Mercy and love from


by Peter Kolaszewski
"I had driven my 18 wheeler down I-44 hundreds of times before. There is plenty of time to think on long runs and I was remembering the 30 or 40 years I had tried to be in control of my life. How hard I must have been to live with. How I had tried to control the lives of those around me, my wife Linda and our 5 daughters. How I went to church because that is what I was supposed to do but I didn't really get anything out of Mass. Then about 6 or 7 years ago I met the Lord because of something that happened that dynamically involved our whole family, and I didn't know how to handle it. I didn't know where to turn, so in desperation, I went to the Lord. He not only took me back in forgiveness, He helped me through the situation. Since then He has worked in my life in many wonderful ways. But last January 16th, He really showed me His mercy and how much He loves me.

This night I was on my way to Oklahoma, just west of St. Louis. It was early evening. The road was clear, the stars were out. My favorite country western music was on, and it was a beautiful night. I was going about 60 when I noticed a pair of headlights come out from behind the truck and start to pass me. I didn't think much of it until I heard a loud bang and felt a real violent jolt. Something was pushing my truck to the right side of the road. I looked in the mirror and saw this station wagon spinning out of control alongside of my truck, then it disappeared. I began to shut it (the truck) down.

My gross weight was 80,000 pounds. It took about a quarter of a mile to come to a full stop. I got out of the cab and started to walk back through a pathway of fuel and broken glass. I had been driving since I was 18 and had better than 3 million miles behind me. I prayed, "Lord help us." I have seen some terrible accidents in that time. Experience told me there would be serious injury, and most likely fatalities in this one.

I wasn't prepared for what I saw. There in that mess of a car were eight people: 3 adults (I would find out later the driver was a 15 year old girl who had just gotten her learners permit), and 5 children, (ranging in age from 1 to about 11). Nobody had a seat belt on. Nobody was crying. Everyone was quiet. There was glass all around these kids and nobody had a cut, a scratch or a bruise, nothing. There was fuel all over the road and there had been no fire. The baby never even woke up. It was still sleeping in its mother's arms. Nothing had happened to anyone in that car.

The two people driving directly behind me told me this: The car came alongside of me and lost control because of the draft of my truck. The rear end of the car hit my 150 gallon fuel tank. (There are two, one on either side of the truck, located behind the cab.) The impact ruptured the tank and it began spilling fuel all over the road. She spun off the fuel tank and he said he could see that the back window along with the right rear window of her car had shattered, sending broken glass into the car and all over its occupants. The witnesses said the car started to go under the rear axle of the trailer. It was just forward of it. Because of the momentum and weight of the truck, the truck would have had no choice but to roll over the car, crushing it. They said, "At one time, the whole front end of the car was under the trailer and, at the last second, before the trailer tires hit it, the car reversed direction. "It was as if God stuck his hand in, pulled the car out and put it over on the median strip."

As I stood there, I couldn't help but think, six years ago, I would have come unglued. This young girl, 'who doesn't know how to drive, wrecked my truck,' 'what a jerk,' and all the other things that go with it. I probably would have cussed her out, but now I felt nothing but God's mercy. No one had been hurt.

I felt His love flow within me. He knew, if someone would have been seriously hurt or killed, I probably would not have been able to handle it. It was then I realized the Lord loved me so much that He didn't want me to have this on my conscience, even though it would not have been my fault. With all that had just happened, I felt at peace with the Lord.

I looked around and everyone else who was standing there on the Interstate was remarkably calm, too. Almost as if nothing had happened. The policeman put his arm on my shoulder and said he had never seen an accident like that, where no safety devices were used, and no one had a scratch. He said, "It was amazing."

Since then, I have heard from one of the witnesses who was in the car behind me several times. And although I haven't been in touch with any of the occupants in the car, I am sure that family will remember January 16th, the day the hand of God touched them for the rest of their lives. I know I will never forget.