I was a little flustered as I was in an unfamiliar area and there was loads of construction going on. I missed a fork and had to go almost all the way back to where we'd started from in Hurst at the chiropractor and we were finally on the right road - 820 South, passing through Fort Worth.
We were traveling in the left lane. For a short time, the kids were being quiet and Jacob was asleep. Then suddenly out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the car on my right was rather close and at a strange angle. I knew he was headed towards us. I braced myself and sure enough, he hit the front right corner of the van, pushing us into the guardrail where the left front corner hit.
Angels must have been watching over me because in my panic, I remembered to keep the wheel straight instead of swerving back the other direction and pressed the brakes slow and steady until we finally stopped. In the satellite image below, the top red dot is about where we slammed into the guard rail. The bottom dot is about where the car finally stopped.
While we were skidding down the highway, I thought we might flip or go into the other lane. I kept thinking about the kids and shouting at them to hold on. For a few horrifying seconds, I didn't know if we were going to make it.
Once the car stopped, I checked behind me before I unbuckled. We had left enough debris that cars had stopped far behind us. I figured it was safe to get out. Shaking, I opened the back door and Jacob woke up and looked at me sleepily as if to ask "what just happened?" I gave Esther and Nathan strict instructions not to unbuckle while we waited for the police. Everyone, fortunately, was fine. The kids were more concerned that we wouldn't be making it to the planetarium show!
I called Daron first thing to tell him we probably needed a new van and to please come get us. Then I called 911, though the dispatcher told me that someone had already called and police were on their way.
The other driver came over to check on us and exchange insurance information. He seemed rather cool about the whole thing - especially as he outright told me he had just been released from the hospital and shouldn't have been driving. In fact, he continued, this was his third accident in as many months! (I made sure to share this information with the police.) When he saw that I had three children in the car, including an infant, he was rather sober.
The police showed up pretty quick but the whole process took about an hour. The kids thought it was funny, but I felt bad that we had created so much traffic behind us. While the officer was writing down names and birthdates, the kids were concerned he was writing us a ticket!
Then both older kids had to go to the bathroom - in a bad way! So Nathan peed on the grass in front of all the rubberneckers on the other side of the freeway - for an entire minute or more. And Esther got the joy of using the trashcan we keep in the car. Ugh.
Daron came and parked on the grassy median so we could move everything to his car. I emptied the car completely as I didn't know if we would be getting it back or not! The tow truck arrived, took the van away, and the officer stopped traffic on the other side to help us off the median. Daron had received a business from the towing company and somehow Nathan thought it was a ticket for parking on the grass. He is so worried about getting a ticket!
We went out to lunch and dealt with the insurance phone call on our way. It wasn't where we'd planned to be that afternoon, but we weren't at the hospital and we were all together and safe. That's all I could ask for!