My brother, Mitch, drove up from Dallas by himself on Saturday while Gretchen and I were driving down from Chicago. We'd swapped cellphone numbers so we could keep track of each other on the road and see when we'd be arriving in Marion.
He left a bit before we did to head back to Dallas, since he had the longer drive -- Gretchen and I went by the old farm with my sister Judy and her husband, Gary, to look around.
Since we were going through Champaign on the way north, I negotiated with Gretchen to stop and have dinner at Papa Del's, my old favorite college pizzeria. When I got there, I noticed that Mitch had called, so I called him back, found out he was about 30 miles outside of Little Rock and let him get back to driving.
Later, we were on the Tri-State, almost home, and I decided to give Mitch a ring to find out how he was doing.
"I'm just sitting here," he said.
"Oh? Are you home?" It seemed unlikely, barring teleportation.
"Well, why are you sitting?"
"I'm in the hospital."
"I was in an accident in Little Rock."
It seems it was raining and a car in one of the outside lanes decided to travel in a direction perpendicular to the roadbed, heading for the median. Mitch watched and was hoping that the car didn't bounce back off the median, because he was really short on evasive choices.
No such luck. Mitch broadsided the car on its return trip across the road. This set off the airbags, after which Mitch wasn't able to do much driving. Several cars then crashed into him from behind, tossing him around a bit and probably causing the broken ribs, which seem to be the worst physical result. Fortunately (and miraculously) no one was badly hurt, although Mitch was worrying about whether an 18-wheeler would be plowing into him next, which would have made sure that people were badly hurt.
Mitch's car is totaled. Mitch isn't. In something like this, you've got to count broken ribs as a good outcome. When he got out of the hospital -- he was waiting for X-rays when I called -- he planned to find where his car had been taken, recover his luggage, find a hotel room, and fly back to Dallas the next day. I'm assuming that all that went according to plan.