@Toyota, Sienna’s are Safe, Thanks

On our way home from gymnastics my little sister (she’s 25 yrs old but still and always will be my lil sister) calls in a panic that her car hood on SR 14 flew up and shattered her windshield in-front of her face, she was on the left side shoulder next to the median with flashers on at 8:30pm in the dark. I had our four kids in the van but told her I’d be right there to help. I slowed traffic down with my flashers and eased in directly behind her. My plan was to have her get in the van, I would get in her car (I would stick my head out the window) and we would see a gap in traffic and ease out of the left side and over to the Ellsworth exit which was a stones throw away. I see her out of her car crying so I get out and give her a hug, **we are on the shoulder of the road, with our four way flashers going**

A few cars go by but then suddenly, *BANG*

I whip around to see our kids screaming and terrified, I instantly check on them to see if anyone is injured and start trying to calm them and take care of our kids. I see the side curtain airbag is deployed, all the kids are in their car seats and boosters and although crying and scared everyone is safe and healthy. I call 911 and get emergency help. Within minutes two firetrucks and sheriff arrive and start coning off the area, checking on the kids, going to see the other vehicle which is a good 200 feet down the road. I look at the damage to the Toyota Sienna and it’s munched, the passenger side rear corner mostly, focusing on the wheel.

In this image you can kinda see the other driver who was “impaired” being arrested with my brother overheard “four counts of…” something, the details I didn’t pick up on at that moment because I was focused on our kids.

We are safe, our Toyota Sienna protected us from a White Mercedes with a likely drunk driver (I don’t know for certain he was drunk, I just know my sister-in-law and brother saw him being handcuffed and heard what sounded like charges or something… -and they don’t arrest people unless there is a reason. I also heard the firefighters saying he was an “impaired driver” and not simply distracted like on a phone or something, the officer said he would stop by late / early morning to give me the details (I’m still waiting at 2:30am) so that I could get the kids taken care of and then fill out the report w/o trying to take care of them and do paperwork at the same time) going at least 60 MPH, likely faster. I know he did not even look in my direction or seem to have any concern in his face for the fact that there are FOUR KIDS in a MINIVAN that looks damaged, that OBVIOUSLY he caused the damage to.

Although our Sienna we only had for a month, (Mike Melnick @Dick Hannah, you know what we need, -did those floor mats come in yet?) we enjoyed it and want another one. I am a public high school teacher and work a second job at UPS so the financial flexibility to just have another one is causing me to have stress (Bonnie and Tara @IQCU, you’ve been there for me so far, understand through this roller coaster and help get our family through) I know things should work out and we paid for the extra gap insurance on the loan and have full Platinum Progressive auto insurance. I want to trust the right things will just work out as they are supposed to. It’s just hard not to worry and stress when things you count on and expect to go a certain way so abruptly change. I also know I’m a nice guy and “the world” takes advantage of “nice guys” this is not going to be a time where I let things slide because I’m trying to people-please. This traumatized and endangered our four children for an evening and it’s not over, I’m mad and stressed and tired. This all happened (5 hours ago) while my wife is over 2,500 miles away for a week supporting her mom (grandma) run her first marathon.

If we still had our 15 year old van that we had a month and a few days ago, or if the guy had hit a slightly different area, or if… so many other ifs, but what did happen is our Toyota Sienna kept us safe from a nightmare come true and I’m glad it did.

Update: Still waiting to hear from the Trooper, I have his name and left him a voicemail and email.

Still waiting for the trooper to give us info on the other driver and his insurance and anything more about that. I’ve called and got just regular comm dispatch again and they said he will get too it as soon as he is back in. His voice mail says to email him, which I already did, now I just need to try to show patience.

My sisters Molly and Melinda helped take all the kids to the Vancouver Clinic where we were seen by a medical doctor (the advise nurse recommended it over waiting for the kid’s pediatrician) the doctor is great, she used to be an ER doctor and has great experience plus was wonderful with the kids. Right now we are waiting in radiology to x-ray Jayden’s hand that got a cut on it just to be sure the airbag that lashed her didn’t break anything. She is drawing and playing fine with her hand, it’s sore but we just want to be sure everything is okay. — and all is fine.

Friday afternoon, I stopped by the tow truck lot to pickup any remaining belongings before it goes to the insurance company.

I also talked with the office ladies at the tow company and they were talking about the DUI white Mercedes and I was like.. “yeah that is the one that hit us.” So they confirmed to me that their paperwork showed it was a DUI, also they said the Mercedes was a loaner from a dealership and they couldn’t believe who would do such a thing as getting drunk before driving, especially in a really nice loaner car. Here is what it looked like.

And you can see our van to the left.

I stopped by the State Patrol offices and turned in my witness statements and was hoping to talk to the Trooper that has the information I need to give to the insurance company, he wasn’t there but someone there said they would make sure he would contact me as soon as get gets in.

I scheduled chiropractic appointments for the kids tomorrow just to make sure nothing is missed, insurances can figure out the details but I want to make sure the kids are for sure good and healthy.

