Sunday, July 14, 2013

Terror on Lake Coeur D'Alene

Cindy and Scott have a season pass for 4 for the boat rides on the lake, so they invited us to join them. It's a nice 90-minute ride around the lake, viewing places where the rich and famous live and play. Scott had to work that day, so it was just the three of us. We were going to meet at 2:00 for the 2:30 sailing, but Cindy was running late and pulled into the parking lot just as the boat was leaving.

We decided to wait for the 4:30 boat, and sat at a picnic table near the head of the pier, between the beach and the parking lot. The girls were chatting away, and I decided to try to find a sports bar and watch some golf.

While I was gone, Vicki got a pretzel and a virgin margarita from the Tiki Hut, a trailer parked about 12 feet from the picnic table. She and Cindy were talking when suddenly a white van traveling in reverse crashed into the Tiki Hut and was pushing it toward them.

The picnic table is built with steel bars connecting the middle of each seat to the table. Vicki had to move into the path of the vehicles to get out of the seat, and then stood and ran around the picnic table toward the beach. Cindy tried to move toward the beach, but her legs were blocked by the steel bar, and she fell onto the concrete. Without time to get to her feet, she rolled toward the beach to avoid the van and Tiki Hut which were coming at her.

The two girls working in the Tiki Hut came flying out the back door onto the beach, as the van had crashed into the front of it, where customers would have been standing, waiting to be served. And where Vicki had been only minutes before. Neither of the girls had been injured, but the hot oil inside had splashed all over the place.

The van and the Tiki Hut, now a single vehicle, stopped within a few feet of the picnic table, and a young boy, looking about 8 years old, got out of the van and ran into the water.

Someone called the police, and they managed to coax the boy out of the water. He was quite frightened, and appeared to be autistic. Nobody claimed to be with him, or responsible for him. The police could not even get him to tell his name. He kept hitting his head with his fists, and the only words he would say were “No Becky, No Becky”.

Vicki had called me, and I arrived back at the picnic table to find that Cindy had some bumps and bruises from her fall, but was otherwise unhurt, as were Vicki and the two girls in the Tiki Hut. The adrenaline was high in the four of them, a crowd had gathered, and there was much talk of the good fortune that no customers were standing there, and that nobody was seriously injured, and of what the legal resolution might ultimately be.

It turns out the van was the supply / tow vehicle for the Tiki Hut, and was parked 30 feet away, unlocked, with the keys in the ash tray. The owner was called, and came to deal with the police and the cleanup. She exchanged names and phone numbers with Cindy, in case of any injuries not immediately apparent.

This is Cindy sitting at the picnic table after the fact, telling Scott what had happened.  Someone sent their cell phone pictures to the local TV station, and Scott saw Cindy on TV later.

Here's the front of the van and Tiki Hut trailer

Soon after, the 4:30 boat was ready for us, and we began our leisurely cruise on peaceful and beautiful Lake Coeur D'Alene.

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