I was on my way home from a shift two weeks ago, on a highway headed out of town, just before midnight. Minding my own business when all of a sudden there was a pedestrian in my lane. In the split second it took my brain to say, “oh, shit, that’s a person” and get my foot on the brake pedal, I hit him.
I stopped immediately, grabbed my phone and called 911 while I ran back toward his body. I knew from 50 yards away he was dead. There was a country bar not far away where several deputies were on scene of who-knows-what, so they made it on scene of my crash within moments. I couldn’t even bring myself to start CPR, as soon as I got close I knew he was gone.
The angles of the head, neck, body. . .the pool of blood. . .none of it was compatible with life. I spent probably three hours on scene with deputies and state patrol. I was sent home and told it wasn’t my fault, that he was probably very drunk, and there was nothing I could’ve done.
In my head, I know all those things to be true, but that hasn’t helped stop the nightmares. Or the panic attacks. Or the lack of concentration. All told, my event was over in less than two seconds but I relive it every time I close my eyes. I’m taking medication to help sleep.
I’m working with a therapist to get my head straight. But right now, today, I’m not okay. Not yet.
– Story written by an anonymous first responder.