Sunday morning started out like most Sunday mornings for us. We were up early and out the door by 6:30 to preview a country auction in Vermont. We stopped to fill the cooler with ice for my newly sprained ankle and get coffee for the ride and off we sent.
There wasn't much traffic on interstate 91 as we headed north toward the auction site but we did see an electronic sign warning drunk drivers about "roving patrols" that would be looking for them over the holiday weekend. The fog that had enveloped us when we started out had burned off and the day was promising to be perfect. I was enjoying the ride, sipping my coffee and we were chatting about nothing in particular. A little way in front of us was a small red pickup that we didn't even notice until it suddenly jerked a bit to the and caught our attention.
"What was that about?" I asked my boyfriend. He thought the driver was probably just dialing or answering a cell phone. We watched for a minute as the truck moved over from the left lane to the right and I began to accept the cell phone theory but the truck continued to the right and nearly went off the road. It recovered and I dialed 911 on my cell phone. We continued to watch for the next however many mile as the truck crossed from one side of the highway to the other, seemingly bouncing off the sides of the road. We reported our location as the truck accelerated at times to probably 90 miles per hour or more and then would slow down to below the speed limit. We held our collective breath as it passed another car on the highway and made it past.
The state police asked me to stay on the phone as we neared an interchange with another highway to let them know if the truck took the other highway or continued on I-91, but it suddenly turned into a rest area about a mile before the interchange, nearly hitting the sign on the way in. I reported this to the officer on the other end of the line as we continued on.
The rest of the day I wondered if the police had caught up with the truck at the rest area. On the way home my boyfriend stopped at a state police station that we passed to inquire and put my mind to rest. Unfortunately, it turned out that the police had not found the vehicle at the rest area when they arrived.
Of course, now I feel terrible that we didn't follow that truck into the rest area to see that he stopped and that the police were able to stop him from driving further. If nothing else we might have been able to report the license plate number which we had been unable to get close enough to see on the highway. It bothers me to know that this person continued to drive after we went on. They did not belong on the road. If there had been more traffic on the road that morning they could have easily killed someone. And, what bothers me more than anything about not staying with that truck until the police intercepted it is the thought that the person driving will continue to do so. They obviously have no regard for themselves and certainly none for anyone who may be unlucky enough to be around them. I hate the thought that because I didn't stay with that truck it's out there and could hurt someone today. It may not be anyone I know and I may never hear about what pain and destruction this person will cause but I feel that I should have done more because, from what I saw Sunday morning, there is no doubt in my mind that the driver of that red Mazda pickup will eventually hurt themselves and others.
My mistake here was in thinking rationally that the driver had pulled into the rest area and was now off the road. I forgot that this driver was not rational. This was at 7:30 in the morning, the driver was obviously beyond impaired, why did I think that he was making a rational decision to get off the road? I asked my boyfriend later how anyone in that state could even think about getting in a car and driving? Again, I was thinking from a rational perspective and it just didn't make any sense from that perspective. In hindsight I realize that it's more likely the driver was not rationally stopping at that rest area but intended to take the other highway and thought that the rest area was the exit. When the mistake was realized the driver probably went right through the rest area and got right back on the highway.
I can't tell you how frightening it was to watch this driver on the road. My words can't begin to convey that. I'm so sorry we didn't do more to get this driver off the road and I wanted to tell you about this experience so that maybe, if any of you are in this situation you'll do a better job than we did. And, whatever else you do, please don't drink and drive!