WANTED: PLZ. HELP-Info on car accident on Rt.60- Lake Wales, July 1973 (appointed, camping)
Fort Lauderdale areaBroward County
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Hello everyone. I am searching for information about a horrific car accident that my family and I were involved in on Rt. 60 South in Lake Wales, Florida while visiting my grandparents on vacation. I was 6 years old. We here hit head on by a drunk driver at 80 mph each car. It all happened so fast. I remember many details but some parts are missing. I saved my brothers life. He was 3 yrs old. I dont know how at 6 years old I knew how to do what I did, but to this day, (I am 46 now) I just believe that God led my actions. My sister was 12 months old. She was in a car seat (that back in those days) was hooked over and strapped in between the driver and passenger in the front seat of the car. Yes she lived as well. My Mom was DOA- but she miraculously came back to life and lived. (I was with her when that happened and that in itself is an amazing story..) My dad lived. So I went on with my whole family but part of us was not wholly whole.
My family and I lived through a very hard time for years due to that accident. We were victims of another man and his familys' careless actions of letting him, a father; drive... who was severely drunk with his wife and teen child in the car. They came from Ohio. But as strong a family and people that we are, we did not remain victims.We gained nothing monitarily due to legal actions taken after the accident... nothing, not a dime. I believe that I remember the most from the accident. I felt like I was not there and that I was watching a story in a movie unfold as the whole thing occurred, but I WAS there and I WAS living it.
Now, at 46 years old, I am looking for anyone who maybe was there at the accident? A EMS worker, Policeman, Fireman, any person driving by that stopped to help us, a tractor trailer driver, the families that stopped who were camping with their vehicles with their trailers in tow, who came and picked up my screaming sister and brother and held them for comfort as they themselves cried. The 2 women who helped me as I ran around and cried in pain. There were a lot of people there helping us, the man who drove a tractor trailer and parked it sideways across the highway to block the road off because it was a horrible sight.
Why?? I know youre asking that question.... WHY? do I need to know this? Why am I searching? Im not sure!!! But because my whole life since that day I have been wondering many things, I have had a void in my heart and mind for 40 years as to what else happened in those blank dark spots in my memory. I have a need to have some of those dark spots filled with light. As the 40 years have passed by the questions have moved to in the back of my mind.. they dont haunt me as much anymore as they once used to when I was younger.
I am a mom, a wife, I have a successful career, I volunteer and help many people in many ways and always have my whole life. I have a very strong belief in God, and I am a loving caring person. I just saw the new movie that is out called The Impossible. It tells the true story of a family who lived thru the Tsunami in Thailand back in 2004. I connected with a lot of the situations and emotions in that movie. I think the bottom line is that seeing that movie sparked something inside of me and I have decided that I want some closure at this point in my life. So if there is anyone out there, maybe a newspaper reporter who covered the story.. or anyone. I realize that they may be older now, since the accident was 40 years ago but I just want talk to them about that dreaded day, hour, moment in my life (and theirs), and I want to say from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU.
Thank you for your time and any help anyone out there can give me. God Bless.
WOW...I can certainly understand wanting to learn more details of what happened when you were so young, but I'd be very surprised if you find anyone who would remember. It was a life altering event for you, but it might have been another day in the life for anyone involved in the aftermath. I hope you get your answers...I would probably be tortured by the same questions if it happened to me....good luck.
Thank You both! @Ric .. I hadnt thought that it might be just another "day in the life" kinda thing for the ppl who see accidents everyday in their line of work. @Still...I have to find out what paper covers that area and I did place a call to the Lake Wales Police dept and left a message with he Chief's office. On Monday I will follow up with that phone call again. This weekend I just started my first attempt at searching. Ill post any info that I find out on this thread.
The records are going to be tough to get. You may want to check the local library archives for newspaper articles from that day. Then see what names are in the paper and try to track down each person. You may be well served to hire a private investigator, although that can be expensive. But a good private investigator could help track down some of the people involved such as police officers, firefighters, etc.
Thank you so much Nolefan34 and JimboUSMC17. I have to try to find out what the local paper is in that area. I live in NJ. Im sure I can find that online somewhere. I called the local police down there and no one called me back. Ive been busy at work all week so Ill have to call them back again I guess.
The City of Lake Wales Library maintains bound editions of the local paper from that time period. You would have to call them and see if someone would check into this for you.
An accident on Route 60 would probably have been handled by the local sheriff (Polk County I believe) or possibly Florida Highway Patrol. I doubt that any of these will have or help with obtaining the records you seek though. The newspaper and an appeal to a bored and helpful librarian would be your best bet.
Please consider the effect that your contacting people about this might have on their lives. Some of these people have got to be in their 70's-80's. It could be startling to them. If they were traumatized by what they saw, you might bring this all back to the the surface for them, just as the movie did for you. You could also be disappointed if they have no recollection of something that profoundly affected your life.
If you do not get the closure that you seek through obtaining additional information, or you find something else out that actually adds to your trauma (you need to realize that could happen) perhaps consulting someone who deals with PTSD would be helpful. People with PTSD sometimes do go for years without much apparent effect from the trauma only to have it triggered by an another similar experience. I hope you do not take offense to that suggestion, it is meant with the best of intentions.
I was 10 years old when this accident occurred. Not sure what I remember of it, but I vaguely remember there was something. My father, if he were still alive, would remember it very well and my mother would if she did not have dementia.
The local newspaper at the time was The Daily Highlander, which is now The Daily Ridge News or something like that. It is Polk County and that Sheriff's department may have info. The Lake Wales Public will definitely have archives and info.
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