death of a honda

Here are some photos of a Honda wagon we once owned. It was a very nice little car for us, at least before we had a nasty run-in with a cow.

It happened late one evening in September, 1989, whilst driving back from Yvonne's folks' house in Sioux Center, Iowa.

the rest of the story


We were driving down the highway, about a quarter-mile behind another car. About ten miles from Sioux Falls we saw the car ahead suddenly pull over to the shoulder and back up. It was dark out, so I didn't know what they were doing... I figured they were changing drivers or something, so I steered to the center of the road, stradling the center line, cooking along at around 60mph. What I didn't realize was that the other car had hit a 900lb heifer that had decided to cross the road just then.

After hitting the cow, the driver of the other car pulled over and backed up to where the cow lay dying. Of course it lay dying right in the middle of the stinkin' road.

And of course it was a black cow. And it was about 9:30pm, so it was nice & dark. Naturally, I didn't see the cow... all I recall is seeing something large and black for just a split second in the headlight beams.

As near as I could determine, the bumper hit the cow's belly, and enough of the cow was under the bumper that it just rolled under the car, which had the effect of launching the car --with Emily, a very-pregnant Yvonne, and me -- into the air. We landed upside down on the right-front corner of the car, then flipped & rolled a number of times... I'm sure the folks in the other car got quite a show!

I remember pushing up (down?) against the roof of the car to keep my head from banging against it, and with the windshield blown out my hand hit pavement at least once (I've still got some scars on my left pinky from that!) As for the car, there wasn't a piece of sheet metal that wasn't scratched or dented.

The car came to a rest facing the opposite direction on the other side of the road. I couldn't open the door, so I climbed out the side window -- they were also blown out. The woman from the other car came & got Emily out, then I pulled Yvonne out through her window. (The next day when I went to retrieve some things from the car I discovered that the doors were only locked! They opened just fine!)

As for us, we were in much better shape than the car. The accident happened about 500 yards from the home of Dr. Bess, a doctor from Sioux Falls. The folks from the other car drove Yvonne & Emily to his house. The Worthing, SD, Fire & Rescue guys arrived on the scene, and after seeing the car, apparently assumed we were in bad shape, so they called in the Sioux Valley helicopter to carry us to the hospital. An ambulance was also dispatched & arrived about the same time as the helicopter. Dr. Bess determined that none of us was hurt very badly -- Yvonne was about 7 months along with Bryce, and started having contractions right away, so that was a concern; Emily had a slight concussion; i think I may have had a concussion as well, cuz I was definitely not thinking straight for a while after (some may say still!) -- so he figured we could go by ambulance.