Family survives roll-over accident
By ELIZABETH CELMS
Mercer Island Reporter Contributor
June 2, 2009 · Updated 3:21 PM
A roll-over accident occurred shortly after 8 a.m. on May 28 at the intersection of 86th Avenue S.E. and S.E. 44th Street when a white sedan T-boned a Nissan Pathfinder, flipping it over on impact.
Island resident Linda Rorem was driving the Pathfinder with three of her four children riding along. She had just dropped her eldest off at Mercer Island High School for class.
After being struck in the rear driver’s side, Rorem’s car rolled over three times, landing on its side against a residential fence. Nobody in the car was injured.
“It’s just amazing that nobody was hurt,” Rorem said. “We flipped three times; onto the passenger side, the roof, and then we landed on the driver’s side against a fence. Glass was everywhere, but nobody had a scratch on them.”
The mother attributes her children’s safety to the car’s safety response system. The side airbags went off on impact, perhaps saving the life of her 12-year-old son, Chris.
“It’s a miracle he’s alive. He was right there where the car struck. He said he felt the impact,” Rorem said.
All four passengers had seat belts on and Rorem’s youngest child, Caroline, was strapped securely in a booster seat, which kept her from falling out while the car was upside down.
“Everything that was supposed to happen did. You never think about these [safety] things until an accident happens,” she said, adding that the car was totaled in the accident. A towing company has already dropped the vehicle off at a scrap yard.
The woman driving the sedan was not injured. According to Rorem, the accident occurred when the woman failed to yield to Rorem after driving through the intersection. She did not, reportedly, come to a full stop at the sign.
Both parties have insurance, which will cover most of the accident’s vehicular damage. Yet Rorem lost one possession during the accident that holds more worth than her car.
“I lost my wedding ring. My husband upgraded it two years ago with three diamonds,” she said, adding that she spent more than an hour looking for the ring after the accident. But in the end, the ring is nothing when compared to her children’s lives.
“I’d give up my ring for my kids’ lives any day. I said to my daughter, it looks like I traded in one of my diamonds for each of your lives,” she said.
Rorem’s fourth child, a sophomore at Mercer Island High School, had been dropped off at the campus minutes before the accident occurred.
Looking back on the accident, Rorem was amazed at how calm her three children were. Her 12-year-old was the one who informed the family how they would safely get out of the smashed car.
“He said, ‘Mom, we have to climb out the sun roof — that’s what they teach us on the bus,’” Rorem said, adding that she had opened the sun roof shortly before the crash. “All of that safety training helped.”
The family is currently using a rental car until their insurance claims are settled and they can purchase a new vehicle.