By on January 7, 2014

“So my daddy was like going on the same middle of the same two lines as a black car and then they both crashed. I heard a boom sound and I said “did we crash?”

So that’s the only crash report delivered by someone who didn’t get his bell rung at the scene.

I’ve been speaking to the trooper who is in charge of the accident scene to get a set of precise road conditions for that corner. We’d been driving on unplowed snow on that road for maybe thirty miles; something was different about that turn. In the space of maybe one and a half seconds, I was given a problem that I wasn’t capable of solving.


There were three people seated in the Town Car. My son was in a Safety1st Convertible car seat that appears to have completely protected him from any impact.

When the Sonata centerpunched my passenger door, the dash beam and bench seat both collapsed, which led the dashboard to basically explode as the roof collapsed on my passenger’s head and pinned her. The Jaws of Life were used to cut her out after my son and I were on the ambulance at which point she was flown to the nearest available Level 1 trauma center, only to find that it was being evacuated for a broken water main and sub freezing temps in the rooms.

I fractured my spine, hips, pelvis, right leg, and lost most of my spleen to some very brilliant surgery.

My female passenger is a stunning young woman from New Mexico and I ask the B&B to not make a big deal of her identity because she has a very frightened daughter of her own at home.

I did not yet have snow tires on the TC due to a rather emotional situation between “my guy” over there and the guy who actually owns the shop. My calls to get my snow tires on weren’t returned. I should have pushed harder. Tires were BFG all-seasons with about 10,000 miles of wear on them. Otherwise the vehicle was in excellent mechanical condition.

I’ll need to replace the Town Car but it will be a while before I drive again and I’m afraid I have some fairly daunting medical deductibles to pay.

The Morrow County EMS team went above and beyond to keep my son from being terrified. If you know somebody on that team, lift a Blue Moon to them — or a bottle of anything else they want — and send me the bill.

I left the license plate off my Town Car because I’ve been accidentally falling asleep while listening to Zack de la Rocha and stuff like that.

That’s all for now, once I’m detangled from this hospital bed I’ll know more. Thanks to the B&B for your support. I don’t think I am the same person who got into that car Saturday morning, but there’s many a conversion recorded on the battlefield to no effect, isn’t there?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

235 Comments on “You Have Questions, I Have (Some) Answers...”


  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Bummer. How are the occupants of the Hyundai?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Both out of the hospital, I’ve spoken at length to the driver.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        BTW that is horrifying and I am very glad the boy was unscathed. I have two little guys still in seats and one of those slightly sickening thoughts I always have is that I wish they could both be in the middle of the car instead of the sides.

        Any thoughts on merits of the Panther? Do you think a different vehicle would have been better or worse?

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          I couldn’t find a Town Car, but the CV looks quite unsafe tbh. considering it’s size and weight I was surprised. Not sure yuotube link shows up…

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Well, that’s one of the reasons that the Panthers were discontinued. It would have taken too much expense and time to modify them to meet increasing fuel-economy and safety standards. That doesn’t mean that Ford shouldn’t have come up with better solutions than the D3/D4 cars, considering how much of a cash cow the Panther platform was.

      • 0 avatar

        Jack, I must’ve have missed something? You had an offset collision. What exactly happened? You hit ice?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/to-our-editor-in-chief-pro-tempore-get-well-soon/

        • 0 avatar
          racer-esq.

          The full version someone else found:

          http://morrowcountysentinel.com/news/home_top/3298680/UPDATE—Saturday-accident-on-SR-229-results-in-multiple-injuries

          • 0 avatar
            carlisimo

            That link isn’t working for me.

          • 0 avatar
            racer-esq.

            Weird. Paste the link into Google and click on the top result.

          • 0 avatar
            RetroGrouch

            “Baruth was wearing his seat belt and suffered non incapacitating injuries”

            Multiple big bone fractures and a lost spleen are non-incapacitating?

            EDIT: Never mind… “Non-incapacitating” means not visible to the immediate obvserver and it sounds like Jack was in no condition to attempt to limp away.

          • 0 avatar
            racer-esq.

            Yeah, I noticed that also, it looks like they need another update.

          • 0 avatar
            Richard Chen

            http://goo.gl/a5rPxV

          • 0 avatar
            carlisimo

            The Google search worked (though it didn’t yesterday). I think the problem is they have a triple hyphen which the commenting system converted to a long dash.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            “Citations are pending.”

            Insult to injury. In a case like this, WTF is someone supposed to do on ice to “maintain reasonable control?” Stop car, drop it into Neutral, put the 4-ways on, get out and push, I suppose. (Or end up driving so slow that, if you were on a multilane road, you’d just become a hazard to other drivers.) Especially when the article stated that the OHP said the conditions “contributed to the accident.”

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Six degrees of separation, I was at Grant Medical Center in 2010 due to software issues with the pharmacy’s Robot-Rx arising from design flaw in the upgrade to Connect-Rx 7.0.4 (itself the forth “fixed” iteration of the extremely botched Connect RX 7.0). The pharmacy is bigger than I expected it to be and the overnight staff was fairly competent, although the overall facility itself looks quite old on the inside. I seem to recall the hospital specialized in something but I can’t recall what now. Generally speaking OhioHealth operates some of the better large facilities in Ohio.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            “Citations are pending.”

            Given that there were significant injuries and presumably two insurance carriers (and their legal departments) are now involved (as well as the fact that at least one passenger was seriously injured), a very good piece of advice for Jack would be to refrain from commenting any further on either the details/circumstances of the accident nor extent of anyone’s injuries…period.

            Just some friendly advice, JB.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Wow. Good luck in your recovery Jack.

  • avatar
    segfault

    Ouch. Get well soon, Jack.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    ohmygawd……until you have suffered a broken hip, it seems to me that you have no comprehension what real pain is all about. When I broke just one, I was struck that I didn’t even know pain like that was possible. I can’t imagine breaking both of them.

    Get well soon. We have some mudding to do.

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      Broken hip: check.

      Broken back: check.

      Of course, these two injuries were a decade apart for me. Both hurt unimaginably bad. It’s hardly possible to find a position in bed that doesn’t hurt with a hip fracture. Ditto the spine.

      Both at the SAME TIME? With a pelvis fracture, leg fracture, and spleen surgery?

      Morphine. Lots and lots of morphine. All I can say. Of course, that’s going to shut down the muscles of the bladder and you’ll get stuck with a catheter (OMG!) but it’s worth it, just to get some rest.

      Larry and I have a glimpse of what you’re going through, Jack. It ain’t no fun. If you ever need some insight or someone to commiserate with during the many stages of recovery ahead of you, shoot me an email (been there, done that, got the T-shirt — though in your case, Jack, you’re getting a whole drawer full of T-shirts).

      Peace and grace to you, Jack.

  • avatar
    Power6

    Glad you are well enough to worry about silly things like publishing on the Internets! The list of fractures does sound scary, I’ve never broken more than my pinky toe. I hope your lady is doing well.

  • avatar
    cackalacka

    Get well soon.

  • avatar

    Get well soon Jack.

  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    Jack (and TTAC editors), I’m sure you and your companion have some daunting bills. I think I speak for many and would like to help. Would you consider a fundraising page for the medical bills?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I’ll be fine, I just won’t be guitar or Boss 302 shopping for a few years :)

      I appreciate the offer but I’ve always taken pains to ensure that I was adequately insured for this stuff. My credit rating’s going to take it in the ass after 30 sub-billers send me to collection but that’s what I get for being in the American middle class :)

      • 0 avatar

        That’s some relief at least.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        Balance billing is a national travesty:

        http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/?s=balance+billing

        (click on the top search result on this page, I cannot post the article directly because it contains a verboten nickname for the ACA)

        It is generally illegal in my state, but I could not find any laws or regulations against it in Ohio.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Why do you think its illegal in your state, is there a list or something to this effect?

        • 0 avatar
          thegamper

          I am a lawyer in Michigan, granted I dont practice in the area of medical services reimbursement, I have never even heard of such a thing as balanced billing until today. I know there are many different types of insurance and levels of coverage, but I thought that after you pay your deductable, your insurance covers everything. This sounds similar to what an “out of network” charge would be on my insurance plan. “In network” providers have already agreed with the insurer on the value of services. Out of network providers have not. My insurance will still pay out of network charges, but at a higher deductable. Obviously you cannot choose where you will be hospitalized after a tragic accident. I would consider this balanced billing as double billing for the same service. It sounds outrageous. Insurance companies should provide that upon request of the insured, no payments will be provided to medical care facility unless said facility accepts the payment as payment in full. At least then you would have some negotiating power. The Hospital can either roll the dice and take me to court, or accpet my insurance payment as payment in full.” Outrageous.

