It sounded like a shotgun had gone off in the van. All I could hear was Mrs. Guillory’s panicked screams. In the darkness the air had a sickly sweet smell and my face was damp. No one knew what had happened.
Bennett leaned forward from behind the front seat and grabbed the wheel, telling her not to drive off into the ditch. I didn’t feel any pain and quickly turned on the overhead light to assess what had happened and to see if Mrs. G was hurt. I glanced at the windshield and saw a softball sized hole that crackled its way in a web-like fashion over most of it. My first thought was that a rock had caused the hole. Bennett helped get the car pulled over and he and I immediately began to look Mrs. G. over.
We didn’t see any blood at first, but then noticed a couple of tiny little lacerations on her face and neck. Thank goodness they were no worse than a paper cut. I asked her if she could feel anything hurting and didn’t see signs of anything serious. She had been on the phone with Emma had hung up before she could explain what had happened. Bennett called her back and told her that mom was OK, and that we needed to talk to their dad.
We checked and made sure that the other three kids in the back were alright. As I looked around, I noticed that the dashboard was wet with a dark liquid. It smelled like Dr. Pepper in the car. There were random ice cubes all over the place. There was one in Bennett’s hat that had been laying on the floor. There was one in my chair. There was another in Bennett’s seat. We were covered in glass shards, thousands of tiny glass shards. Glass was stuck to our faces and clothes and hair.
Right after the windshield had been broken, Mrs. G. had asked what had come in through the windshield. Bennett and I had looked around and found the ice cube and some styrofoam, and the three kids in the back had found more of the styrofoam. It smelled like Dr. Pepper in the car, which none of us had been drinking while in the car. There was glass, foam and Dr. Pepper from the front of the car all the way to the back window. We were in a 15 passenger van.
Bennett got off the phone with their dad and called 911. They finally dispatched police officers to the scene as well as an ambulance. Mrs. G. had thought that she had glass in her eye, so we wanted them to look at her and make sure she was alright. By the time the officers were arriving, we had found a bunch more of the little pieces of styrofoam and also discovered the bottom of the same cup. It was about a 44 ounce fountain drink.
The EMT’s looked Mrs. G. over and told us that there wasn’t anything they could to for us about the glass. The best thing for us to do they said was to go to a hotel and take a shower to get it off. The policemen looked at the hole in the windshield and said that it was the worst they had seen anything make in their experience. We told them about the styrofoam and the ice cubes and the liquid.
We had not been really paying attention to the traffic that was passing that night since it was around 9:30 on a Sunday and you don’t much mind passing traffic on a highway anyway. Mrs. G. was talking to Emma and I had just turned off my iPod and was about to take off my glasses. When the cup came through the window, I dropped my iPod into my purse and somewhere in the mix my glasses ended up down on the floor beside it as well. The Lord used my glasses to protect my eyes from getting glass in them.
The policemen who had come to the scene allowed Bennett to drive the van to the Holiday Inn Express a half mile back in Hearn, while Mrs. G. rode shotgun. Gramm and Mattie rode in a police car and Gardner and I rode in one as well and followed them until we got there safely. Gardner had been shaky and unusually quiet and said that he had felt scared. I reassured him that everyone was OK and that the policemen were taking care of us and that Bennett was taking care of Mama G. and that everything was going to be alright.
It took Mrs. G. and I a couple of hours to get all of the glass off of ourselves and everyone else. We had everyone take any clothes with glass on them and put them in a trash bag. Mrs. G. and I took showers and she gave Gardner a shower since he was sticky and had some glass on him too. We waited for Mr. G. to get there with a car we could drive back home.
After getting everyone cleaned up, I emptied out my purse and found a ton of glass in the bottom. I had a couple of little cuts on my arm from when the glass had come in. I also had glass in my shoes, which I am still getting out. I hated being sticky the most. I really dislike being sticky.
Our conclusion is that someone coming from the next town north of Hearn had thought it would be funny to throw a full fountain drink on someone’s windshield and make it sticky and gross. I am sure that the assumption was that the cup would break and that the drink would go everywhere. The people inside the victim’s car would be scared, but not hurt. Part of the reason we reached this conclusion is that if someone was going to litter, they would have more likely thrown the cup out the passenger window and it would not have been so full. The ice cubes we found in the car had also not had time to melt down too much since they were still square. The bottom of the cup had hit the windshield first and I doubt if people who are just littering are in the habit of throwing a cup forward out of their car right when another car is passing. The speed limit was 70 miles per hour on this highway so with the other car going 70 and we were as well, the fountain drink came hurtling in at about 140 miles per hour. I am sure that the people who had thrown it must have meant it to be a harmless, annoying prank and never thought twice about what might really happen. It was an interesting lesson in real life on thinking twice about what you are about to do.
I thank the Lord for protecting us through the whole thing. I was so thankful that it was not an unopened aluminum can or a rock. It it had been a rock, I fear that someone would have been really badly hurt. The Lord God Almighty is Powerful and Faithful to protect us!
Pictures to follow shortly….