I had the scariest experience today. I was on my way to the dump, singing along with my music. When I got to the bottom of the hill, sitting at the lights, I lost my happy. The guy in front of me didn't seem to understand the concept of "green means go". We sat through the advance light, the main green light, a red light...and another cycle of green. Once the cars behind me started honking, I got out and stomped up to the guy in front of me. When he rolled down his window, I snapped "Is your car broke down? No? Then do you think you will be going soon?" and huffed back to my own car.
He finally went during the next green light, but instead of turning into the proper lane, he ended up going into oncoming traffic. For a second I thought "He's drunk". But when I thought about it, I realized I hadn't smelled any alcohol on him. And then I saw the kids. Three little boys, peering over the back seat at me. He swerved in front of me, and careening side to side, drove down the highway. Normally, I would have let it go. I would shake my head, and go my own way. But I could still see those boys, so I followed him. Thankfully he wasn't going fast, just swerving. Every time he went into the opposite lane I honked my horn, and he'd swerve back. I had my hazard lights on, and I was flashing my lights, hoping it would make him pull over. Mainly I didn't want him to run into anyone else, or go off the road into anything other than a snowbank.
After about fifteen minutes, I wondered if this guy was ever going to stop. The kids were still popping up and looking at me every once in awhile, and I noticed that the van behind me was keeping far back as well. Eventually, as we drove out of town, it dawned on me that we were leaving cell-phone range, and I don't have a phone. I pulled over, and flagged down a vehicle. They phoned 911 for me, and told the police all the details.
I really thought I was done. The police had been given the information, and the dangerous driver was out of town now. But then I started thinking about those little boys, going off the road with an unsafe driver, in the snow. So I pulled back out onto the highway.
When I caught up to the swerving car, he was just going into the ditch. The van that had been behind me was now tailing him, and had also called 911. We ran over and pulled the boys out of the car, and tried to talk to the driver, but he was totally unresponsive. Awake, but not speaking or acknowledging us. We took the boys to the family van, out of the wind, where the mom from the van kept them entertained. The husband and I went back to the car in the ditch. We still couldn't get the guy to speak to us, but we both agreed.....no alcohol smell. No sign of drinking, other than the driving. We couldn't convince the driver to get out of the car. Eventually, we caught a break. The oldest child (I would guess 9) mentioned that his dad needed to eat. Turns out, the driver is a diabetic. I had some candy mints in the car. I had to actually pry his mouth open, and put the mints in, but he ate them after a minute.
By the time the police arrived (small town proof: the cop was my neighbor/a co-worker's husband!) the driver was out of the car, and standing upright. He still wasn't speaking, but he looked much better. The officer went through his wallet and found a medical card, listing him as a type 1 diabetic. What I assumed was drunken driving was actually insulin shock.
I was still shaking when I finally headed back towards town. I was so scared that I was going to see those children in a really bad accident. None of them were in seatbelts. They kept looking back at me, and I felt totally helpless.
A twenty minute errand became a 90 minute trip, but it was worth it to make sure things ended well.
I hugged my babies when I got home.