          • 0 avatar
            DC Bruce

            As one of my law partners found out the hard way (in a situation somewhat similar to Jack’s), most insurance companies cover X% of “reasonable and customary” chargers for the service provided, less a deductible. The rub is “reasonable and customary” which they will never tell in you advance (i.e. what’s the reasonable and customary charge for a surgeon who does an appendectomy in metro Washington, DC?)what the amount is. In high-cost areas, like metro Washington, DC, NYC, LA, etc. “reasonable and customary” is some not particularly large fraction of what the doctor actually charges.

            So, despite having “insurance” if you find yourself involuntarily hospitalized and in need of immediate treatment, your liability is not limited at all.

            I had some highly specialized surgery done in Los Angeles by an out-of-network doctor. What he did was bill me and, after seeing what the insurance company reimbursed decided how much of the unpaid balance he would write off. It was not 100%, but I thought it was fair. This was a scheduled procedure, so I knew that I was at risk . . . just couldn’t find out how much until after the fact.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Having been through the credit ringer recently, I have two things to say: First, I have been told from various sources that medical bills on your credit report do not count against you on your credit report, at least as far as major purchases such as houses or cars go. I cannot confirm that of course, but I know our medical bills were ignored. Second, I have also been told by several collections agencies that if you make any kind of small regular payment to them during the time it takes to sort out all of the claims and processing of payments, then they will not report anything (negative or positive) on your credit report. If you are intending to pay the bill eventually anyways, making token payments might help salvage your credit in the long run.

        Glad you made it through OK, and especially glad that your son was apparently completely unharmed. You are making me reconsider my plan to abandon modern cars for classics. And you really do know better than the be driving on unplowed snow with all seasons.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Based on a quick skim of the link racer-esq posted, it sounds as if the legality of the “balance billing” practice is questionable. I might challenge the bills and demand a reduction in amount before I agree to any payments.

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            Agreed, which is why I said “if you are planning to pay the bill anyway”. It will not be fun digging through all the bills to figure out which are legit and which are not.

            I have just found that it is better to keep an open line of communication about the bill to avoid having it go to collections. Once the collections agency gets it, dealing with it becomes much more difficult because they have no incentive to fix anything. We have one medical bill that’s been churning through collections for 3 yrs now, all due to one minor mistake of the original doctor who submitted the wrong date on the claim. The doctor could easily fix it, but the collections agency just wants their money.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m glad we agree. On a side note, does anyone have any information on how major health claims/insurance claims are done in Western Europe?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “I might challenge the bills and demand a reduction in amount before I agree to any payments.”

            In which case the creditor marks your credit report as “settled for less than the full amount due.”

            Not necessarily what you want to see on a credit report.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thx for the tidbit from a pro. The whole practice being discussed here sounds borderline fraudulent but I suppose when you’re the house, the house always wins.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            In the US, it’s good practice to negotiate hospital bills. If you can afford to pay your share of the charges in one shot, then you have leverage to get a discount on your share of the costs.

            (This does not impact the amount that is paid by the insurer or your agreement with your insurer. You negotiate these things after your insurer has paid the facility; cost reductions don’t need to be shared with the insurance company.)

        • 0 avatar
          Truckducken

          Having had medical bills count against me as far as lopping 100 points right off the top of my FICO score for seven flippin’ years, I would have to disagree with the point above.

          Note: bill was some trivial amount for a child vaccination that happened right before I moved several years back. The doc’s office felt it easier to send to collection than to a (God forbid) out of state address.

        • 0 avatar
          Toad

          Regarding credit reports (from my F&I days): as long as you make payments, an account remains open or active. If you stop making payments the collection drops off your credit report after 7 years.

          However, make one payment in the intervening 7 years and the clock resets to 7 years again. This is why collection agencies want you to send them “something” because any payment at all resets the collection clock back to zero and they have 7 more years to hound you.

          The lesson: either negotiate a repayment plan (discounted or not) right away and stick to it or blow it off completely until it falls off your credit report.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            That may or may not work. Even if the debt is over seven years old, it can be sold to a different agency, and they can start the process all over again. This is called a “zombie debt.”

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            I believe laws vary by state, but once the statute of limitations is past, they have no legal right to demand money, so if a collection agency attempts collection, you can tell them to shove it and have any mark made against your credit removed.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “First, I have been told from various sources that medical bills on your credit report do not count against you on your credit report, at least as far as major purchases such as houses or cars go. I cannot confirm that of course, but I know our medical bills were ignored.”

          I’m a mortgage underwriter, and I can tell you that any collection does bring your score down, medical or not. How that affects your mortgage app depends on whether the problem is isolated, and how much the debt is. If you have a couple of minor collections, it shouldn’t affect approval, as long as they don’t drop your score below the minimum one needed for whatever loan program you’re on. However, keep in mind that rates ARE score-sensitive, so even if you get approved, it could affect the rate, and your score can also affect how much you can borrow.

          Where this becomes a big issue is when collections become judgments, which creditors will do when the bill gets big enough. Once a creditor gets a judgment against you, they can secure it against your house. If that happens, then it generally goes in “behind” any mortgage liens. If those mortgages are refinanced, then the judgment can then “jump” to first position, meaning that if the home is sold (or foreclosed on), the judgment holder gets paid first, and THEN the mortgage lender. Mortgage companies generally require judgments to be paid in full as a condition of loan approval for that reason.

          And they’ll never make a loan if you have an open IRS or state tax lien – both of those take precedence over any mortgage lien, so if the mortgage company. The tax agency actually has to agree to “resubordinate” the tax lien for the mortgage company to look at the loan. Not much chance of that happening.

          Most mortgage lenders won’t make a big deal of minor collections, though.

          • 0 avatar
            Carl Kolchak

            I thought I was the only mortgage underwriter who read car blogs. You are dead on, FreedMike, but let me add my .02.
            I don’t see medical judgments like I used to but then again i don’t manage at a sub-prime shop anymore. Also, be careful on “disputing” accounts with your creditors. This was a work around use to circumvent the mortgage agencies automated decision engines. Now, it can cause it to be declined as without a result from DU/LP, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac add additional hoops to jump through.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Medical debt in collections absolutely is reported on your credit report and will prevent you from getting a mortgage or the best interest rates on a car, or credit cards, etc.

          Here is a great article from Intuit that explains this:

          https://www.mint.com/blog/credit/how-medical-bill-debt-impacts-your-credit-score-062012/

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I know of no mortgage company or program that would outright deny you over an isolated medical (or other) collection per se. The only reasons they would do so would be 1) if the collection(s) dragged your score down to the point that it no longer met minimum credit score standards, 2) there was some kind of pattern of collections that extended over multiple years, or 3) the collection becomes a judgment, in which case they will deny you if you don’t pay the judgment off.

            Generally, if you have good credit overall, and meet the credit score requirements, mortgage lenders won’t care about a couple of isolated collections. I approve borrowers with collections like that every day.

        • 0 avatar
          Conslaw

          Legislation to keep medical bills from hurting your credit has been bottled up Congress for several years. Regarding “balance billing”: absent an agreement as to the amount, all a medical biller can ever charge you is the reasonable and customary amount. If you have a private insurance company, in many states you can argue that you were a third party beneficiary of the insurance company’s preferred provider agreement. Otherwise, you can argue that a limitation to a reasonable amount is either an implied provision of your receiving treatment or is a limitation on the amount the provider can claim as restitution where there was no agreement. Jack may have run into a situation where he reached the limitation of his coverage, one of the downsides of our private insurance system.

          I want to say one more thing. Michigan has long had a type of no-fault auto insurance system (not pure no-fault, but I digress). I think the reason that Michigan lead on this is that so many accidents in Michigan are weather-related. Once you are in a weather-related accident, you realize how pointless it is to spend time effort and money assigning blame when everyone on the roads knows that he/she is just a split second and an ice-patch away from ending up in front of oncoming traffic.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “My credit rating’s going to take it in the ass after 30 sub-billers send me to collection but that’s what I get for being in the American middle class :)”

        Do you know that for a fact or are you just guessing?

        In my case, I was in the hospital for 5 days and never got a bill for anything. They even waved the $100 ER insurance co-pay because I was admitted.

        It might not be good idea to worry and stress too much about things that might not be an issue.

      • 0 avatar
        Frank Galvin

        True, but the offer stands, especially for your friend.

