White Out

Posted: September 15, 2010 in Family

Have you ever had an incident in your life that ultimately changed you forever? This blog post is about that very moment in my life.

I was cleaning out my home office the other day and came across an old Poetry, Thoughts, Journal, etc… This book was given to me by a very close High School friend following an accident to record my thoughts and emotions.

My family and I went up to Lake Placid, NY for Empire State Games, my second year making the games! Not really sure why, but we had three cars, my brother, father, and mother all had their cars with us in Lake Placid. The Games went typical for my skiing at big events…choke, with the exception of the Section IV title the year before; I did not have a good track record.

After the first run I was sitting in second place in the slalom and ready to take home the victory. All I had to do was put down a second solid run and I would go home the State Champ!! As I previously mentioned, I did not do well at big events.

Here comes the second run and what do I do? I manage to hook a gate about ¾ of the way through the course. That ended my ski racing career and catapulted me into a chain of events that would change my life and my view of the world for quite some time, maybe still a little bit.

Because of my DQ we decided to leave early and get a jump on the 4 hour drive home to good old Walworth, NY. We were getting close to Polaski when the weather really started to get quite bad. Driving my moms tiny little Hyundai in 4 inches of thick snow on the road with blowing snow was not fun.

Driving as cautiously as possible due to the conditions I distinctly remember three tractor trailers flying past us as if we were sitting still. Both my Mom and I recognized that this was probably not a very safe way to drive and hoped my Father and Brother were safe up ahead.

The next thing I remember was driving into wall of blowing snow; the worst white out I have ever seen. I told my Mom, “we need to stop”, she said no, “If you stop now someone could hit us from behind”. I nervously pushed on through, but going extremely slow as I was scared to death.

The next thing I remember was coming out of the white to see absolute carnage in the road.

We had to swerve quickly to avoid what looked like a ripped open can in the middle of the road and debris all over. The three tractor trailers needless to say were all over the road and in the ditch. Come to find out that what looked like a can was a car that got held up because someone stopped in the middle of a white out (thank you for making me move Mom). So the tractor trailers ran over the car and ripped it open and landed on the car that initially stopped in the road.

Just to let you know, not only did my Mother and I make it through with out hitting another car, but my Father and Brother did as well.

We all pulled off to the side, still very close to the accident and ran back to begin helping. Running immediately to the car in the middle of the road we found 3 children in the back seat pinned in-between the front and back seats. We pulled them out and moved everyone to the side, but that is when things quickly became a frantic search.

One of the children was missing from the car, the Mother was crying out for Deron. She yelled several times while my brother and I ran and searched under cars, trucks, etc… we had to find this child.

While all this is going on a station wagon with a mother and daughter slowed to avoid the 6 car pile up we had at this point and were rear ended by a tow truck. About 2 seconds later a tour bus some how managed to drive through everything that was going.

Not sure where he came from, but by this point in our search a young military man started helping us search and pull people from cars.

Remember earlier when I asked, “Have you ever had an incident in your life that ultimately changed you forever”, well here is my moment.

Listening to Deron’s mother screaming I come to the realization that I thought I hit something when I drove through the accident, but had thought nothing of it. I immediately told my Brother that I had to go check my Mom’s car. Chris ran up with me and the Military man was not far behind.

When I got to my Mom’s car I dropped at the front driver side wheel. What I saw was something that will never leave me. I looked and the body of 4 year old Deron Walker was lying under my tire. I instantly popped up and told screamed that I found him. My Brother on one side of the car, the Military man at the back and me near Deron we lifted the car and moved it to the side.

At the moment the world stopped dead in its tracks. I froze upon seeing the boy’s body and hearing the piercing scream that his mother let out when she saw what happened. Everyone who was around me at that moment tried to get me away quick knowing that I was going into shock.

The next several hours or so were spent in the back of a police car giving my statement and telling the police everything I could remember. I remember feeling absolutely dead as I thought I had just killed a 4 year old boy and could not wrap my head around why this was happening.

The next several months needless to say were very tough. I was getting ready for college and trying to figure out my life when all I could think about was a horrible accident. The first day I finally felt like I knew what was happening was two doses of good news and I took it as a sign.

First, I got a call from the state police letting me know that autopsy results. I was at no fault at all as the coroner said the boy died from the impact of being ejected from the car and hitting the road. While this was good to hear, I still had an enormous weight on my shoulders.

The second piece of news was my acceptance letter to the University of Montana, literally handed to me while I was getting off the phone with the police. Off to Montana I would go to start the next chapter of my life or was I just running?

Wow, this has turned out to be a rather long post, but it feels good.

So we are back to me finding my old Poetry, Journal, thing? I forgot just how mixed up I was back then and for obvious reasons. Below is one of the entries in my book from the spring of 1996 just a couple months after the accident.

“Walking through a translucent world, waiting for the beast to come and take you to that place
You saw it in your dreams
You think about it and fear it, or do you?
Never knowing when the day would come when you would get to live their
They have a sense of belonging; they never feel alone, they know someone is there for them.
The world of whispering eyes you live in never gave you the open arms of a mother you needed.
Don’t worry
Don’t end it
Someday you will see
It was worth it, all the crap you saw was just a brief preview of what was to come
Death”

Well…I have to admit, writing that all down felt good.

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Comments
  1. grammy B says:

    Wow! I have heard this story before,but I have to say seeing it written by your own hand was a feeling I can’t exactly describe. Made my chest hurt. I can’t even imagine dealing with that kind of emotion. Love ya

  2. Kathryn Woodlock says:

    Colby,

    If I could do anything over in my life it would be for me to have been driving my car on that wintery day. You knew that I hated driving in bad weather and said no problem Mom I will drive. God put the Cox family there in the middle of a multicar accident involving 12 cars for a reason. On that day you, Chris, and your father saved several lives. First you got the older gentlemen out of his car where the truck had landed. Then you immediately went over to the car and found the children in the back seat of the car that was ripped open. You got them all to safety before other vehicles hit their car. I was so proud of all of you that day. I can remember even the state police telling me what a great family that I had. They were so impressed with how you handled yourself. If I could be granted one other wish it would be for all your pain and suffering to be gone. However, it helped to shape the wonderful man that you have become.. You are a great husband, a fantastic father, and an amazing son. I love you so much.

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