On Friday night Rudi and I were heading to Cape Gate shopping centre for my aunt’s birthday dinner. We were standing at the traffic light approaching the mall. The car in front of us was waiting to turn right and had moved forward over the white line as the light turned green for us. Rudi said to me ‘Check this car’ referring to an oncoming vehicle that had accelerated to jump the red light. His sentence was not even finished yet when the oncoming car hit the car that was standing in front of us. BANG! Glass everywhere, cars spinning. Shock.
I put our hazards on and Rudi got out of the car. I was trying to call emergency services. I cracked my door, then decided against getting out of the car. I heard Rudi swearing at a guy that had gotten out of the car that had jumped the light. It was then that I saw them. A small baby (a little smaller than Babyice) and a young boy lying face down in the road, unmoving. I started to cry. I saw someone walk over to the baby, he looked and walked away shaking his head. Rudi also went to look at the baby and walked away. Someone else came over and both the baby and the young boy were covered. Rudi said a lady had taken off her jacket/jersey to cover the baby. Rudi told me the baby was lying with his/her eyes open, with a head wound, but there was no blood. I knew then that the baby had died. A head wound would have bled profusely had there been a heartbeat. He said the young boy had a very long cut down his face.
I was still holding for emergency services when the first ambulance pulled up. I ended the call. The accident happened at the intersection of Cape Gate Medi Clinic, they must have heard the impact and sent the ambulance. They were there in a matter of minutes. We couldn’t stay at the scene because our car was almost out of petrol and we were already running late for the dinner. I was shouting at Rudi, saying to him ‘THAT IS WHY YOU ALWAYS BUCKLE UP YOUR CHILDREN!’. It was probably just the way I reacted to this terrible thing I had just witnessed. I was still crying.
The next day I was given this link to an article about the accident:
It was confirmed that the young boy died a few hours later in hospital. Emergency services also confirmed that the children were not strapped into the vehicle.
I was shaken. I didn’t really eat dinner as I had no appetite. I cried some more. All I wanted to do was get to Babyice and go and hold him tight. I had to sit through the dinner though. I felt so…mortal. So fragile. I watched a family get ripped apart. I watched children die. I watched a baby die. A baby as small as Babyice. The next day I saw Babyice playing and thought to myself that the poor innocent child from the accident had been playing the previous day just like he was. They never saw it coming. They were defenseless against the impact. The car that jumped the light definitely wasn’t going 60 (the speed limit in that area).
I have been buckling up for a while now already, thinking of Babyice. Knowing that if something happened he might be left without a mother. Rudi is quite lax with it though and I keep reminding him to buckle up. He complies. I guess I need to get him into the habit of it since he was not doing it before. Our car doesn’t move unless Babyice is strapped in. I’ve always had a zero tolerance policy with that. Rudi never really understood why I was so anal about it. Maybe now he does.
I still get unsettled when I think about it. The image of those children lying on the road is imprinted in my brain. It could have been us. We were very nearly involved. If that oncoming car had hit the car in front of us at a different angle they could very well have hit us too. By the grace of God we weren’t hurt.
I’ve been advised by a few people on Twitter to go for trauma counselling since witnessing something like this is considered a trauma. We have a facility at work that I may make use of.
Here is a snapshot of my twitter stream at the time (click to enlarge):