      • 0 avatar
        TCragg

        Jack, I wish you the best in your recovery. I can’t believe some of what I’m reading below. As a Canadian, all this talk of medical bills and deductibles is totally foreign to me.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          And yet there is a huge percentage of folks in the US who think any sort of government provided health care is the product of a tryst between Hitler and the anti-Christ. Baffles me.

          If everyone could get a taste of what poor Jack is about to go through we would have centralized healthcare so fast it would make your head spin.

          Here is an example of how it should work. On my last trip to Europe, the Swedish guy who was one of the guys I was with got a spider bite while we were in Finland. It got quite badly inflamed and he was in pain. So we stopped in at a random hospital on the way to the ferry. He was seen in about 10 minutes, had it lanced and drained, got a prescription, and we were on our way. Finland will bill Sweden for it, his outlay for the whole thing was about $20, and he will never hear of it again. If I had to go to an ER out of state, and thus out of network, I shudder to think what that would cost me out of pocket, on top of the couple hundred a month I pay as my share of my not that crappy insurance. I would CHEERFULLY pay more taxes to not have to even think about such things. The way it should be.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Based on the direction my private health insurance has been going over the last ten years, I’ve reached the point wehere I wouldn’t fight centralized healthcare. The devil is in the details and there would be much to work out. If the government took $5000 a year for my premiums, it wouldn’t be much different than now.

            The only thing that gives me pause is the abuse of Medicare in this country. My wife refuses to treat patients because they don’t need anymore care or the care she provides won’t help them. That person will just get billed treatment from another therapist or company because Medicare will pay for it. There is a reason nursing homes keep people a certain amount of time even if they don’t need to. Medicare pays for it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            More taxes are never the answer, divert existing tax revenue for such a purpose.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            28-

            I agree. There has to be cuts somewhere else to make it happen. I should have been more clear. The point I was trying to make was that health care is so expensive in the US now, that they could almost get away with something like that.

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            The problem with govt backed healthcare is never about the mundane, day-to-day needs. Those are usually handled efficiently, effectively and to the satisfaction of all. The problem is with those outliers who need exceptional or extreme care, which govt systems have more trouble providing. Those cases are often used by those who oppose govt systems as proof that govt healthcare doesn’t work at all, despite the success stories like those you describe. It’s the mundane care that we need most often yet we’re frightened by the exceptional cases that probably will never happen to us.

          • 0 avatar
            CarnotCycle

            “And yet there is a huge percentage of folks in the US who think any sort of government provided health care is the product of a tryst between Hitler and the anti-Christ. Baffles me.”

            Perceptions expressed above regarding American hostility to government provided healthcare are fundamentally in error. The United States has had Medicare and Medicaid for nearly fifty years. In that interim, the United States has piled on CHIPs, SSI, and the whole VA hospital system (making it Federal Department level in the process). Medicare is for the old and sick. Medicaid is for the poor and sick. CHIP’s is for the young, poor, and sick. And VA is for sick veterans. I think that covers it, or was supposed to a long time ago.

            America’s problem is not a lack of government provided healthcare, or even hostility to it; the problem is that government provided healthcare the US has had for decades doesn’t work very well.

            “Finland will bill Sweden for it…”

            Another error is directly comparing individual societies that are not really comparable. Finland and Sweden for example: About half the population and 40% the GDP of Texas, when those countries are combined. With a fraction of the cultural or ethnic diversity. Same planet, different worlds…and that’s just one state. The Canada comparisons are also silly. The US Federal Government will borrow approximately 40% of Canada’s whole GDP this year – and that’s a big improvement versus last year. The Fed’s budget alone is 2x Canada’s GDP.

            Why do we think such disparate societies are comparable when others are not? For instance, how would Finland-Sweden’s healthcare system work, in say, Nigeria? Not too good? Why not? What are the prerequisites a society needs to have before pseudo-nationalized or nationalized medicine is a big success by Finn-Swede standards? Because based on what I’ve seen of government healthcare in the United States, as a society it does not have those pre-requisites, albeit in different deficits than Nigeria.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @CarnotCycle

            Sorry, not feeling your arguments at all. Seniors seem to be quite satisfied with Medicare. It is a good program, and has the clout to force costs down by simply refusing to pay more than they are willing to pay. My Mom is a veteran, and pretty happy with her VA coverage too. If we put all the waste involved in our insane private insurance system into a single-payer system we could easily cover the costs involved – there is no reason other than sheer greed at many levels why the US is the ONLY 1st world country that does not have universal healthcare coverage.

            I do realize that insurance is only PART of the problem. We have a huge tort liability problem in this country, and we over-ration doctors, and don’t let practitioners below doctors provide enough independent care, just for starters. But we have to start somewhere.

            I got my start in the health insurance industry, and some of the practices I observed at a NON PROFIT insurance company made my stomach turn. I can only imagine what the for profit companies try to get away with.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The US has the highest per capita healthcare costs in the world, by far.

            Even the Scandinavians can do it more cheaply, and they pay high prices for virtually everything. That alone should tell that something is greatly wrong with the US system; we are being gouged.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            I don’t believe the antagonism is toward universal health care or even govt-run health care. It’s to poorly run, overpriced health care that’s worse than the current system.

            My own personal concerns about the new laws are that they don’t address the fundamental problems that broke the system in the first place, one of which is that no one knows how much health care actually costs and that every procedure has a different price for every customer.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          US healthcare is generally very good.

          The approach that the US takes for pricing and paying for it is a bad joke. What’s worse is that the country is filled with sufferers of Stockholm Syndrome who have no idea how badly that they have it.

          • 0 avatar
            abhi

            As someone who worked in healthcare I assure you this is not true. I would rank us pretty low in the developed nations list for quality.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The two highest paid employees, in base salary, at The University of Michigan are the men’s football and basketball coach. Number three and four are University of Michigan Hospital executives. Besides sports, health care is the most profitable endeavor for a University. Its a tax free money printer.

          • 0 avatar
            TCragg

            I never meant this comment as a knock against the US health care model. There are many things the US system probably does better than the single-payer system in Canada. My point was, if I got into the same collision in Ontario, I’d be transported to a hospital, receive care, and go home, all while never seeing an invoice or worrying about how I was going to pay or whether my hospital bills would affect my credit. It just seems a bit cruel to be adding insult to serious injury.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “I never meant this comment as a knock against the US health care model.”

            Why not? It’s a stupid model.

            I wouldn’t suggest that Americans copy the Canadian version of single payer, as it also has its share of issues (albeit different, less costly ones.) But the US system is engineered to be overpriced, and there is little good that can be said about what it costs or how it’s paid for.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            It looks like Vermont is considering a single-payer system:

            http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/12/can-vermonts-single-payer-system-fix-what-ails-american-healthcare/282626/

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I’m a little confused here, wouldn’t your auto insurance cover your medical? When I was in my bad wreck and had to be pieced back together my auto insurance covered everything, which was a good thing because I had no personal coverage at the time. There is even a reserve fund should any accident related issues pop-up over a ten year period, I still have five years to go. There was nothing special about my auto coverage, just the standard stuff

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Jack,

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery. I was wondering if a spleen could regenerate as a liver does. About 20 years ago, my BIL was ejected from a convertible and struck a guard rail resulting in a near fatal injury. Part of his surgery was removal of 75% of his liver. He survived and his liver slowly regenerated to normal size and function.
    I checked Google and found that this happens with spleens too, especially after severe trauma. Here is aquote from the medical article.
    “Overwhelming sepsis from encapsulated bacteria is a major complication of splenectomy.8 The risk of subsequent infection is lowest with traumatic splenectomy,9 possibly because function can return. The notion that regenerated spleens have a functional value is supported by their normal tissue architecture.1 More importantly, the volume of regenerated splenic tissue seems to correlate with protection against postsplenectomy infection.”

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Off topic to Jack’s quandary, but supposedly milk thistle helps with liver regeneration. If the spleen has the same capabilities there may be similar herbs or compounds to assist it.

      “Standardized milk thistle extract is known as silymarin. Silymarin itself is a mixture of at least seven chemicals. The most active of these chemicals is commonly known as silibinin. But, silibinin too is, in fact, a mixture, comprising the two related substances silibinin A and silibinin B. 48 When injected intravenously, silibinin is thought to act as an antidote to poisoning by the deathcap mushroom, Amanita phalloides . Animal studies suggest that milk thistle extracts can also protect against many other poisonous substances, from toluene to the drug acetaminophen. 2-7 One animal study suggests that milk thistle can also protect against fetal damage caused by alcohol. 8

      Silibinin is hypothesized to function by displacing toxins trying to bind to the liver as well as by causing the liver to regenerate more quickly. 9 It may also act as an antioxidant and also stabilize liver cell membranes. 10,11″

      http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=21817

    • 0 avatar
      bills79jeep

      First off, get well soon to all involved.

