On July 5, 2011, my father in-law was involved in a very serious accident on I-8 near the San Diego/Imperial County line. In his words, the truck suddenly pulled to the right while going down the Inkopah grade like he had a flat. He spun out and went off a 400 ft cliff. He was trapped in his truck for about an hour and was covered in diesel fuel. He was rescued by a prison guard on his way to work and a border patrol officer. The CHP said that if it was a gas powered truck, it would have ignited. Once extricated from the truck, Richie walked with assistance to an awaiting Mercy Air helicopter which transported him to Sharp Trauma Center in San Diego.
After a week in the hospital recovering from head trauma and a kidney injury, Richie was released from Kaiser hospital on July 11th. The next day his truck was finally retrieved from down the cliff and taken to a tow yard. Richie wanted to see his truck and retrieve any personal effects. I drove the family out to Jacumba to the tow yard to take care of the paperwork and see the truck. The attached picture is my father in-law Richie standing next to what is left of his prized limited edition Harley Davidson Ford F250 Super Duty Crew Cab Diesel 4×4. It was an emotional experience for all. The workers at the tow yard were very surprised he survived. They had a similar style truck there, not a Ford, that had rolled two days prior to Richie. The truck wasn’t damaged nearly as bad but the driver didn’t make it and the passenger was ejected and is on life support. I know Richie had God as his co-pilot.
Upon leaving the tow yard, Richie wanted to see the crash site. So, we headed out to the scene. The skid marks leave the highway 50 feet before the guardrail starts. I have no idea why the entire section isn’t railed, it should be. It was a bit of a shock to see how far down the truck was with all the large boulders. Again very emotional. We headed back to San Diego but not before making a detour back to Jacumba. After leaving the tow yard and going through the tiny town of Jacumba, Richie noticed that kids had a lemonade stand on the side of the road. He wanted to go back there and get some lemonade from those kids and make their day. The nice folks there had a chair for Richie to relax in while he sipped his drink. He seemed to heal even more just watching the girls and sharing small talk with the older folks. This little detour was well worth it. The little girls were happy, Richie got to share some stories with their parents and we all made some new friends.
I guess there is a little moral to this story that I didn’t even realize until now. Don’t be in such a haste to get through the day for it’s the simple things in life that matter most. On this day, it was little girls with a lemonade stand that helped us see that.
The family would like to thank all the members of the Ford team that make such an awesome truck. We know that if Richie wasn’t in a Super Duty, he wouldn’t be with us today. When you say Ford Tough, you mean it.