Thomas McKenzie
by grace alone


Thomas McKenzie's Blog.

Out of Nowhere


Last night, Sophie (my younger daughter) and I were in a car accident. No one is dead or permanently injured. But I thought I should write about it.

It was Laura’s birthday. The three of us had had a great time at dinner with our dear friends the Smiths. They’re in town with their twin baby girls, who will be baptized and be our goddaughters on Sunday. 

I was driving my 2014 Toyota Prius C, Sophie was in the passenger seat. We exited I-65 southbound at Harding Place, and took Harding east. We were in the right lane. It was dark, almost 10 p.m. I think. Traffic was pretty light. Our light was green, and I was going 35 miles an hour, passing the CVS, crossing Trousdale. Sophie and I were talking about my grandmother, her great-grandmother, who was one of the first female medical doctors in the U.S.

Then I saw a headlight in my face. Glass shattered everywhere. Our car went sideways, but I must have pulled it out. Sophie was screaming. I kept driving down Harding Place, on the extreme right side, slowly coming to a stop. 

My first job to was see if Sophie was injured, and then to comfort her. She thought she might be cut, but didn’t seem to be. She had glass all over her, we both did. We talked about what to do, and I helped her choose to get out of the car. I tried to open my door, but it was completely caved in. I crawled out through Sophie’s door. I asked her to call her mom, who had come back from the restaurant in a separate car. 

There happened to be an ambulance already at the intersection. It was randomly on the street. The fire station is two blocks away, so they were there quickly. A couple of guys saw it happen, including the guy who owns a pizza place attached to the gas station on the corner. Also, the lady in the car behind us saw it happen. I got their contact information. 

I got information from other people (cops, firefighters, and witnesses). This is what they told me: The guy who hit me was driving south an SUV on Trousdale at 45 miles per hour and ran straight through a red light. He’s an Uber driver, but didn’t have a passenger. He did, however, have a dash cam on. So he recorded the whole thing. He did say he was going to delete the footage, but I’m told he was prevented. He told the police it was his fault and was taken to another hospital.

My head was hurting, especially the top of my head. I seem to have skinned it on the little metal thing in my hat when I hit the sun visor. My shoulder was hurting, as was my left leg and my neck. My head was throbbing. The EMTs put me in a neck brace and laid me on a board. They asked where I’d like to go. When I suggested Vanderbilt, they said that was fine but Vandy was very busy and it would take a long time for me to be seen. Southern Hills was much closer. I don’t have a high opinion of Southern Hills, but I figured that they would be faster, and how bad could they really screw this up?

I ended up at Southern Hills. That was not a good experience for a number of reasons. Frankly, I don’t feel like writing about all that here. So, that aside, I feel totally beat up today. The top of my head is tender. My main problems are 1) I’m pretty sure my scapula has a fracture and 2) I have burning sciatica pain in my left leg. They gave me pain drugs, and that’s it’s own weird feeling. 

Sophie wasn’t injured, but she was shaken up. So was my lovely wife. My good friend Nelson came and hung out with us in the ER. He pointed out that being t-boned by an SUV at 45 miles an hour could very well have killed at least me and possibly Sophie, too. That car slammed right into where I was sitting. But God protected us. I’m hurting, but we’re not dead, and we’re not permanently damaged. I’m so grateful. 

It was scary. This accident reminded me how fragile life is, how fragile my life is. There was no way I could have avoided this accident. There was nothing I could have done, and I never saw it coming. My life could easily be over right now. That is a huge deal to me and my family. I’m grateful to the Lord, but I really don’t know why God protected me. There are so many people who have died in Mexico this week by surprise. Why did they die and I didn’t? I have no answer. So I am grateful, and I am living in a mystery. 

Thomas McKenzie