      Is a regenerated spleen all that important? I thought you could have it removed with basically no ill effects, similar to an appendix.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        No idea. I imagine if you were born with something it would be nice if it were to grown back if it were damaged. According to this link:

        “Spleen can regenerate through various mechanisms. Autotransplantation of splenic tissue after traumatic disruption of the splenic capsule is well recognized.1 Splenic tissue can lodge anywhere in the peritoneal cavity following traumatic disruption and regenerates under favourable conditions”

        But I’m not qualified to interpret it.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1079560/

      • 0 avatar
        lubbock57

        You can live normally with a complete spleen removal. I found this out as a result of surgery last year.

        You do have to be catious however as your natural ability to fend off infections is reduced. I now travel with a supply of anti-biotics just in case.

      • 0 avatar
        Richard Chen

        http://www.uptodate.com/contents/preventing-severe-infection-after-splenectomy-beyond-the-basics

      • 0 avatar
        adam_b

        My father had his spleen removed in the mid-1970s as a result of a car accident, and he’s suffered no ill-effects in the subsequent four decades.

  • avatar
    TTAC Staff

    The robotic staff at TTAC wishes you a full recovery.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    Please post where we can send financial assistance.

  • avatar
    LBJs Love Child

    I am very thankful you and the other passengers survived, and that your son was unhurt (physically).

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Glad you’re well enough to write, but how the hell are you writing? With all that’s broken, I’d figure it wouldn’t be possible to sit up and type.

  • avatar

    Your last sentence seems a portent of an interesting story to come.

    A speedy and complete recovery to you and your passenger.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    That totally sucks, Jack.

    I hope your recovery goes well & and am really glad to hear that your son is relatively unscathed.

    I hope your passenger recovers too.

  • avatar

    Baruth with less spleen to vent? Perish the thought.

    “but it will be a while before I drive again”

    With two broken hips, a fractured spine, and a busted leg, it’ll be two or three months before you start to learn how to walk again, let alone drive. All those weight bearing bones have to mend first. On the other hand, you’ve already relearned how to walk at least once before and in my experience, physical therapists tend to be attractive.

    They letting you have visitors yet?

  • avatar
    charski

    Get better soon, Jack, and I am so glad your son got through that disaster without injury.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Best wishes Jack, get back in the saddle when you can.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Get well Jack. With all the time you’ve logged racing who would have thought that so much injury would come from your time on a public road?

    Dang freak accidents.

    • 0 avatar
      econobiker

      Yes, the random public road can get even the best because of unexpected events…

      Mike Hailwood considered one of the best racers ever:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Hailwood

      • 0 avatar
        Wheatridger

        And then there’s the Schumacher Effect, recently demonstrated.

        • 0 avatar
          WhiskerDaVinci

          Ehh, Schumacher was injured through an entirely avoidable accident. Had he stayed on the path, he’d be fine.

          Skiing off path, and driving a cushy Town Car down the road on snow, with all season tires is a bit different haha.

          Either way, what year is the Town Car? I’d think it would handle a side impact better than that? Unless it was a fairly old TC.

      • 0 avatar
        StatisticalDolphin

        —— “When he asked her hand in marriage, she replied that she was hesitant to marry someone who could die at any weekend race. He then told her his story and said; “…so you see, it won’t happen on a track.” “

  • avatar
    Feds

    Jack, I’m glad everyone is alive, and I wish you all an easy road to recovery. I’ll be sure to click on some advertisers on the way out to help with the deductible.

  • avatar
    Numbers_Matching

    I swear by my snowtires. Even if I only really need them for 2 weeks during the year, all it takes is one emergency maneuver in slippery conditions…and they’ve paid for themselves. Not sure if you would have really benefitted or not, but they do save lives in my opinion. And to the ‘my tires have enough deep tread for winter’ contingent, it’s not the tread, it’s the compound.

    Get well soon and thank God for modern child seat safety.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      Snow Tires_

      Back in the eighties, when I lived and worked in snow and ice country _Columbia River Gorge/North Western Lake_ I ran studded Town & Country’s at all four positions, on all my rigs. Even with that in my Chevy LUV 4×4, I had an incident that could have been very bad.

      Going East on Washington Hwy-14 on deep slushy snow, I saw a motor home with and elderly driver a the wheel having some difficulty maintaining direction. To give him more room, I moved to the right only to have my little pick-up thrown across the highway by the heavy slush, in front of the motor home. We went over the bank and damn near into the road side lake that are a feature of hwy-14.

      The little LUV was able to negotiate the bank and pull back up on the highway, though, plenty of assistance waited up on the highway.

      My son of about twelve would have taken the hit by the motor home that narrowly missed us. Just a

      fluke, that even very careful driving and well prepared equipment, couldn’t prevent.

    • 0 avatar
      Dweller on the Threshold

      “I swear by my snowtires.”

      I know. We know. Jack knows. Let’s save that for later.

      But I sure echo your best wishes and comment on child safety seats.

  • avatar
    econobiker

    Viva la child car seat for protecting your spawn!!!

    Another infant/toddler/child crash projectile statistic stopped because a parent cared enough and was following the law.

    Wishing the best recovery for all involved.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I’m just suprised Jack didn’t have a Recaro convertible car seat. They are quite expensive though.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        I haven’t read very good things about the Recaro child seats. I’m sure they have adequate protection, but from what I’ve read, they are larger, heavier, and more expensive than the seats from companies that only make car seats. I like the look of them, but as a father of a young one yourself, function > form when it comes to kid stuff. haha

        Best wishes, Jack. Sounds like it was a nasty wreck considering you were driving and the hit was on the passenger side.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I like both the Britax convertible car seat we have now, and the Chicco infant carrier we had before. I picked both because of safety ratings. I’m glad there are so many good options at different price points now.

      • 0 avatar
        pb35

        I have 2 Recaro seats in the back of my Charger R/T for my twins, one blue and one pink. Dual Britax seats in the Volvo.

        Keep us posted on your recovery, Jack. Again, all the best. You know where to find us if you need anything.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    Fight like hell, Jack. It’s going to get better. Until then, morphine.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    Jeezus, Jack, if your that busted up, I hate to even speculate on how gravely injured your friend is. Lucky, maybe(?), to be alive.

    A B&B fund to help Jack and Friend would be a help for both.

    Regarding child safety car seats. A few years back some friends of mine were almost home when a gen-3 F-body hit their Volvo wagon in the side near the rear wheel. Though the car was violently spun around, they emerged unscathed. In the back seat their two children were in car seats still buckled in place and all appeared to be good and the kids appeared to unharmed and a sleep. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. They had both been killed instantly from the violent motion of the crash. Neck/spine and brain trauma was the findings. They were three and four years of age.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      My God, Tre.

      The fact that John survived without injury has caused me to a do a lot of thinking over the past few nights, to put it mildly.

      • 0 avatar
        Kinosh

        I’m so glad to hear that your son and (relatively speaking) you are ok. Best wishes to your passenger and those involved in the other vehicle.

        I think I speak for everyone in the R&D side of the auto industry when I say that hearing stories of (relatively) survivable crashes gives us all hope and the understanding that there are always real people behind the technical reports we receive.

  • avatar
    JMII

    “In the space of maybe one and a half seconds, I was given a problem that I wasn’t capable of solving.”

    This is why they call them accidents. This is why I always wear my seat belt. This is why I always leave traction control turned on. Nobody expects to be IN an accident.

    Given the account of the damage it sounds like the Sonata was moving at a pretty high rate of speed as a Town Car is a solid vehicle.

    Glad you are still with us.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Further, consider that the TC was not on dry pavement, but on something slippery, which would reduce the force of the impact. I was t-boned by a car that hit my rear wheel on a snowy road in West Virginia (I had slid through an intersection into its path. I don’t know how fast the car that hit me was going, but the damage to both vehicles was mitigated because my car spun around from the impact, which it likely would not have done on dry pavement.

      Both cars were repairable; and everyone walked away from the crash. I was belted; I don’t know if the other guy was or not.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Search the link above with Google to see pix of the aftermath. It’s a testament to modern automotive engineering that all involved are around to tell the tale and that Jack’s son was unscathed.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “In the space of maybe one and a half seconds, I was given a problem that I wasn’t capable of solving.”

