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Car Accident Friday, Feb. 13th, 1998

Revised on

On Feb. Friday the 13th 1998, I was involved in a car accident on Hwy. 101 near the Brisbane exit in Brisbane California. My car started to spin out of control at 65mph from the slow lane and it struck a guardrail and flipped up in the air and into a creek. I am very lucky to be alive. The story of everything that happened is going on below...

03/18/98-Police Report in today. Looks like they say I'm the one at fault because I couldn't control my car (maintain lane stuff). Report says that witnesses say I wasn't doing anything unusual. I was changing lanes to the slowest lane on a 4 lane highway, then something unknown caused me to go out of control. They also report the there were skip/skid marks on the highway (my car has ABS brakes. This couldn't happen at the rate of speed my car was going). Report also says that my car was airborne into the aqueduct (creek). I think this is also not correct. I have pictures of the accident scene and there is proof my car traveled through the fence located at the top of the aqueduct (creek).

03/28/98-Photos of the car and the accident scene on hwy. 101.


Car is towed to a storage area. You can see the sever damage on the drivers side from the impact of hitting the guardrail.







Inside view from the drivers seat. I can't recognize the twisted dash and metal. If you look at the lower part of the pic, you'll see the yellow dead-man's bag that they place on not so lucky accident victims.






Front view of the GTI VR6. No, my head didn't hit the window. The damage shown here was caused by the impact from the guardrail.







Passenger side view.








The Guardrail that I had no trouble plowing through.







This is a view of the aqueduct I fell into after plowing through the guardrail.







This is a view of the path I blazed to the aqueduct from the freeway to the water.











Picture of car a few months before the crash.







Another pic of my little VR6 before the crash.







The Call

On the day of the crash, I got a call from a friend in San Francisco at my home office reporting that his computer backup (mirror drive) was not working. After a few technical questions I agreed to meet at his office and check out the complaint. When I arrived, as he said, the drive was dead. I started to call around and look for a suitable hard drive at CompUSA, Frys and Micro Center. I found the drive at Micro Center in Santa Clara. I got a company check from my friend/client and left to pickup the drive.

The Crash

I was on my way back to San Francisco nearing the Brisbane exit going northbound on Hwy. 101 around 5:30ish. It was a clear evening, dry and some traffic. I was traveling in the second lane to the slow lane when someone in front of me was going a little slower than I was. I decided to transfer to the slow lane where the traffic was not as heavy. As I attempted to make the lane change everything fades to black... My next image is a guardrail coming at the car, then a terrific impact on the drivers side at about 50mph caving the drivers side in about 2 feet. Apparently I hit the guardrail square dead on with my drivers side. Then the car sheers off the guardrail ripping it from its anchored foundation. The car then fly's about 40 feet into a sunken aqueduct that runs alongside of the freeway. The impact was so great that my drivers door was ripped from the car and clamped around the guardrail. Later a CHP officer told me that it took them 30mins to get the door separated from the guardrail.
I was now in the aqueduct with my legs hanging out the drivers door cavity. I noticed some good Samaritans along side the top of the aqueduct. Two people came down to assist me. One person named Kevin was helping me with my legs. Another person (a woman) was also there to assist me. The aqueduct was about 10 feet below the freeway. If it wasn't for these good Samaritans, I don't think the rescue personnel would have been able to see me and get to me to take me to the hospital.
As I sat there I came in and out of it looking around surmising my condition. I did a quick damage check and could tell my legs were broken. The left lower leg and the right lower leg. My chest felt like it was on fire. I thought I had internal bleeding, but it turned out it was a bruised lung and ribs from the seat belt pulling on me as the car was spinning and crashing around. My arms and hands were okay but a quick check of my head revealed cuts and bruises.
As I looked around at the inside of my little car I could see the twisted metal broken glass and wreckage all over. I didn't recognize my little GTI. Everyday I got into it and drove around even to the corner store for convenience items was a pleasure. I would love driving up to skyline road and pop in my Titanic soundtrack tape and drive and drive for hours. It was a real escape for me.

The Rescue

Well after a while the rescuers arrived. It was dusk. I think I saw about 20 firefighters climbing all over the car. I heard one say ,"let's cut the roof to get em out!". I quickly informed the firemen to just pull me from the car. There was nothing holding me in, in fact the car door was gone and nothing in the way of pulling me out. They sent for a flat board that they strapped me to and preceded to pull me up the sharp incline out of the aqueduct. It took about 15 men in an assembly line to hoist me up and over the wall to the ambulance. Once in the ambulance I began to feel a little better. I didn't like the the heavy THUD as the slid me into the truck. It was very painful from that moment on. I wasn't feeling anything up till then. Just some sharp pinches here and there, but once in the ambulance I could feel every bump and turn. It was like riding a roller coaster with broken legs. I think this discomfort is what caused my next episode. As the ambulance was rushing me to the San Francisco General Hospital, I started to have shallow breathing. Then after a while I stopped breathing. I was revived by the paramedic slapping me awake and yelling, "Breath Mother Fucker!! Breath!!". I started to breath to his satisfaction until we reached the hospital.

At the Hospital

Once at the SFGH, I don't remember much. I remember someone pulling on my left leg to straighten it I assume, and I remember being strapped to a gernie and slid through a large donut shaped thing, head first then legs. I guess they were taking pictures of me somehow.
I remember waking up in recovery room with my fiance and my best friend A.J. there holding my hand for just a few short moments. After that there were very short memories of other friends, Geoff, John and others. It was a hell of a night.

While in the hospital, I was transferred from room to room. One day I would be in intensive care then moved to a regular room then back again to intensive care. According to the Doctors, I had a bad blood clot in my left leg that they were watching closely. If this blood clot was to move, it could lodge itself in my lung or brain. If this were to happen, it's curtains for me. The drug I'm taking is coumadin. Its a rat poison used on humans to thin the blood and to make blood clots dissolve.

While all the medical staff were saving my life and limb, I was treated with the experience of a community hospital. Some of the roommates I had were very interesting person to person encounters.



As of this writing (June 1, 2001) I am doing pretty good. Still have memory problems that plague me. I have one hell of a time remembering little things like appointments and things to take to the appointments. When I get to a clients office Its really hard for me to remember what to do. Most reading is to hard and I depend on location of things and relationship to manage my day to day activities. On the physical front, my knees are really giving me trouble. Walking around all day like I used to is out. If I walk more than a mile in one day, I have to rest the following day just to make to the next day. I recently had the hardware removed from my legs and since that operation its gotten much worse. It was sore before, but now I'm lucky to do 2 or 3 appointments for clients in one week. Of those service calls, I need to watch it. I usually schedule my days appointment from 10am - 3pm. Meaning that I will be onsite at a clients office by 10 and home resting by 3pm. On Wednesday I take the day off and of course Saturday and Sundays are for family.

I spend more of my time re-learning the computer skills I once had. I remember getting out of the hospital and not touching my computer for months. It felt foreign to me. As if I was learning to play a guitar or something. One day one of my friends came over (AJ) because I wanted to him to show me how to play a game I once liked and was fairly proficient at. He spent the good part of the morning showing me how to play the game.

Other days, I try to read as many books and magazine as I can to get back up to speed. Its slow, but coming back to me.

All in all, I'm doing pretty good, but man I'd do anything to get my VR6 back and the normalcy I once had.


- Michael