“Roll Over, Old Las Vegas Highway Mile Marker 8. Timeout 2:30 AM.”
Every Fire department has its Old Las Vegas Highway, that stretch of road that has seen multiple crashes.
I got out of bed, got in my car and drove to the scene, thinking the bars had been closed for just an hour or so, so maybe another drunk trying to make it home. I rolled up on the scene, one ambulance and a couple of Deputy sheriff patrol cars were there, red lights and strobes lights bouncing off the trees and asphalt. The SUV was off the road in the weeds upside-down.The driver and the passengers were already out with only minor injuries.
The Med crew took care of the patients, and we did our regular work: 360 around the car, check for leaking fluids and see if we could cut the battery cables.
That done we hung out on the highway until we were released from the scene. A lucky, no serious injuries call. Dodged another bullet
But maybe because it was the middle of the night, and I was still half-asleep, or maybe because I’ve been doing this way too long, driving back to the station in our rescue truck the movies in my mind started. Every mile marker on Old Las Vegas highway has a story. The place where the horses in the overturned trailer were killed, the mile marker where the snow angel was thrown from the car on a winter’s night and died with us. There were the four crosses on the road up a little farther and then Angela’s marker. There was the call where I was in the car with two critically injured teenagers and a paramedic sticking her head in the window and asking if I needed help. I remember her calm tone of voice as if it were yesterday. There is a cross back from the road a bit where two little kids died. My sister, a medic brought one of the surviving kids a teddy bear in ICU only to learn that he too had passed away. Oh yea, the head-on that killed two kids and we had to wait for hours for OMI to show up before we could extricate the bodies. On and on, a dozen more calls on that fucking road.
You know what I mean? The unedited movie of all those calls on that same road plays in your mind.
Sometimes when people ask me why I seem so detached, I want to show them the movie, right? But that would be cruel. So we keep it to ourselves, share it with the brothers and sisters. Thank you, guys, for being there and understanding.