      AKA the “Oh, sh*t!” moment

  • avatar
    Monty

    Thanks for the update. You’re lucky to be alive, but even luckier that your son wasn’t injured.

    Best wishes to you, your lady friend and the occupants of the Hyundai. I wish you all a speedy recovery.

    We’ll probably need some postings from TTAR (The Truth About Rehab) whilst you recover.

  • avatar
    Stuck in DC traffic

    Jack, good luck to you, your passenger (her daughter too) and your son on the recovery. God speed man.

    Also I just ordered that car seat, my daughter is about to need that size and your experience just sold me on which to buy.

  • avatar
    Ishwa

    I would like to second the request for a donation link. It’s gonna be a long and expensive recovery, and while I can’t help a lot I could still help a little.

    Just something to consider.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    “On the road, behind the wheel, there is no such thing as an accident. There is only a swelling potential of mistakes, building towards an event that happens or does not. You are drunk but the road is empty and you know the way; not enough potential. You are tired, the phone is ringing, and your left front tire is underinflated; now we’re talking. Then you swerve to avoid a pothole and the oscillation chain begins. Potential fulfilled. You are about to have an “accident”.

    I say this because I do not remember the “accident” that put me on my back for nearly a month in a disinfectant-stinking hospital room, my eyes taped from the airbag burn, my arms broken, pumped-up on a cocktail of things I cannot even pronounce. They say my Town Car hit the edge of a line of Jersey barriers and flipped forward, landing on the top edge in a ballet of megaton kinetic energy that shattered the windshield and creased the roof down into the bench seats. Single car. I don’t remember. But I remember what happened afterwards.”

    -Jack Baruth

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/fiction-the-cafe-continuum/

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Best wishes for a good recover for all involved. Glad to hear my brethren took good care of you.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I already have you covered with the next vehicle whenever that time comes. You pick it and buy it at cost from an auction in your neck of the woods. But I’m sure you already knew that.

    Now for a more preachy detour…

    The only legacy we will have is our kids. That’s it. Friends will die. Buildings crumble, and even the greatest of automotive writers eventually become historical footnotes of little consequence.

    The tyke in the back seat is the only things that endures beyond us. No matter how wonderful or fucked up our world becomes, it’s only our kids that will transcend our own lives.

    Your child is thankfully unharmed, and you will live for a time beyond that recent hellish moment. Make the most of it.

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    I would like to add my voice to those wishing a complete recovery to all of those involved in this horrible accident.

  • avatar
    jmo

    “The 2009 Lincoln Town Car safety features are limited to traction control and front-seat side airbags and doesn’t offer head curtain airbags for the first or second rows or stability control.”

    Something to keep in mind during future TTAC ranting about all those stupid safety features/electronic nannies. I don’t think people appreciate how often these accidents just come out of no where and are something that no person, no matter how skilled could have avoided.

    • 0 avatar
      WhiskerDaVinci

      Pretty much. When it comes to safety, I’m pretty much for it. I feel a lot safer knowing that my car is paying more attention to the road than I am. Knowing your car is trying to keep you alive is a nice feeling. It’s never substituted for my attention, I’m not big on distracted driving, but it is a very comforting addition to what I already do.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        ^ This.

        You’ve got to learn proper habits such as turning your head to check blind spots, etc., first! Then let the other things assist your driving.

        Of course, rule # 1: hang up and drive!

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          While true, I think the B&B underweight the percentage of sever accidents that are like Jack’s. Some freak combination of factors that no human, no matter how skilled, could have avoided.

      • 0 avatar
        April

        Makes me want to sell my 2-airbag 97′ Accord and trade up to a 9 (or more) airbag ANYTHING.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          http://www.tanksforsale.co.uk/index.html

          Its a UK site, but I’m sure for the right price, you can have an your favorite armored vehicle shipped over.

          Or is it “armoured”? That makes me think of ham.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I won’t be making any automotive moves anytime soon but it makes me want to look into newer generation Volvos despite their drawbacks.

        • 0 avatar
          ClutchCarGo

          This is almost the only thing that motivates me to get a newer car (currently driving a 2002 Sable wagon), i.e. improved safety tech like additional airbags and nannies to fill in my all-to-human shortcomings. I could care less about infotainment systems and I don’t drive enough miles to need improved MPG. A backup camera is about the only thing I lack. And heated seats seem like a plus right now.

  • avatar
    Tonto

    No more panther love.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Are you kidding, everyone is alive because of a panther, all the reason to love ‘em more

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        I’m not sure if they are alive because of a panther, or in spite of it. it certainly looks like a rough accident, but not so extreme you would assume everyone dies. There are so many variables in an accident though, who knows if something like a new Camry would do any better (or worse). It doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but the occupants of the Sonata fared much better.

        Anyway, a panther isn’t exactly the most modern design. Based on the severity of the injuries to the adults in it, I’m not about to run out and buy a panther for its crash protection. The car seat is certainly something to keep in mind though.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Based on similar personal experience

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          Car crashes are strange things. I’ve had several friends killed in car accidents in the last few years, but I’ve also had family walk away unscathed from a horrific t-bone collision. I watched a left-turner get plowed into and then roll multiple times through a field, and no one was injured.

          IMO, car safety advances are real, and modern cars truly are significantly safer than older cars. The severity of the injuries associated with this crash seem excessive and out-of-line with the description of the accident, but that is simply an impression, FWIW.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Sounds like a nasty bit of luck, but be thankful you and your passengers survived. Get well soon!

  • avatar
    jetcal1

    Jack,
    Good time to buy Rosetta Stone and learn a new language with your son!

    Please set up donations link.

  • avatar
    gessvt

    Hope that you and your companion recover as quickly as possible. As a father of young children, I’m really glad to read that your son was unharmed.

  • avatar
    PeteRR

    Jack,

    Take care of yourself and here’s to a smooth recovery. I’m rehabbing from an accident at my work and I have hip, knee, pelvis, and rib injuries that have me immobile. For now.

    The weight of the plate that fell on me could have easily paralyzed or killed me, so I have very little to complain about. Good luck to you.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “I don’t think I am the same person who got into that car Saturday morning”

    Quite true. May the things that need changing do so, and the things that shouldn’t, stay the same.

    I’m so sorry for the grinding ordeal that is ahead, after the novelty of this accident wears off. It will be getting warm outside as your strength returns, which is a plus.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    The pictures were bad, but the account of your and your passenger’s injuries sounds much worse.

    Even with the car seat, a miracle that your son is o.k. My guess it’s one of those types that has side cushions for the head, limiting side-to-side movement . . . which was probably a crucial feature in this side-impact crash.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. Get well soon.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    Jack – so glad you and your lady friend will recover and the your boy is unscathed. Steven Lang’s observation on our only true legacy is so true.

    “When the Sonata centerpunched my passenger door, the dash beam and bench seat both collapsed, which led the dashboard to basically explode as the roof collapsed on my passenger’s head and pinned her.”

    First thing I thought of was the IIHS video of the offset head-on test of a 50′s Chevy featured on TTAC. I am surprised the TC didn’t do better, but maybe a T-bone is a worse case accident.

    I like hanging on to cars because I’m cheap and I grow to like them if they aren’t truly execrable. But accounts like this sure provide the impetus to trade up to newer and more robust designs. IIHS may not be anybody’s favorite, but they have a vested interest in keeping you alive. Nature doesn’t give a damn.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Last year, I saw a picture of an 8th-Gen Honda Civic that was broadsided on the passenger side by a dump truck, with similar dashboard deformation seen here. No driver’s side-curtain airbag deployed, yet every other one did, but unfortunately, the driver didn’t make it.

      Two more incidents from my church come to mind, including the son of our assistant minister (who had only been with us a week) whose fiancée was killed six years ago when the car he was driving hydroplaned into an oncoming dump truck on a two-lane state highway.

      Then three weeks ago, Friday before Christmas, one of our church members (who appreciated a good bass guitar) crossed the double-yellow in front of a semi and was pronounced dead at the scene. I haven’t asked our Pastors if they had heard exactly what was determined to be the cause (like they had in the LA County Coroner’s Report re: Paul Walker), but his showing was open-casket; don’t know how much post-mortem reconstruction is normally part of an undertaker’s job.

      Also had one of our techs at work who was out for six months of 2013 because of injuries sustained in a crash.

      This stuff makes you think.

  • avatar
    old fart

    As seriously as you are hurt I can’t believe the news article said “suffered non incapacitating injuries” I’d say you were defiantly incapacitated . Wow hard to believe what an impact does to a body , especially since you had a big safe car and was on the other side of the impact. Glad you are able to write still and hope everyone will heal .

