005 Volkswagen Phaeton paid a porter to wash it and filled it up with gas, so I was all set for the weekend.

I went to bed early Saturday night and got up early Sunday morning and did a few small chores around the condo. Then I went to the Braum's on White Settlement Road for breakfast and decided to run down to Lowe's to get a plant, potting soil, and a couple other items. I went home and tidied up all the plants on my front and back balcony's then decided I needed another plant just like the one I bought to hang on the light post in front. I went back to Braum's, got an iced tea to go, and went back to Lowe's then started for home, pretty boring huh?
I was driving down White Settlement Road and on my right is a park that runs along the Trinity River. There is a small paved parking lot for people to park, a paved bike trail, and a walking trail. Usually there are lots of people out there, but it was about 3:00PM and one hundred and three degrees and all I saw was this kid of about thirteen riding with his back to me on the grass along the side of the road. I remember thinking "Why isn't that idiot kid on the trail?" About that time he turned without looking and darted right in front of me! I really didn’t have time to hit the brakes I just jerked the car to the right and went in between two small trees which I was glad to have missed then I hit the brakes and the car wouldn’t stop it just slid right down the bank and into the river. The windshield broke from the force of the water and started to cave in. It was covered with water at first and I couldn’t see, but then it cleared and the car began to float and started turning around in the water. I tried the door, but I couldn’t open it and what little I did just caused more water come inside the car.
I opened the moonroof and climbed out through it, the car was still moving and I thought “Could you float a little closer to the bank?” But no, it floated right to the middle of the river, turned completely around and sank to the door handles. I was sitting there wondering what to do when I realized I had “On Star” I didn’t believe in cell phones then, I do now though. I wondered if it would even work, but I put one foot in the driver’s seat and one in the passenger’s seat, squatted down and pushed the button. I could still hear the CD playing and the air conditioner was still blowing. The lady came on and I asked her to call 911 and told her I’d run off the road and that my car was sinking in the river. She told me she would call the emergency crew and wanted to know if she could keep me on the line. I told her, “No, my car is filling with water and I’ve got to get out!” I got back up on the roof and just sat there. The car started doing all kinds of weird stuff as it filled with water. Bells and chimes started going off, the left rear window rolled down, the driver’s seat tilted up and moved forward and I could hear sizzling, popping and cracking, noises coming from the speakers. I was afraid the moonroof would close on my legs so I pulled them out and sat crossed legged on the roof. It was real quiet and I heard another strange noise and realized it was the horn honking under water.

Finally I heard sirens and some firemen with the water rescue team ran down and asked me if I was OK and if anyone was with me? I told them I was OK and I was the only one in the car. All I had were a couple of tiny cuts on my legs from shards of glass from the windshield.
They threw me a life vest and I put it on and then slid down the side of the car and into the murky, nasty smelling water. I felt like a dummy when I realized it was just above my waist, but I did need their help getting out of the water and on to the bank. Once I walked up the bank I couldn’t believe it, five police cars showed up, three fire trucks, a truck with a boat behind it and an underwater rescue unit truck. One of the underwater rescue divers was hot. He was a tiny little guy with a fantastic hard body and he looked great in his wet suit. Eventually two television news crews showed up, set up cameras and started rolling film. The police told me I didn’t have to speak to them if I didn’t want to and that they didn’t like them anyway.

When one of the guys came up to me and asked what happened? I told him the guy in the car told me that a kid on a bike ran out in front of him and when he swerved to miss him and ran into the water, he said “Oh, it wasn’t you?” I said, “No, I just helped.” It was obvious I was wet. He asked what happened to him and I said, “They took him away in an ambulance.” Then they took their stuff down and left. The fireman standing next to me smiled and said, “Good job!”

It took then almost two and a half hours and two tow trucks to get the car out of the water. It almost turned over in the water and the weight of it almost pulled one of the wreckers down into the water with it. It took two tow trucks to get it out. Finally the wrecker driver gave me a ride to the dealership, so I could get another car to get to work the next morning and he took my car to the body shop.

I’m just sick about it. The Phaeton was the most fantastic car I’ve ever owned and I loved it!
That’s how I spent my Sunday.

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