SPC Mark has been home from Baghdad for about five months. For 15 months, we were anxiety ridden knowing that he was in one of the most dangerous places in the world.
On Thursday night, our oldest son Mike was driving home having worked on a yard project for his mother at our house. He was heading west on Butler Blvd., the main east-west limited access highway from the Beaches to Jacksonville. He was in his 1999 silver Ford Contour SVT, heading toward the entrance to I-95 North.
A black Mercedes, going about 90 mph witnesses say, rear-ended him. His car did a NASCAR-like 360 crashing into a concrete barrier before coming to a stop. The Mercedes kept going for about a half-mile before it stopped. The driver, a woman, fled the scene on foot.
After a five-hour stay in the emergency room, Mike was released with a sore neck and back, a collection of bruises that have yet to blossom, and a busted up finger. The impact of the collision was so hard the radio flew out of the dashboard and the deploying air bags blew the lenses out of his glasses.
All-in-all, we are very, very lucky that he is alive. The SVT has a very low center of gravity for handling and rather than flip, it spun. The car saved his life. Had he been in any of the other family vehicles, we would be planning a funeral this morning.
Unfortunately for the poor little SVT, it's destined for the salvage yard. Only 5,000 of them were made and some day it would have been a collector's item. It's why we hung on to it for nearly 10 years.
The Mercedes, a high sport model, looks to be totaled as well. Still haven't heard about the driver although the police said at the scene that she had a DUI and a suspended license.
We all know where the most dangerous cities in the world are. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that our own cities can be just as dangerous.