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      A Towncar simply is not a particularly safe car by modern standards. It is a relic of days gone by. Particularly in side impact protection, modern cars are just orders of magnitude better. And the stability control systems that so many here bemoan might have prevented the accident entirely. Jack would have been far better off in a new Camry.

      I wish NHTSA would do more testing of older cars to show folks just how bad they are.

      • 0 avatar
        Speedygreg7

        Every 3-5 years there seems to be a big safety advance. For the last 25 years it has been ABS, then front airbags, then side airbags, then curtains, then stabilty control and now forward looking cameras and super high strength steel.

        In light of that, maybe leasing every couple of years isn’t such a bad idea. In this kind of accident, having the best equipment on your side is a really good idea.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        For me personally, the NHTSA showing a ’79 Regal folding against a ’14 Malibu won’t stop me from driving an old car any more than hearing about a bad motorcycle accident would stop most from riding.

        Then again, I don’t have any children.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Won’t change a thing in how I pick my cars either. I drive a Triumph Spitfire around every summer – the seatbelts in that car merely serve to keep the bodies closer for easier identification. If I had kids, they would ride in the Spitfire with me. But not on snow covered roads on all seasons…

          But it would show people how some commonly held notions about safety are simply FAR from true. Panthers are NOT safe cars by modern standards. Neither are Volvo 240s. Nor are most body on frame trucks/SUVs from more than a few years ago. Safer in their day, sure, but their day was a LONG time ago. Full-size trucks/SUVs were exempt from an awful lot of safety requirements until relatively recently – there are some truly horrifying crash test videos out there of those things. MUCH better now, of course.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            There was a video, on YouTube, Top Gear UK, or some other British source, where a Volvo 960 Wagon was T-Boned or offset-frontaled (don’t remember which) by a Smart ForTwo, Fiat Punto, or Peugeot 405 hatchback (again, don’t recall the other car).

            Whatever the other car was, based on measurements of the dummies, the crash forces in the Volvo were much higher than the measurements in the other car — might have even been fatal.

            Another vid that I DO remember is a Top Gear UK T-Bone of a 4th-Gen (1992-1995) Honda Civic sedan and a Mitsubishi Raider/Pajero. I drove a Civic of that vintage (as does or did Murilee, IIRC), and the way that structure folded like a Chinese lawn chair scared the crap out of me!

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    I’m really sorry to hear about you and your passenger. It won’t be easy on your respective kids, either. May your recoveries be complete.

  • avatar
    autojim

    I know I’ve said this elsewhere, but…

    Get better, my friend. You and your passenger. And good to hear that the other folks are out of hospital and generally ok. I can only imagine how difficult that conversation was, but I know you as a man of principles and responsibility, and I’m sure I can guess some of what you said.

    There’s a good chance The Boy will remember this as “the time the car broke” more than anything else. I’m glad he’s physically unharmed. My nephew is still in a rated booster seat at age 7, and sometimes I think that’s a bit much — but then something like this happens and I’m reminded that we’ve learned some stuff since you and I were that age (my booster seat when I was 3-4 years old was a thin plastic “tractor seat” on a wire frame that doubled as a booster at the dinner table).

    Heal up, and later, when it’s Town Car time again, we’ll find ya one. So many possibilities…

    • 0 avatar
      Manic

      “the dash beam and bench seat both collapsed, which led the dashboard to basically explode as the roof collapsed on my passenger’s head and pinned her.” I’m kinda hoping Jack will have a car with newer than seventies safety design for everyday use next.

      Get well soon, Jack.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Now may be too soon to ask, but I’m interested in your opinion of the Town Car’s “safety” in light of the awful collision. Whenever you feel well enough, which I hope is soon. Glad to hear your son is fine.

  • avatar
    jbartolomero

    Get better, Jack. You and all your people. Best wishes from Spain. (See, you even get “imported” wishes. Now you have an extra reason to recover soon ;-) )

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    I’ll add to the chorus:
    Speedy recovery to yourself and your loved ones.

    And please count me in, if a relief fund is set.

  • avatar
    MRL325i

    Wow. Best of luck to you all for a very speedy recovery.

  • avatar
    Jellodyne

    I knew when I got my snow tires I wouldn’t want to deal with the hassle of having someone switch them, so I bought them mounted on a set of wheels from an online site which has both tires and racks. First snow or therebouts I grab my jack and stands and just swap ‘em myself, takes 10-15 minutes.

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    Jack I wish you and your passenger the best recovery.

    Is it too early to debate the merits of the cars and technology?

    Stability control could have helped given what I know. One minute video on ice: youtube.com/watch?v=NiZjeeMExY4

    (edited for language)

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      Maybe Electronic Stability control would have helped, but who really knows? Winter tires, a better handling car, electronic stability would all make an accident like this slightly more avoidable in theory.

      But 30 years of driving in Canadian winters have taught me that sometimes conditions arise where you simply aren’t in control for brief periods. Most times you make a small correction and recover without incident, but then sometimes a combination of ice, snow, wind, visibility and other traffic means a collision happens before you’re able to recover.

      I’ve had stability control for a couple of winters now, and I think it’s a small improvement but certainly no panacea.

      • 0 avatar
        don1967

        Funny how two guys can each have 30 years of Canadian winter driving experience, and yet have different conclusions about traction control. I’m an old-school RWD guy who frequently rants about FWD, traction control and ABS, but I LOVE my stability control. I would never expect it to bail me out of a truly stupid situation of course, but in those borderline situations where you just barely break traction in a snowy corner it’ll save your puckered ass 99% of the time.

        Now about those snow tires… Jack’s mistake was not failing to push the tire shop. That’s a roundabout way of blaming the tire shop. His mistake was heading out in the snow that day without ‘em. Especially with precious cargo on board. Some risks just aren’t worth taking.

        • 0 avatar
          Kevin Jaeger

          I would note Jack’s Town Car has traction control, but not Electronic Stability control. It has speed sensors on the wheels and will prevent rear wheelspin from getting out of hand.

          What it lacks are the yaw and acceleration sensors and steering angle sensors to do the advanced Electronic Stability stuff.

          Frankly, none of us know enough about exactly how this happened to determine if that type of electronic nanny would have helped. They don’t help at all if you’re just sliding straight through a corner on a patch of ice, or simply lack enough grip to negotiate a corner.

  • avatar
    Carzzi

    All the best for a speedy (so to speak) recovery for Dear Leader (Pro Tempore) and friend.

  • avatar
    JK43123

    I am going to have to remember that sentence when I try to tell people that they can’t avoid all accidents because they are a “good driver.” As my Dad used to say, cemeteries are full of good drivers.

    John

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      This morning, driving into work for the first time in two days on account of weather, I went to pass in the ice-covered lane a couple times (as did others–as I’ve stated elsewhere, there are people who are rolling hazards, and that’s what some of us were trying to avoid).

      The third time, I felt the car skittering around just a bit. Then I remembered this accident and this thread..and pulled back over into the center.

      Would I have done the same if these circumstances hadn’t happened? Probably–I saw other drivers, some of whom blew my doors off as they passed, moved into the safer lane of travel. But it did make me think.

  • avatar
    manbridge

    Praise the Lord all will recover.

    My wife nearly died in childbirth and lost her spleen as well. Prayer made survival and recovery so much better for her IMO. Any specific requests you have…. just email me.

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    Kudos to you Jack for offering up your answers. I try to share with my kids some of my past experiences so they won’t repeat my mistakes. Now I’ll look into getting some winter tires for my car.

  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    All of these comments about safety and insurance miss the mark. I think every one of these comments should have read “Jack: Thank GOD all three of you survived and we were able to hear from you. You are all in our prayers and will be for a very long time to come.”

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Best Wishes, JB.

    Please consider letting those of us willing to, help with expenses. You are one of us.

  • avatar
    ToxicSludge

    ” I don’t think I am the same person who got into that car Saturday morning, but there’s many a conversion recorded on the battlefield to no effect, isn’t there?”

    Hi Jack,
    I am very sorry about your accident an hope all of you mend quickly.

