It was a fine Sunday in July, and we had just got back from church, and, except for the necessary chores, we planned on taking the day off. I was sitting under the big Maple tree, sipping on a cool beverage and chatting with some neighbours who had dropped by. Just then, I noticed Dell driving by in his ½ ton (he tooted the horn and waved) and mentioned to Dad that it looked like he was heading for his Gravel Pit just past our place. About 15 minutes later, we could see a huge cloud of dust coming down the road at a very good clip. I mentioned to Dad that it looked like Dell’s new tandem gravel truck, but it sure as hell was moving faster than its usual speed. I figured it must be Dell’s son, Garry, and as it passed by, I could see I was right.
Garry was only 12, but like most of us farm and trucking kids, he had already been driving for a while. Unfortunately, he thought his last name was “Petty” and that everything had to be done wide open. As he passed, Dad said that he hoped the kid was ready for the soft spot in the road just past the other side of our garden. Dad had just finished that comment when we heard the crash and looked up the road to see Dell’s truck in the ditch with the engine still going at full revs. Len’s pickup was the closest, so we jumped in it and headed for the scene. When we got there, I jumped out of the back and ran up to the driver’s door and opened it. I could see Garry slumped over the wheel with blood all over his face and his head touching the front glass and his foot still on the go pedal, so I quickly reached over him and shut the engine off. Len was the next on the scene and told me to move so he could help Garry. Then he yelled at Dad to take his truck and get Dell. Dad took off up the road to the pit while Len and I slowly moved Garry out from behind the wheel and onto the grass on the other side of the road.
By this time, Garry had started to come to, and we could see the blood on his head was from small cuts that had little pieces of green glass in them. The windshield had not broken. It only had a crack in it. We then saw that Garry was still holding the bottom half of a broken 7 up bottle, which explained the green glass.
Mom soon arrived on the scene and cleaned up the cuts and wounds, putting some gauze around his head to stop the bleeding. Dell and Dad came back while we waited for Gary to regain consciousness. They checked him over for any more damage and then loaded him in Dell’s ½ ton, and they headed for the hospital.
Len and Dad went over Dell’s truck, and we could see what had happened. It looked like Garry had taken his eyes off the road to take a slug of pop just as he hit the soft spot. This jerked the wheel to the right and into the ditch. When the truck hit the ditch, his pop bottle had hit the metal above the windshield and shattered, cutting Garry’s face up pretty well and then he was knocked out when his forehead hit the windshield.
I got our tractor and pulled the truck from the ditch, and then we towed it up to Dell’s pit and went back and relaxed for the rest of our Sunday. Garry got only a couple of stitches but spent a couple of days in the hospital with a concussion. Dell had about a $500.00 bill to repair his “new” truck. No one got badly hurt, and they fixed the truck, but I learned one thing from this whole situation - when you’re driving – DRIVE and concentrate on what you are doing. Oh yeah, and slow down a bit Mr. Petty.