So I am sure that some of you have seen the couple of pics that I posted to Facebook yesterday afternoon. Here's what happened...
For the last week or so we have been getting my Tahoe ready to drive down to SBN, not to compete, but to drop it off! The plan was to take it Robin Butler (BassHeadsEnt) for a complete system build. We had (4) 18's in a 4th order wall planned, with IA 20.1's to power them, Sundown Audio Neo mids, Incriminator 4ch's to power them, Mechman Alts, XS power Batteries... all the good stuff basically!
We spent the last few days, and c ouple of thousand dollars to get the Tahoe ready for the trip. I replaced brakes, axle shafts, exhaust, all of the AC components, ball joints, pitman arms, drag link... just LOTS of work and money.
The idea was to drag my little Nissan pickup down to Incriminator Audio's shop and leave it there, and drive the rest of the way in the Tahoe. We would have left it in Tampa, and rode back with the guys from Incriminator.
So there we were, in my Tahoe, with the Nissan on the trailer behind it. I had my life long friend Gabe, who now works with us in the truck with me. It ws raining pretty good where we were, and we were both sort of on edge about it.
We made it almost exactly half way to IA's shop when it all happened. We were almost to Corinth, MS on Hw 72.
I felt a vibration for about 1 second. It felt like one of those grooves that they cut in the road to wake you up (over on the edge of the lanes). I heard it, looked at my friend Gabe and asked WTF was that?... "I dunno??"
We never heard it again, and were just trucking right along.
We were doing 65mph (no lies) and were in the right lane of the highway, with a 18 wheeler in the left lane, right next to us!
We have tried to piece the rest of the story together as best we could from this point, going from witness statements, what we saw, and from other "clues" from the accident scene.
We were coming to the top of a big hill, and there were steep drop-off's on the side of the road, probably 40ft tall. When we go to the very top of the hill, the truck suddenly shook really hard, and jerked to the right, sending it sliding sideways in the lane. I though that the semi truck had hit the trailer, but what really happened was that the rear driver's side wheel came OFF! The truck driver later told me that one of my lug nuts hit his windshield, and that he watched my wheeel roll down the highway about 1/4 mile!
I tried to steer into the opposite direction, which helped a little, but the weight of the truck and trailer just kept pushing us forward down the lane. How that 18 wheeler did not get tangled up with us is a mystery, and a miracle!
We slid pretty hard for a couple hundred feet, and then....
I felt the truck dig into the pavement and start to roll over onto its side. I screamed "Here we go! HANG ON!"
My truck began to flip, with me on the lower side, and the passenger side going up and around. The trailer almost flipped, but right when it went up on its side, the straps broke and the Nissan pretty much drove off of the front of the trailer, spun around in the lane, hit a road sign, and rolled backwards down the hill!!
The trailer coupler came loose from the hitch on my Tahoe, but the chains stayed connected (I had just welded the safety chains to the trailer the night before).
My Tahoe flipped twice! I firmly believe that if we did not have the trailer still chained to the truck, that we would have gone a LOT higher, and flipped a LOT more times! The trailer acted somewhat like an anchor, keeping the rear end of the truck towards the ground. We went up hard and fast enough that the top of the truck never even hit the ground. Imagine that big ass truck spinning like a football twice, then landing upright again!!! It was SCARY!!!!
I just gripped the wheel tightly, and waited for that one big hit that sent me into the next world!
Luckily that trailer dug into the ground pretty good and stopped up towards the top of the hill. I can only imagine how far we would have gone, and how many times that we would have rolled without that trailer!!
As soon as we stopped, I looked at him and said "We're alive, Let's go!!" We jumped out and ran, in case there were more cars, trailers, or semi's coming at us! At this point, I was thinking that we got tangled with the semi, and that he wrecked also. Thankfully we never made contact with him at all!!!
There were batteries, alternators, laptops, straps, and car parts all over the field! Most of the stuff went out the back windows, and luckily did not come up to the front of the truck.
Witnesses, the truck driver, ambulances, and police were there quickly! I know that none of them will ever see this, but THANK YOU to all of those that helped us out there!!
Obviously, my Tahoe is totalled. I think that the frame is fine, engine and drivetrain are fine (still runs good), but the body is toast. A ball joint broke on the front end, but otherside it is all intact. I'll just part it out and sell it off I guess.
The State Trooper wanted me to have it towed by a local wrecker, but I wasnt going for that!!! I called a wrecker from where we live (2 hours away), and paid him $500 to come and get it!
While we waited on him, Gabe walked the highway to find the other wheel, which he did!
The Nissan pickup got some damage to the side, broke the driver's window out, and flattened a tire. We had a spare for it, so we had someone pull it out of the field, changed to tire, and it was ready to drive! lol
The trailer got a damaged wheel and tire, but luckily for us, that tire was held up off the ground where it was sitting, so we took it off, and I took off down the highway to find a replacement at a junkyard!
About the time that I got back with a new wheel and tire for the trailer, the wrecker arrived. We drug the Tahoe and trailer down to the access road, and hooked the trailer to the Nissan.
I pulled the trailer back home with the Nissan, and the roll-back brought the Tahoe home!
We were both wearing seatbelts, and as of this morning, are both very much OK!
I have a case of sore ribs, and a damaged ego. That's about it!
Gabe got a nice gash in his head from a flying dashboard (It was in the back of the truck), some rash on his right arm from the seatbelt, and sore ribs from the armrest and center console.
I feel very blessed and very lucky to have walked away from this! There are so many other ways that this could have turned out, so I'll gladly accept this result with a BIG SMILE!
I still get to see my friends and family, my dog and cat, and will be here to regroup and fight another day!
Wear you seatbelts!
Never trust an impact wrench for lug nuts!
Don't take on too much work in too little time!
Live every day like it's your last, because it easily can be!
I will be taking the next few days off! No emails answered, no PM's, etc. I need a break!