    Don’t be afraid to ‘get back in the saddle again’ Jack,despite your injuries.I was first shot down in June of 1970 and had fractured my back in two places,fractured my neck in one place,and broke my left shoulder.Unfortunately for me,when I was evaced out to the field hosp,they were in the middle of a mass cal,(rvn rangers hit hard)so I was never really checked out.I had a hard time breathing and I couldn’t hardly walk.They said it was strained muscles,I was given some meds,and grounded for 30 days back at my unit.When the 30 days was up,I went back to flying and finished out my tour,in pain.3 months after getting back to the world I was volunteered to go back and fly a second tour,which I did.Yes,I did get shot down again,but did not sustain any more injuries then what I already had.Here it is 43+ years later and still no help from the VA,and of course the pain is much worse being in my 60′s now.My point: Don’t freak out and second guess yourself,don’t forget that you are a mere mortal and you still have a life to live,and for God’s sake,get behind the wheel again and enjoy what you have.And one last thing,there are other places who will install your damn snow tires besides ‘your guy’…Take care kid.

  • avatar

    Damn, son. I’m thankful your boy’s doing as well as he is. I know you’ll get through this, you’re certainly stubborn enough.

    Personally and professionally, I promise not to make this into a bigger discussion about anything.

    Get well.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Jack: Thank GOD all three of you survived and we were able to hear from you. You are all in our prayers and will be for a very long time to come.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Jack, I wish you and those close to you a full recovery.

  • avatar
    F-85

    Wow. You’re one tough hombre, Jack. I sincerely wish you, your friend, the children and the Cantrells all the best. I’m so sorry you’re having to wrestle with this, but I hope your recoveries will be complete and as rapid as possible. Godspeed.

  • avatar
    George Herbert

    In terms of impact severity…

    The Sonata weighs around 3,330 lb assuming AT, and with passengers (assume 2 x 80% FAA “160 lb adult” for older people being somewhat lighter on average, plus some gas, add 275 lbs or so) is larger than the IIHS side-impact cart (1,500 kg / 3,300 lb) or NHTSA side-impact cart (3,015 lb). The NHTSA runs the cart at 62 kmh / 38.5 mph. The IIHS is at 31 mph / 50 km/h.

    In terms of location… The IIHS hit location for a Towncar is going to be 165 cm aft of the front wheel axle line (due to target car wheelbase > 290 cm). Without a Towncar to measure I am not sure, but I think that’s about 10 cm from the aft end of the front door based on quick photo interpolation. Someone with a Towncar is requested to measure…

    NHTSA centerpoint would be half the wheelbase forwards of the aft axle line, 59 inches (149.5 cm), so about six inches forwards of the IIHS point, and about where the center point of the damage was in the pictures of the accident, if I am reading it right.

    In rough terms, the hit roughly approximated the side impact test in position. The Sonata was heavier than the test carts, and it sounds like with both vehicles in motion the collision speed was significantly higher than the test standards, but without accident reconstruction data we can’t tell for sure.

    Pretty severe, but fortunately the chassis basically held. It sounds like it was nearing the point that deformation would have become catastrophic, however.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      So roughly 3500lbs of car is much less than the GVW of many of the trucks and C/SUVs on the road today. Chilling.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Good analysis.

      But 160 lbs (let alone 80% of it) is hopelessly optimistic for an average American adult these days: females already average 165 lbs, and males are at an average of 195 lbs. And those numbers are from 10 years ago, it’ll be worse now …

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    My Crown Vic’s airbags don’t function because I replaced the seats with leather seats from a junkyard. The original seats had side airbags, and the replacements don’t, causing the airbag light to come on. When the airbag light is on, the system is pretty much disabled. Piece of electrical tape and an inspector willing to overlook it and I’m on my merry way. Maybe I should fix it.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The seats had airbags?

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        It’s fairly common these days. Pretty sure my Element has airbags in the seats.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Best toward your recovery, Jack. That was a hard hit. Recovery takes time and it sucks, but hopefully you and your passengers have a full recovery.

        28. Ford has put airbags in the edge of the seatback for a number of years. I bought some used leather seats from a 4th generation Taurus to put in my second gen Sable and there was a bunch of wires from the seat…turns out there are air bags in the side of the seat. I found a small tag announcing them.

        This drives in what GEICO just told me. I priced out insurance on a 2014 Corvette convertible, telling the agent the VIN, and that I would be dropping coverage on a 95 Probe GT with no collision. Interesting enough, the additional cost for a high performance sports car with full coverage was only $400 more per six months for all three cars I own. GEICO said the vastly improved safety of the modern car pretty much offsets the cost of replacing a $70K car. He said the likelihood of injury in the new car was far lower and that paying off property loss was a much smaller consideration from the insurance company’s point of view than dealing with injury….

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I never knew that and I’m the sort who also rips seats out of junkyard cars for reuse although the last set was out of an 89 Cadillac. That’s also interesting to know insurance costs don’t necessarily rise on new cars because of improved survivability.

    • 0 avatar
      Acd

      The airbag light has been on in my Z3 for almost the past ten years according to the receipts from the previous owner. I think I’m going to go ahead and spend the three or four hundred to fix it–that suddenly seems incredibly cheap.

  • avatar
    tjominy

    Is it true that a defrocked priest tried to break into your hospital room?

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Jack – so sorry to hear of this! Our thoughts and prayers are with you, your son, your friend, and the occupants of the other car.

    You’re family to us on TTAC…Godspeed…and let the community know how we can help…

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Horrible crash.

    Best wishes for you and your partner to have a quick recovery. Also for the occupants of the other car.

    As a father of a 4yo like yours and a little baby, I’m glad the little one emerged unscathed.

  • avatar
    George B

    Wishing you and your companion a full recovery Jack. Between all the metal in you body and your physical appearance, I would guess that going though airport security is going to be interesting. I’d be interested in your observations on cars from the perspective of someone recovering from injury. You’re a very gifted writer who could make just about any topic interesting.

  • avatar
    DJTragicMike

    That is a serious accident.

    I’m surprised they didn’t helicopter you to a level 1 with polytrauma like that, especially spinal and pelvis fractures.

    I truly hope you and your friend recover fully.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    Jesus, Jack.

    (… and this is why I suck it up and put chains on when I have to drive on snow at any speed and for any distance.)

  • avatar
    CopperCountry

    Jack – so glad everyone survived, and praying for a full recovery for all involved. Most people have no idea of the level of pain involved in a pelvis fracture … almost every major muscle in your core is attached to it, and the slightest movement – even a hiccup – can be excruciating. But you’ve been there before, so you know that the pain you’re going through right now will be forgotten in a few years. In the meantime, however, don’t let them skimp on the Oxy! (it’s wonderful stuff when used for this purpose.)

  • avatar
    CA Guy

    Reading over time about little John and your devotion to him made this news even more real. I hope the two of you have many more healthy and happy years together, and the same wish extends to your partner and her child. Improving automobile safety is a very worthy topic for discussion and I’m looking forward to your enhanced perspective in future articles. Get well and get back to the job!

  • avatar
    Speedygreg7

    Jack,

    I wish you, your friend and your son a full recovery. Maybe you can replace the Panther with the Dodge Caravan you love to rent when the right time comes.

  • avatar
    ScottE5

    Just returned from sunny southwest back to this nonsense of a midwest winter and got caught up with this story. Wow. Glad to hear you’re all on the mend. Wishing you a speedy recovery with minimal BS along the way.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    I wish you and your passenger good luck on your recovery. Take pause to enjoy being alive.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “I fractured my spine, hips, pelvis, right leg, and lost most of my spleen to some very brilliant surgery.”

    That’s some rough stuff. I hope your and your friend make a full recovery.

  • avatar
    mike978

    I have a question regarding snow tires and AWD which is timely with Jack’s experience and my relocating from sunny NC to snowy PA later this year.

    Is having a FWD car with snow tires a better bet than an AWD vehicle with decent all-season tires during the winter season? Or are they comparable, or are snow tires the way to go?

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      Without a doubt you want winter tires regardless of the vehicle you put them on, be it FWD, RWD,or AWD. Get AWD if you drive on hilly, secondary roads that may not be cleared and you’re worried about getting through. For normal driving on primary roads FWD or RWD is fine.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      There is absolutely no comparison how much better true winter tires are than “all seasons”. AWD helps you go, it does NOT help you stop or turn. The following video is worth 1000 words:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlYEMH10Z4s

      Of course, best of all is AWD with winter tires. My Range Rover on skinny Hankook iPikes can pretty much be driven in snow/slush like the snow isn’t there. Absolutely amazing how hard you can brake before the ABS activates. Even wet glare ice was not much of a problem on Monday.

