Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hasta La Vista, El Caballero

On Sunday afternoon at the Rio Puerco bridge near mile marker 174 of I-25, "Tadpole" received an up-close-and-personal experience with how an airbag deploys during a collision. When El Caballero's front-right tire blew, the car went out of control, battering along the right guardrail, then careening over to the left guardrail, then caroming back to the right guardrail, where the car became wedged with a portion hanging outside the rail over the river bed. Part of the right hand fender was crumbled like tinfoil, the hood became completely disconnected and broke part of the windshield, and thick metal struts and pieces of steering column were snapped like twigs. Interestingly, the engine appears mostly undisturbed in spite of the massive damage to the suspension and steering systems and the large collection of assorted car parts that were severed or smashed from the Cavalier.

Tad's weekend had been interesting enough up to that point with a Scout camping trip to Fenton Lake State Park, where Tad and the other Scouts all caught fish. Then it was time for a We The People meeting (constitutional law) before heading for Socorro.

Fortunately, Tad escaped serious injury, receiving bruises, scratches, "seat belt rash", and "rug burns" from friction as the airbag scraped Tad's chin and flung one hand against the headliner. Tad received a ride to the Socorro hospital, where he was treated before he could eventually get a ride to Wal-Mart to replace some personal gear and continue to New Mexico Tech. There he is spending the week in a mineral science program. One remaining challenge for Tad is eyesight; although the airbag didn't break his nose, it did break his glasses and neither Tad nor the sheriff's deputies could find the left lens. The deputies and emergency medical technicians thought Tad had been extremely fortunate to get off with such minor injuries.

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