Have you ever had a situation develop around you that left you scratching your head and thinking, "Did I really see what I just saw happen?" I've had more than one or two. I'll tell you about some.
It was winter, and I was on the Coquihalla highway just past Merritt and headed towards Vancouver. A heavy snowfall had left about a foot of snow and slush on the road. It hadn't been plowed, so I was cautious, following two ruts as I came down the grade toward Larson Hill. I saw a truck coming up fast behind me, so I moved over to let him pass. He was pulling a van with a Conventional Peterbilt that had Quebec plates. It was slippery, so I slowed even more, thinking I might see him again. I could see the remainder of the hill from where I was and watched as he rapidly overtook a car. At the bottom of the hill was a cloverleaf interchange, exiting onto Coldwater Road back to Merritt. He was in deep snow and started to jackknife as he passed the car. I put the flashers on and slowed further. He missed the car but touched the New Jersey divider on the left, which made him veer to the right and hit the cement divider on the exit to Merritt. He blew through the concrete and headed into an extremely steep pit in the cloverleaf. As the trailer went through the concrete blocks, the back trailer doors broke open, and two pallets of Booster Juice spilled out on the highway.
When he passed me, I noticed two drivers in the truck. As he went through the barrier, the tractor disappeared, going over the road's edge and heading down. What I saw next, I could not believe. The truck and trailer did an end-over-end and landed completely upside down. It was about 100 feet below me and about 500 feet from the highway. When the unit landed upside down, the trailer was squashed ½ in height, and the tractor's roof was crushed level to the hood, with all the wheels in the air. The police soon arrived, and thankfully, neither driver got killed, but I'll bet there was one guy who didn't drive double again.
The last story that caused me to think, "What kind of deal is this?" It was many years before the other stories. I was a lease operator hauling mobile homes with a single-axle Western Star set up to haul mobile and modular homes. I was going from Saskatoon to Regina with just the tractor, and as I got to the small town of Craig, SK. I saw a lot of dust and shrapnel flying. There was an accident. Polaroid cameras had just come out, and I always carried one to verify any damage on the homes before loading them. I saw no one was hurt, so I stopped and turned on all my rotary lights and flashers.
I grabbed the camera and stepped out onto the truck's fuel tank, took a picture, pulled the photo out and set the camera back on the seat to let the picture develop. Before I got out, I heard a screech, and another car slid past my truck and ran into the already wrecked car. I reached back in and took another picture. I set it on the seat, and there was a horn and a crash that hit the last one to the pile, bounced off the wrecks, and went into the ditch backwards. Another picture! I think I took seven pictures in all. What a mess. By the time the police arrived, it was just a big mess, so when he asked if there were any witnesses, I told him about the pictures. He said he wanted them because you could see who was first, why the guy was in the ditch backward, and how all the pieces fit. He gave me a form that he filled out and took the pictures. The form was a voucher that I could use at any R.C.M.P. detachment so they could reimburse me for the cost of the Polaroid refill. No one was badly hurt, so I got myself ready to go, and as I slowly drove around the junk, I could not stop thinking I was sure the cop was thankful to have those pictures.