In March of 2017, Sarah Beck and her two children were driving from Baja, Mexico, to California to meet her husband to begin a family vacation. Highway 1 is a beautiful and adventurous drive, but can be challenging for those not experienced on its narrow roads, high ravines, pot holes and other “obstacles.” Sarah is an experienced Highway 1 driver, having traveled it for 25 years. “I had my first driving lessons on it and have driven the highway too many times to count,” she said.
After refueling in Jesus Maria, Sarah and her kids continued on their drive towards San Quintin, the next stop on their journey. After passing a big rig and hitting a straight stretch with no other cars in sight, what happened next took Sarah by complete surprise.
“I can’t quite grasp what happened next. One minute everything was great and the next, I was crashing. I am fairly certain the front passenger tire went flat. Everything happened so quickly. With the tire flat, the truck veered off the highway to the right, I panicked and turned the steering wheel to get the truck back on the road. It was then that I realized that I had lost control of the truck. We were spinning in the middle of the highway. As we came around I thought that maybe I could straighten out, but we were going too fast. The truck went flying off the road and as we flew through the air and then hit the dirt, I thought maybe it would be okay, but when we hit the dirt the truck began to roll. We were crashing and there was nothing that I could do to stop it. It rolled four times. It probably all happened in under a minute, but those four rolls were the longest, most violent thing I have experienced.”
“Thankfully the truck landed on the tires. We weren’t suspended upside down or anything. There was dirt and glass everywhere. I could hear my son crying, but my daughter wasn’t making a sound. I didn’t think, I slammed by body against the door until it opened and rushed to the other side of the car, where my daughter was strapped into her car seat. As I rushed to her, I flagged down the semi-truck that I had passed earlier. He stopped and came running. My daughter was moaning now and my son was asking me what happened. I will never be able to erase the look of terror in his eyes as I watched tears run down his dirty cheeks.”
“’We crashed baby, we crashed. I am sorry. I don’t know if Layla is okay. Are you hurt? Are you bleeding?’ I said to him as I willed my daughter to open her eyes. He promised me that nothing was hurt on his body as I searched her body. There was a goose egg above her head, I didn’t see anything else, but I couldn’t figure out where the blood was coming from. As I removed her from her car seat, I questioned if it was the safest thing to do, but I did it anyway. The trucker asked me in Spanish what he could do and I made a prayer of thanks that I speak Spanish. I told him to remove my son from his seat and sat down in the dirt with my daughter and cooed in her ear that everything would be okay. The trucker deposited my son in my lap and I inspected every inch of them. Aside from the goose egg and a cut on my daughter’s finger, they were okay. There was barely a scratch on them. It’s a testament for how good Diono car seats are. I am crying as I write this sentence, those car seats saved my kid’s lives.”
For over an hour Sarah waited for an ambulance to arrive at the scene, while good Samaritans offered what help they could give. It was another hour’s ride in an ambulance to the nearest hospital in Guerrero Negro and along the way firefighters assured her that all three were okay. Once at the hospital, nurses and doctors looked over everyone, gave Sarah some stitches in her head and told her to see a specialist about her injured right wrist. X-rays later revealed it had been broken in three places.
Sarah said “I don’t know how or why we survived the insanely violent experience of flying off the road, rolling and crashing our truck in the middle of Baja…what I do know, is that I look at my kids in utter amazement and am so very grateful for those Diono Radian RXT seats and how strong our truck was.”
You can read Sarah’s entire, amazing story on her blog, This Gypsy Path.
All photos courtesy Sarah Beck.