      I was reminded how cosmically awful all-seasons are last week. Rented LaCrosse in PA for the big storm. Only an inch of snow on the ground (but no sand or salt yet) when I drove back to my hotel for the night and the thing was hopeless. Michelin all-seasons of some kind.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I have heard this so often that I’m beginning ask how do tire manufacturers get away with calling a tire “all season” promoting an impression of safety year round when really nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t get it, especially if the tire company would stand to make more money by saying “three season” and here’s a set for the forth season

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Well, they don’t really make more or less money. If you keep the car long enough to wear out two sets of tires it’s a wash for tire cost. Ideally you want a second set of wheels, of course. Snow tires, a used set of alloys, and TPMS sensors cost me ~$1000 for my BMW.

          For a good chunk of the country, all seasons are OK. But not in the Northern half. It’s mostly that people are lazy and/or have never experienced how good modern snow tires are. All most have ever driven is a FWD car on all season tires. They do “OK” in the snow, to a point. But IMHO most of Europe and Quebec get this right in requiring winter tires. Can’t afford a dedicated set of winter tires, run them year ’round – that is perfectly legal and I would rather be on snow tires in the summer than summer tires in the winter.

  • avatar
    Madroc

    Speedy recovery, Jack. I’ve been telling myself I’ll get Blizzaks for my new Mustang “next winter” but after reading your story at the end of my two-day drive from Green Bay to Indianapolis, maybe I shouldn’t wait. Get well soon and keep writing when you can.

    • 0 avatar
      Trend-Shifter

      I have Michelin X-ice Xi2 snow tires on my 87 Audi Quattro and the car is amazing in winter. I run separate winter and summer tires/wheels. (summer: Michelin Pilot Exalto PE2)

      I have Michelin Super Pilot Sport “all seasons” tires on my 84 Audi FWD.
      The summer and rain performance is fantastic. However the winter snow & ice performance is absolutely terrible bordering on unsafe.
      Up to now I did not install any winter snow tires on this car because it usually lives in the garage most of the time. We try not to drive it in the snow and salt. But this is the wife’s driver and sometimes she gets caught out in some snow and ice running around locally.
      After this story about Jack I immediately ordered some snow tires from Tire Rack to install on the old rims I have in storage. I should have them by this weekend.

      Searching for some good to come out of this incident could be to create some awareness on the effectiveness of “snow tires” over “all season tires” in the snow belt during winter.
      Maybe this message can reach out to the www and save someone that definitely will not have the driving skills of Jack so that they may not have to attempt to answer that question.

      • 0 avatar
        AoLetsGo

        Yes I swapped out my all-seasons for Michelin X-ice on my brand new FWD Edge this winter. They sure came in handy a few weeks ago when I did an 11 hour trip from Michigan Tech to Detroit with the first 8 hours in heavy snow.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    Jack you probably know this, but don’t neglect your mental health as you recover. An accident like this is a pretty huge stressor, with many stages of emotional adjustments. In my own life I’ve made things worse by pretending “I’m fine” when I wasn’t. Get well soon.

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    Best wishes on a speedy recovery!
    My daughter had a two hour drive back to college this last Sunday and we worried and debated and finally made her go first thing Sunday morning when the snow was lighter and it was warmer (20′s). Thankfully she made it with no problems.
    Hopefully you will soon feel well enough to start getting antsy I believe you like to read so I humbly offer some suggestions:
    Neal Stephenson – all books
    Jim Harrison – all books
    Jeff Shaara – good historical war novels
    S.C. Gwynne – Empire of the Summer Moon – history of the Comanches Tribe “will leave blood and dust on your jeans” NY Times
    Patrick Rothfuss – both books
    Jared Diamond – Guns, Germs and Steel
    China Mieville – Perdido Street Station (strange, dark sci fi)

    That’s all for now, maybe others have suggestions.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ll vouch for Guns Germs and Steel. One of the best I ever read

      Also, Stephen King’s 11/22/1963. This is the only King book I’ve ever read, but I liked it so much I read it twice. A page turner, and an incredibly well-crafted book. Guy goes back in time to try to avert JFK’s assassination; but the passage into the past only goes to Sept 8, 1958. He has plenty of adventures on the way to… well, I’m not going to spoil it. The main character loves the Ford Sunliner he buys used in the past.

      Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. A bio of Lincoln. The title refers to him and his cabinet. You feel like you’re hanging out with him, it’s so vivid.

      Reckless Youth, by Nigel Hamilton. About JFK’s youth. You feel like you’re hanging out with him, and he’s an awful lot of fun to hang out with. A ribald youth (but you knew that). Yet, you see him mature and become intellectually independent from his father (while never ceasing to love the guy) as he grows up.

  • avatar
    jwb65

    I hope everyone recovers quickly. Because of this I decided to order a set of snow tires from the Tire Rack. I should have them Thursday.

  • avatar
    gmrn

    Jack,

    God bless that you, your son, and all others survived. This will be a life changing event, but hopefully you and your loved ones will all become stronger from it. That there is a sincere wish for you, and not just horseshit super-dee-duper optimism.

    Now, some tips from this RN who’s been around the block a few times.

    Likely, you’re on a good dose of pain meds. Wrap your head around the fact that opiate pain medications decrease smooth muscle function (think intestines/bowels). Thus, constipation is a very common side effect. This may sound trivial, but please trust me, rectal tears from attempting to pass a brick-like-object are the last thing you desire on top of all other pains. ~This really happens.~
    -If you’re not on stool softeners, ask to be.
    -Consider a bulking agent like Metamucil for this same reason.
    -Opt for high fiber choices in that delicious hospital/rehab food. You can ask for this via a Dietician or Dr order to facilitate. You know why.

    If I can be of any assistance for questions, please feel free to contact me via the email associated with my TTAC account, safeguarded by the TTAC attackbot.

    Best wishes for a steady recovery for you and all folks involved.

    Regards,
    Gene

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Best wishes for excellent recovery and… Please don’t buy another Town Car.

  • avatar
    mypoint02

    Get well soon Jack. Glad to hear your son wasn’t hurt. As a new parent, this kind of stuff scares the crap out of me. It’s been a rough winter here in the upper midwest and this has me really thinking about buying snow tires again. Hope everyone recovers soon.

  • avatar
    ptschett

    Thoughts & prayers w/ you & yours (and the folks in the other car too), Jack.

    Watch out for c-diff (clostridium difficile) infection with that kind of invasive surgery. My dad broke his hip 2 years ago in a fall off a corn planter he was building; he’s still arguing w/ the hospital about his share of his bill, since most of his stay was from the avoidable infection complications rather than the necessary time for the surgery & recovery.

  • avatar
    Mark in Maine

    Gawd, Jack, what an experience – I’m glad that you and your passenger are alive and healing, and that your Son was uninjured. The pictures speak for themselves. The accident that I was involved in back in October still has me jumpy and hyperaware whenever I’m in a vehicle – even as a passenger. That takes some time to get over, too. I noticed when looking at the pictures that accompanied the article, that this was the same model Sonata that broadsided us last fall, and bent our old Legacy wagon into a “U”. Rest, mend, and recover, Jack, and here’s to hoping that your car-seat passenger will bounce back quickly, as well. Last thing: There is a LOT of snow up here now, and the trails are good – but you’re going to have to postpone that snowmobiling trip, I think.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    Jack,

    You may not be the same man that you were when you climbed into that car, but it sounds like you’re the same writer.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Jack, praying you and your lady friend’s recovery is swift, and I’m glad your son wasn’t injured.

  • avatar
    Redshift

    I hope everyone involved gets well soon and glad it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

  • avatar
    nutbags

    I wish you and all involved a speedy and full recovery. My thoughts and prayers are with all of those involved.

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    I’m sorry to hear that. It sounds awful and difficult to imagine. Get well soon. Spend time with your son.

  • avatar
    imag

    I just got back from a vacation, catching up online. First Schumacher, now Jack. What a winter.

    I echo the well wishes wholeheartedly. I am thankful that all involved are alive, and wish each of you the best in your recovery. I am grateful that we didn’t lose you.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    After falling asleep at 70mph and writing off a 22-year old Dodge Spirit, I ditched the satisfaction and questionable economy of maintaining an older car in good shape, and saw the wisdom of replacing it with a modern vehicle with lots of air bags and stability control. I also added a Mobileye system just for that extra layer of safety. And vowed to smarten up and never let it happen again.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      I haven’t yet had an accident, but I am also ditching my older car in good shape, but which is requiring more and more maintenance, for a new car.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    I didn’t expect another post from you so soon, Jack. Glad to hear you’re doing well enough for that.

  • avatar
    Ringer

    Best of luck on the recovery, both physical and mental. Hope to see you out with TrackDaze again.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States