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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-15-2001, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Milwaukee, WI
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My POST-JemFest horror story - what fun...

Well, Jemfest was fantastic, but more about that in another thread...

As most of the attedents of Jemfest know, I drove down there. *Well... the 24 hour drive was not exactly enjoyable, but it worked. *The way back however, is a whole 'nother story. *

There were three of us. *Myself, Sarah and Leon. *We left around 10:30AM (Orlando time) on Sunday to head back to Milwaukee. *Things were going well, I was sleeping in the back while the other two did the driving to Cinncinatti (Leon's school). *I was driving the final leg of the trip after Leon was dropped off. *Should've been easy. *We were planning on getting to my house around 9AM and then Sarah was going to drive from there to her home in Minnesota. *Things didn't exactly go as planned.

Enough of this, down to the story...

Around 4AM (central time) I'm driving through the eastern part of Indiana. *If you've ever been to Indiana, you know how terrible exciting this area is. *There were NO cars, NO street lights... nothing but road. *I'm going along in my Blazer, around 80 or so... when I hit a deer. *Never got a chance to move out of the way. *I was in the left lane, and it came out of the ditch that was the median of the freeway. *Hit the damn thing head on, saw it literally summersault in the air at least once, and hit it again before it could hit the ground (hit it the first time at probably 80-85mph and at least 70mph the second time). *I started sliding all over the place while trying to stop. *I was screaming like someone just ripped my nuts off with dental floss... which woke Sarah up quite nicely. *After looking at my skidmarks later, I saw we were literally about 1 foot from hitting the concrete barrier on the right side of the road. *Luckily there were no other cars. *Even more lucky for us, neither of us were hurt... I thought for sure we'd be killed. *And before you ask, we were both wearing our seatbelts. *Airbags didn't come out... so if there were not belts, I'm sure our heads would've been getting really nicely aquainted with the dashboard.

Well... my Blazer is dead. *It was a nice 2000 LT... I was going to sell it today to buy something more stlyish/gas efficient... but that will have to wait. *The entire front grill is gone. *The front-side panels are crushed in. *The front bumper is destroyed. *The hood is dented in enough where it will need replacing. *Radiator is destroyed. *I didn't get to look, but hopefully there is no other engine damage. *There was a lot of fluid leaking so I fear a water pump got wrecked too, or something equally bad. *Passanger side headlight is gone too. *It's all repairable/replaceable... but it will be a while... and the thing is certainly not drivable.

So anyways, back to the story. *There we were in Nowhere, Indiana. *It's like 4:15AM and about 40 outside. *We managed to wave down a trucker... he was a real cool guy (didn't get his name). *Drove us to the next exit where we met up with a real schmuck of a cop who took us back to the accident site for the report and all that. *

Quote from jerk cop:

"I'm not saying I'm glad you got in an accident... but it gets kinda boring around here... I was hoping for something to happen... glad you could come and wake me up... give me something to do..."

Near quote from Jay:

"Oh, I'm just soooo glad I could make your day. *Want me to go fry you up some donuts while I'm at it?" *(edited for 4-letter content... I figured that wouldn't be the best thing to say at the time so I bit my tongue).

Anyways, he finally got all the paperwork done... got a tow truck to take my truck/trailor and us away. *We ended up being dropped off in Greensburg, Indiana. *This town has a Wal-Mart that is probably bigger than the town itself. *Other than that... little excitement there. *It was now around 5:45AM. *We checked in at a Best Western there to rest up while I tried to find us a way home. *

My insurance company couldn't get a car, they said you need to be 25. *I think that is a lie... but that's what they say. *So... we were stuck. *Finally, my dad was able to borrow a friend's truck to come get us. *around 8:30PM he was finally there. *

I called one of the guys from the towing service at his house. *He was a nice guy, let me get my trailor from the lot 4 hours after they had closed. *So... at least I had all my luggage/gear. *

We were finally on the way home... made it to Milwaukee around 3:30AM. *Got 3 hours of sleep and went to the rental center to return my trailor.

