Good evening to you all,
Most of you are aware that Erin and I, our dogs Eve and Guffman and our cat Adam were in an accident on the highway two weeks ago.
We were traveling back to Nashville after a string of shows in the Cleveland area. We were on I65 in Kentucky when we were caught in a major back up due to an accident 2 miles ahead (south) of us. We sat in the middle lane of a construction area for 2-3 hours. Just before traffic began to move again, I turned the key of our Honda Pilot and it would not start. I tried several times but a green key light kept appearing on our dash. We looked up the light in our manual and it explained what that light means....It meant that the key had been "immobilized". The car was no longer recognizing the key. We could not start our vehicle.
A trucker behind us and some guys from other cars, pushed our truck as far to the right as they could. But it was a construction lane, intended to be a single, not a double lane, with concrete barriers on each side. We had nowhere to go. We could not climb over the barriers with our pets and we could not move over any more than we had. All we could do was place our emergency reflective triangle behind the truck, place an extra bright blinking light on the back of it, put on our flashers and call 911.
After about 1/2 hour, a state trooper came near us in the lane headed north (we were in the southbound lane). We had called for a tow very early on but he could not get to us from 2 miles north because of the back up. I was relieved when I saw the trooper because I thought he could light us up somehow and get us out of there. He told us that he would go north and try to get out tow through. Then he left. No lights, no flares. When he did not come back I called the police again and explained our situation and begged them to send help.
At one point the woman on the line said, oh our cars are north of you waking up the truckers that have been sleeping during the back up so they start moving. I explained that we didn't want traffic to move, that when it started moving we were going to be in great danger. In spite of this, the trooper did not return and traffic started coming.
I couldn't help but look in the review mirror as traffic behind sped toward us. I could see cars and semis fast approaching and just prayed that they would see us...that we would not be hit. I called 911 three times and was told each time, that I was out of their jurisdiction and was transferred. I explained that we were sitting ducks and needed help immediately. I felt at one point that I was going into shock. I've never been more frightened. No help came.
Then I heard Erin say, "no no no!" and bam! We were hit. We were not hurt, amazingly. Erin got out of the car immediately. I'm a bit fuzzy but I think I checked for Adam, Eve and Guffman right away. Guffman and Eve appeared to be ok but no Adam. While Erin had an exchange with the man who hit us, I called the police and told them that the inevitable had happened. They said they were getting someone to us. If you are ever in a situation like this, I suggest you tell the police you have been hit and you're bleeding. Tell them that before you get hit. In hindsight that's what I would do and I don't give a damn about the consequences.
We realized after a minute or two (maybe less) that Adam was gone. We ran up and down the lanes calling for him, searching for him. The drivers side back back window had been shattered and we thought Adam had been thrown or jumped out of it. We also thought he might be in the truck hiding. Adam stays under the seat of our truck when travel. It's a safe spot. But he came out as we sat in traffic. He was behind the front seats. The guy who hit us was searching for his dog who had leapt from his car. He found him. It was pretty much mayhem.
We saw a sewer grate and looked down that and called for Adam. He was not there. Nowhere.
Meanwhile, frustrated travelers behind us got out of their cars and semis and moved the truck of the guy who had hit us because we were side by side blocking traffic. I was glad about that because it meant that traffic could not move and put us right back where we started. But they moved his truck and traffic started again. Finally a woman in a truck with flashers from a company contracted by the construction company to report and stay with stranded vehicles, pulled up behind our cars and lit us up. I finally felt safe. But now we were panicked about Adam.
Our tow truck driver arrived. A while after that the incompetent trooper returned. Erin told him he was responsible for this wreck. She asked why he did not come back. He said he could not get through traffic. This does not make sense to us. If traffic was moving, why could he not put on his siren and flashers send traffic to the side and come get us. I don't think we'll ever know. Then he told Erin, "we're gonna help you find your cat". He took a report, really not much questioning to Erin, while I looked for Adam. The trooper, after asking Erin for our insurance info., told her the card she has was expired. He told her he wouldn't cite her for that, thank God for these small mercies...jerk! She said, "I can bring up the updated one on my phone if you like". He said that was ok. I just cannot believe it. All of this and he brings that up. Deflect deflect. I am not bitter but I am angry.
Our tow truck driver said to me, "Well, you called it." This man could not have been more kind and accommodating to us.
