South Whidbey Record


LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Keep those wheels straight and us safe

February 14, 2014 · Updated 2:56 PM


February 6: I drove my Prius down the island, heading for the ferry to present to writers in Seattle. Kristi Etzell was my passenger, and we waited to make a left turn onto Double Bluff to pick up Anne Belov.

As oncoming traffic sped by from an earlier ferry, I commented about the approaching opening and how we would just wait, to be safe. Within a couple of seconds, we were rear-ended. The skid marks extended 100 feet. My passenger went to the hospital to get checked out, I refused, had Anne drive, did my presentation in Seattle, and went to the hospital later.

To the person who passed us on the right (and you may not even be aware of your contribution to this): There are reasons it’s not legal to pass on the right at an intersection. If I hadn’t known to keep my steering wheel straight and NOT turned to the left in preparation of a turn [see the correction on page 4], Kristi and I may not be here or would have had more severe injuries.

To the young woman who hit us: Keep your eyes open for all possibilities. Anticipate them. Keep appropriate distance between you and the car in front of you. And when you’re making a left turn, never turn your wheel in preparation of the turn.

Thank you for your compassion, apologies, and remorse. We could tell you were devastated. Be grateful. Someone else may have missed this lesson, but I have a hunch it won’t be lost on you.

Be safe.

To our amazing Whidbey responders: At the time, I couldn’t even come up with names for those of you I know personally, so I’ll spare trying to now and speak to you all as one. You cheered us up, kept us warm, made sure we were safe, got traffic moving, and when you heard I was refusing the ride to Whidbey General and going to Seattle, you even went back in the car to fish out the ferry ticket you remembered seeing.

Thank you. I’m so grateful for your quick, organized, caring actions.

And to those who make such

decisions: As word of my accident gets out, I hear of other accidents at that intersection. I hope that adding turn lanes at Double Bluff is on the list of upcoming projects.

February 7: It was a sore birthday for me the next day, but a grateful one.

February 8: Thank you to the kind couple who tried to get our dog when they spotted him loose on Smugglers Cove Road. They had stopped traffic, and others were there helping.

And to the truck driver who barreled past the waving arms urging you to slow down, who then ran over and killed our sweet schnauzer Ollie: Look outside yourself. Your impatience broke the hearts of many, including kids who have already had enough loss in their young lives.

And back to that couple, who tried to get vet care and eventually brought Ollie back home to us — we didn’t even get your names, but we’ve talked about you, thanked you over and over, and hope you know how grateful we are.

We know why we live here, and yes, part of it is Whidbey’s beauty, but a greater part is the spirit of this community.

My presentation in Seattle was well received. My body will heal and my heart will heal. When steering wheels are in our hands, let’s be where we are. And let’s be the people we are meant to be.



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