It is tradition for a Dental Hygiene class to have a pinning ceremony to celebrate their accomplishments as a class with their program faculty.
We scheduled ours for about 2 weeks after our graduation with the school. It was held June 1, 2010 at the Westin La Paloma Resort. It was quite the celebration, with everything from discounted hotel rooms to $55 tickets for our guests. My class paid for all of us and 1 guest for each of us. Everyone else had to buy their own tickets.
My grandma was in town from Chicago, and was very excited to attend. I also had my mom and brother Alan come along with my sweet husband, of course. I bought a new dress and shoes for the occasion and had a very enjoyable time with my classmates and family.
It was a little bit unfortunate because by the time June 1st rolled around, I had been done with school, boards, everything for almost a month and was pretty much moved on with my life. It was nice to spend the evening with my classmates and our families, but at the same time I had thoughts of finding a house, moving, getting my license, finding a new job, my husband finding a new job, etc. running through my head all night. I tried to just let all those things go for a few hours and just enjoy the evening.
I was recognized for being the Hospitality committee chair. We watched an adorable slide show of our two years in school together. Listened to a few speeches from some of our faculty and colleagues. Ate a dinner that was very good (I'm not sure if it was $55 good, but it was good). Enjoyed the ice cream bar, as well as some dancing and catching up.
We all left around 10 pm since everyone except Dan and I would be driving back to Mesa/Chandler that night. Alan and my grandma left together, and my mom left shortly after them, probably around 10:15 or so.
Dan and I returned home, put our PJs on, and were sitting in bed on our computers (facebook, etc.) when I got a chilling phone call.
It was my mom.
Mom: "Jill? It's Mom. I got in an accident and I'm sitting in a ditch on the side of the freeway. I didn't know who else to call since everyone at home is probably asleep."
Jill: "Ok mom, it's alright. Are you ok? We're putting our shoes on right now. Where are you?"
Mom: "Yeah, I guess I'm ok. My right side hurts, but I'm not bleeding or anything. I don't really know where I am, I'm sitting in my Jeep and all I know is that I'm looking at the Toltec bridge from where I am. I called 911 like 15 minutes ago, and no one is here yet."
Jill: "Ok, we're leaving right now. We'll get there as fast as we can."
First of all, for those of you who may not be quite as familiar with the stretch of I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson as we are, Toltec is in Eloy, AZ which is about 5-10 miles south of Casa Grande. She was about half way home. This also meant that it would take us about 45 minutes to get to her.
We got in the car and drove as fast as we could without being pulled over. I called my step-dad's cell phone in the process. My mom hadn't called him in fear she would wake up my 9 year old sister with Down Syndrome who only sleeps about 4 hours per night.
He asked me what happened and I explained to him what my mom had told me.
She was driving in the right lane of I-10, after just stopping the exit previous to get gas and a Coke. Then, out of no where, there was a huge noise, almost like an explosion, and something slammed into the back of her Jeep Grand Cherokee. Due to her speed (75 mph) and the speed of the car that hit her (at least 75 mph) the impact sent her into a violent spin in the middle of the interstate. Luckily there were no other vehicles around at that point, because she said that she spun completely around at least twice and remembers seeing the headlights of the oncoming traffic behind her. Upon seeing that in the first spin, she closed her eyes, kept her foot slammed on the brake as hard as she could, and held onto the steering wheel for dear life. The next thing she knew, she was sitting in her Jeep in a cloud of dust along the side of the interstate. The vehicle that hit her...on the other side, in the median of the interstate.
The car behind her, which was a small Chevy Malibu or something similar, had a tire blow suddenly, which projected her car into the back of my mom's Jeep and sent them both spinning like tops on the freeway.
No one is really sure how it is that my mom's Jeep did not roll. If no where else, it should have when it went off the road and down into the ditch on the side of the road. It was a pretty steep drop from the interstate down into the ditch, and if she was still spinning like she was, which all the marks in the dirt and on the asphalt say she was, there should have been nothing stopping her Jeep from toppling over and rolling into the ditch.
She definitely had Angels watching over her that night...
My mom's Jeep was towed into Casa Grande and left at the repair shop there until her insurance had it towed back to Mesa. The other girls car...just had the blown tire changed, and she drove away...
We took my mom, who was very shaken up and still in a state of shock into Casa Grande and waited at iHop for my step dad to come pick her up. She just kept saying "I'm so thankful I'm alive".
We got to my mom around 11:45 pm, left for iHop around 12:30, and my step dad got there to pick her up around 1 am. Putting us all back home around 2 am.
Now, after a month and $3700+ worth of damage (luckily the girl had insurance), my mom has her Jeep back. She is ok, and is pretty much fully recovered.
It was a very scary and eventful end to the evening. We were just so grateful everyone was ok.