Our totaled truck
We had to drive away from the scene without Adam. We simply could not stay out on the highway. We now regret that we did not go that night to look for him on the side of the highway. I don't know how we could have. We had no car, we had two frightened animals and we were truly shaken.
We got to a hotel and emptied our truck searching for Adam, inside under the hood...no Adam. Our driver took our truck to the nearest Honda dealer. The next thing I remember after one hour of sleep is getting a rental car, driving out to the spot of the accident and beginning our search.
We have been looking for Adam for 2 weeks. We've have done all we know to find him. There are flyers all around Bonnieville KY, robo calls have been made to 300 people, FB ads have been sent to everyone within a 4 mile radius of the accident. We have asked neighbors to look for him, given them the flyer with Adam's photo and description and our phone numbers. We trap every day. We check the traps every 4 hours during the day, let them be for 7 hours over night and start all over. We move 6 traps every 2 days. Each round of checking takes at least an hour. We've searched in culverts, barns, woods, bushes along the highway. We have a trail camera set up to help spot him and we have more on the way that will let us check our site remotely. Experts have told us not to give up.
One of our traps. Get in Adam!
We bounce back and forth between hope and despair, all the while searching.
I must say that I have experienced people at their worst and many more at their best. I think law enforcement that night was at its worst. I think the people who cleared the lane after our accident so they could move on, were at their worst. The indifference to our situation has cut me deeply and I despair at it.
But my heart has been reminded that there are people who love. Erin and I have been shown nothing but kindness by the good people of Bonnieville Kentucky. There has been no one who has not allowed us to search for Adam on their property, no one who has not expressed concern or said to us, "I'll be praying" or "bless you". People have called us at the sight of any cat who looks like Adam. One woman held a cat in her bathroom and sent us a photo in case it was Adam. Many of you have been praying, sending hopeful and positive thoughts our way. You have helped find us a place to stay near the site of our searching. Thank you Susan for opening your home to us. One of you drove from Stow Ohio to help us search. Jo, you knew me only from my work in music and you drove 6 hours and be with us for 4 days to help in our search. What a friend! I have prayed with a pastor, talked with farmers, met the most eloquent 13 year old young man who helped us search and seen care and concern in the eyes of a lumber mill worker. I am grateful that love exists. Erin feels the same.
The love that Erin and I have been given online from hundreds and hundreds of people has kept us going. So many of you have and continue to spread the word about Adam, putting more eyes out there to find him.Please keep doing that. You have raised money so that we can get the tools we need to find Adam, cover some expenses and offer a reward for his safe return. Nothing would thrill me more than to hand $300 to someone who could really use it and to bring Adam home.
The only thing I'm sure of about the world right now is that there is love and there is indifference and we are the choosers. We choose to love or to not love. That is all I know.
There is great suffering all around. My cousin died of cancer this week, her parents are suffering. My other cousin has MS, she has suffered for years, her family is suffering. My dear friend is watching her father die and having to be brave as his mind continues to fail and illness ravages his body. A man I went to school with, died two days ago, after suffering with depression for years. My family has its own troubles and challenges. In context, one might say, mine and Erin's situation pales in comparison with all of this. But I believe that no one's suffering erases that of another. If you hurt, I can still hurt. If something happens to me but something "bigger" happens to you, something still happened to me. As we continue to worry about Adam, feel sad about not finding him yet and work to do our best, I sometimes tell myself, there are others who are hurting. There are others with bigger problems than yours. To all of you and those suffering I offer my love and I thank you for yours.
Again, we are the choosers. We choose to love or to be indifferent.
I choose love.
Please continue to pray for us and Adam.
I am back in Nashville preparing to go on the road and caring for Eve and Guffman. Erin is in Bonnieville continuing. I will join her when I get back. We are hoping to find a short term rental so we can all be together near the site. We have found a man in Bonnieville who can help us trap so that Erin does not have to carry this burden alone and so we can double our efforts. We are told to keep searching, keep the community engaged through continued checking in, new posters, calls,visits. We will. The more eyes looking, the better. We hope that he has been taken in by someone who is not yet aware we are looking. We pray he is safe somewhere and cared for.
If you wish to contribute to helping find Adam you can here.
Thank you for all of your love.
Erin, Anne E., Guffman, Eve and Adam...our family.