I'm still waiting to see what can be done about my Blazer. *Insurance guys want to fix it down there... but that would require me going to Indiana and driving it home. *12+ hours of travel time would be involved. *I'm seeing about getting a flatbed truck to have it brought up here. *Hopefully Chevy roadside service can arrange something.

As much as this all does suck... I'm am just incredibly happy to still be alive. *As I said, I thought for sure that the truck would flip over, or the deer would go through the windshield, and we'd both be dead. *There was no doubt in my mind at the time.

Few small side notes:

-All my gear appears safe. *My 200lb rack case was lifted off the floor of the trailor and landed on top of some posters, big deal. *A screw fell out of another amp... and all my cases have damage to them. *Like I said, big deal.

-I couldn't find the deer. *It has to be way beyond dead. *Do the math, full size Blazer carrying a 500+ lb trailor, hitting it head-on at 80+ mph and then again at 60+. *No chance for that deer even knowing what happened. *I'm gessing it flew into the median where it came from. *We skidded at least 500 ft before stopping, so I never bothered to backtrack the entire distance to see if the deer was back there.

-I hit the deer only a matter of yards from a small creek. *The creek had a sign posting it's name; "Deer Creek"

The end.
jay ratkowski is offline  
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-15-2001, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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My POST-JemFest horror story

Oh yeah,
Needless to say, I won't be leaving home for a while. *No vehicle for who-knows how long. *Nearest grocery store is about a 1.5 hour walk. *Nearest McDonald's or other fast-food place is about a 40 minute walk (maybe less). *Nearest Walgreens is maybe 20 minutes. *Time to find a bike.

(Edited by jay ratkowski at 2:19 am on May 16, 2001)
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-15-2001, 10:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2001
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My POST-JemFest horror story

All I can say is thank God you are all OK. *I've been in situations like this and cheated death more than once.

Things like this make my heart sink - especially as a Jemfest organizer, I feel some responsibility. *

Take it easy Jay and let me know if there is anything I can do to help. *This discourages me from driving to Jemfest 2002 next year (wherever it will be), but I'm still on track for a long drive there.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-15-2001, 10:44 AM
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My POST-JemFest horror story

Thatís a very unpleasant way to top off a great weekend. I am very glad you are alive! Now you will remember ďDeer CreekĒ the rest of your life.

Insurance claims can be a pain in the butt, but itís a good thing you have it. Donít let them screw you.

Gonnaí fly next year?
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-15-2001, 01:34 PM
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My POST-JemFest horror story

"Deer" Jay,

That was a scary story. After all of that, I am glad to hear you guys made out better than the deer. Thankfully you were driving a big vehicle when this happened.


Knowing Jay, his plane would have hit the deer, so it is actually better that he was driving.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-15-2001, 03:57 PM
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My POST-JemFest horror story

Glad you are ok, Jay.

I just can't believe that jerk cop. *Well, what do you expect, right? *As long as he doc'ed the accident as a 100% accident, I'm sure your insurance will cover the damage. *Best thing is you and your friends are ok. *Now everything is just a matter of incovenience for a while.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-15-2001, 04:35 PM
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My POST-JemFest horror story

I think a good offering would be to have Jemfest in Milwaukee next year.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-15-2001, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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My POST-JemFest horror story

Rick... knowing my luck a plane would've hit a whale. *:cheesy:

PS - Thanks a TON for lunch!!!
jay ratkowski is offline  
post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-16-2001, 03:31 AM
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My POST-JemFest horror story

I knew you'd be making a long post when you got home, I just didn't expect that one! Hmmmm, kinda reminds me of my last drive home from Florida! At least the tree lived :biggrin: Damn sorry to hear about your trip, I can definately relate. Glad to know you're safe, and home!!
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-17-2001, 05:57 PM
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My POST-JemFest horror story

Whoa....what a way to bring a road trip to an end. *It's a bummer your blazer got crunched, but, it can be replaced, you and Sarah cannot. *I'm glad nobody was hurt. *Good job at keeping it on the road Jay.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-29-2001, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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My POST-JemFest horror story

Total cost of repairs for the Blazer: *$6300. *That includes my $500 deductable. *It *should* be done this week. *Then I have to get down to Indiana to bring it back. *I'm still vehicle-less, but not missing driving too much.
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