I have the case report and talked with the trooper now, but the insurance companies have closed by now so nothing more will likely progress until after the weekend…

UPDATE: So getting this guys name on the report and looking him up there is a good chance that he wasn’t a “drunk” driver but a “high” driver, his DUI (Driving Under the Influence) was likely him using the cannabis product he is a manager of a local chain, where their mission statement is BUY LOCAL, BUY AMERICAN, BUY ********!! (Stars for privacy). But, should I keep this guys privacy, or just let this 51 year old receive the humiliation he deserves?

Saturday: Thank you Dr Ryan Macedo at Vitality Chiropractic and Wellness for being so understanding and when I called you 4pm on Friday you decided to come in on your day off Saturday just for our family. You remembered each of our kids names and ages, and took excellent care of us. I feel better knowing their little bodies are going to heal and grow and this can be behind us. We will be sure to drink extra water to help them heal. See you Monday, and thank you again for accommodating our schedule on Monday and staying late for us so that I can go to work.

Thanks Toyota, for responding and showing your support and that you care about what is truly important :)

Why customer service matters.

Yesterday I called Enterprise to get a minivan to get our kids around, once I gave them the short version of this story and the claim number they said, yes we have a minivan here for you, it’ll be $50 for the week, just come in soon we close in an hour and a half. I think, sweet, this is what I thought should happen, after talking to my uncle / cousin-in-law Jim who is a higher up manager in another state who has been with Enterprise for quite a while, who I called him first to see what to expect and because well he is family, this sounded good. Jim is actually in this Enterprise commercial :)

So I found babysitting for the kids and went in, I got there about 50 minutes before they were to close, but all the back-end stuff was dealt with from my understanding because I called them and had a quote number I was just going to sign the paperwork and walk out with keys. Sam the Enterprise representative started over on the process (which is just slightly annoying b/c I’ve already done this story and just need him to process what is in place) then he informs me they don’t have a minivan but they have a Dodge Journey which has the same amount of seats for my family. At this point, I have an hour before I need to be on the road with them to go to the Chiropractor so I figure, it’s close enough we’ll make it work. Then he also says it’ll be $250 dollars deductible up front and $39 dollars per day.. UGH.. Because the Insurance company didn’t set up a direct payment arrangement in advance the phone call that morning for the $50 deal b/c of the DUI driver, that I made my first decision on, just someone wasn’t really checking on things and gave me the wrong information. **bad customer service** So I tweet to Enterprise my frustration and EnterpriseCares want to get in touch to try and help out.

But now it’s the weekend and although I can have a conversation with a PR specialist they don’t get anyone of authority to help make decisions to actually take care of my needs.

We use the Dodge Journey, go to the Chiropractor, and yes the SUV just doesn’t fit very well with our four small kids.

Sunday, I call another Vancouver location of Enterprise and they have a minivan so I swapped the SUV for a minivan to help get us around,

I still right now have to pay out of pocket, and I could use that money anywhere else this month, we still have bills this month, and IDK about the Chiropractor, he just said take the paperwork home, take care of the kids and see you back Monday (WHICH IS GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE, thank you) I get paid as a teacher once a month and it won’t be for another week and a half. Also we need to buy new car seats after this moderate to severe crash. I need some money for that soon so that they continue to be safe as we get around town. I called my teachers union and they suggested I call VPS HR department to have them advance my paycheck under these circumstances so that financially things are less stressful and I have have that money sooner.

Also today: Sunday, I will be on the local news telling our story. KGW interviewed me this morning right after we made “big breakfast” and will air the story tonight at 10pm and 11pm, also tomorrow morning. Likely you will see our cute littles eating blueberry pancakes and then me in-front of our beautifully decorated fall homehouse. I don’t know exactly how they will edit it, but they found out the DUI driver had priors for similar if not the same thing and my message is that we all share the road and community and responsibility is a shared expectation that people need to behave and follow the understood roles of especially safety if being good and decent making life better and not worse come into play great, but safety is a benchmark that everyone needs to abide by. Freedom and individuals choices are great but they need to be in balance with the wellness and concern of others when those actions might overlap with other people.

Ashley was here in our homehouse with a camera woman (I’m sorry I forgot her name, and we talked about her 3 year old and she gets it)

They loved all the fall decor and the Dia de los Muertos skulls and our girls in the Spanish Immersion program, all good things :)

Our story on KGW

I’m still waiting on Progressive (mine, and I’m a Platinum member, lets get a move on people) to talk to Geico (his) so that maybe all these out of pocket expenses can be figured out and I can stress less and go back to preparing for teaching this week.

Insurance companies are moving forward, they confirmed that our van is totaled. Enterprise has the insurance companies information and should have a refund to resolve some of my financial stress. Mom is coming home this evening, I’ve been teaching and even got called in to UPS (ugh… there was a mix-up between requesting an optional day (what I thought I had) and a request off day (what the manager set in the system)) But overall, things are looking up.