Extra, extra, read all about it. Child falls out of van while it’s moving 55 miles an hour….
“Hey, lets try the Christmas Carol that’s been on the radio, Mary, did you know?”
“Yes, let’s do. That is a beautiful song. Does someone know all the words?”
One of the older girls began to lead in the song, while the other teenagers in the van joined in. I was familiar with the song but didn’t know the words.
As they finished singing, the other mother in the van said, “Why don’t you kids sing that one at the next house.”
It was our annual Christmas caroling night. Our family with dad, mom and six children joining with another dad, mom and five children would gather a couple of nights before Christmas and travel in the rural area of Illinois to carol to those we knew and loved. We would take turns each year, returning to one of our homes for good ‘ole Christmas time goodies after spending a couple hours out in the cold sharing the message of Christ’s birth in song. ‘
“So, here’s the line up for the next house,” said one of the older girls. ‘Little Town of Bethlehem, Mary, Did you Know, and Joy to the World’.”
Just then I heard this horrific sound of voices coming from the back of the van. There was screaming and yelling, mass hysteria. Then I heard it, “……….fell out of the van.”
What? Did I hear right? Someone fell out of the van?”
“Carrie fell out of the van!” Carrie fell out of the van now resonated. This was our six year old daughter..
I turned to look at my husband, the driver, as he slammed on the brakes with clarity now about what was being said.
I felt more than knew the other dad sitting behind me in the van had already opened his door and was jumping out. I grabbed my door, opening it and jumped. The vehicle was still moving.
As I began to run to the back of the van, I caught a glimpse of my husband standing in the middle of the road, waving his arms wildly over his head. A semi was headed our way. Another flash before my eyes was all of the children piling out all over the highway.
Father, help us. Was my breathless plea as I saw the mess we were all in.
Just then I heard, “I’ve got her, she’s alive.”
The other dad had her in his arms and was running toward me. As he came near I turned to return to the van and saw my husband, her dad, jump out of the way, just as that semi went rapidly by.
We all piled back in the van.
I heard crying, sobbing, heavy breathing and the fear was sharp within the confines of that van as we discussed our options.
“It’s two days before Christmas, we are in a volunteer Fire Department area.”
“Do you think they will respond quickly?” Asked one of the adults
“I am heading to the hospital in town, (it was twenty miles away), said her dad, picking up the speed to 90 miles an hour.”
The other dad handed our daughter to me in the front seat. She was crying and gasping for air. She kept saying, “My belly, my belly.”
Pulling up her coat and shirt I saw nothing but raw flesh. A large round bump was surfacing on her forehead. I felt her extremities and looked into her eyes. The sign of fear and pain glared back at me.
I heard the other mother and her oldest daughter, praying, quietly, fervently. They were asking God that Carrie be okay, they were asking God for safe travels to the hospital with calm voices amidst their tears.
After a complete examination at the hospital our daughter was determined to have a concussion and skin abrasions from her chin, down her belly, across her knees: first degree burns. She was admitted to the burn unit of the hospital.
She came home Christmas morning. While sitting around the table, having not really spoken of what had happened while she was in the hospital, I asked, ‘what happened, Carrie?”
“I remember falling out of the van. Two people in white picked me up and put me on the side of the road.”
…. two people in white pick her up and put her on side of the road.”
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