November 1, 1995, a cloudy day when our 20 year old Megan was killed, after her white VW Rabbit convertible crashed into the rear of an illegally parked lumber truck on the I-15 freeway in Loma Linda, California. Heaven touched our lives three times that day, first when a lite mist fell to earth as Megan was driving south on I-15 about 10 am, on her way home for school after visiting friends in the desert on Halloween. A truck driver, who earlier this day decided to save time and money by not covering his load at the lumber yard, changed his mind. He now decided to stop in the narrow ‘Emergency Lane’ on the freeway under an overpass to get out of the lite mist and cover his lumber load.
Megan was driving in the slow lane on the curving freeway, when she saw something in her driving lane ahead of her. She panicked, jammed on her car’s brakes, and experienced hell while skidding for 100 feet in a straight line going from the slow lane into the ‘Emergency Lane’, missed hitting the truck driver and slammed into the rear of the trailer at about 40 mph !
Moments later, heaven sent a young Christian ‘saint’ named Shane Riley. A ‘Good Samaritan’ passer by who stopped to help. Shane a Search and Rescue member trained in Trauma First Aid and CPR, alone rescued Megan from her burning car, cleared her breathing passages, laid her head in his lap as he sat on the roadside comforting and praying for her. Megan silently looked up at ‘our saint’ until she became unconscious. Shane vividly remembers time standing still, hearing nothing around him, and experiencing a tranquil out of body journey, compelled by an extremely bright light drawing them both up towards heaven. We truly believe Shane became a part of the last time heaven would touch our lives that day, when God sent his angels to the roadside to bring Megan back to her eternal heavenly home, as she only lived unconsciously for 40 minutes.
In the California Highway Patrol’s accident report it was noted and no citation issued, that the crash was caused by Megan “being at fault for driving in the Emergency Lane”. The truck driver was not even noted or cited for stopping in the Emergency Lane for a non-emergency ! An unbelievable report not making any common sense, missing facts and supporting bu$iness over public safety.
On behalf of Megan’s honor we sought the truth of what really caused Megan’s tragic crash, so we filed a Wrongful Death Civil suit. During the pretrial phase, the truth was disclosed when the truck driver admitted he was standing in the slow lane of traffic, pulling on a rope for the lumber’$ cover !
An avoidable crash that could have been prevented ! However Megan had no choice when the truck driver alone made all the deci$ion$ that would effect both of their lives forever. Initially he only thought about losing time and money, then later only thought of his load of lumber and the possible loss of money, and when he illegally parked his truck under the Bellgrave overpass, he was clearly not concerned about public safety ! The truck driver committed many acts of negligence, all leading causes of our Megan being killed! Yet the investigating CHP officer and his supervisors condoned this truck driver’s negligent decisions, by not assuring that all information was gathered at the crash site, then unjustly blaming Megan as the cause of her tragic truck crash and by not believing in enforcing existing Vehicle Code law for freeway “Emergency Parking”. This is not true for all CHP officers and supervisors.
Megan was a very thoughtful Christian girl who loved life, family, friends, pets, Tinkerbell, my rose garden and helping people she didn’t even know. She was a Certified Nursing Assistant and planned to be a Registered Nurse. On her first case assignment, she saved the life of a home care patient who had tried to commit suicide, earning the praise of the EMT’s and Doctors. Megan would never hurt anyone, and went out of her way to make sure that others were always safe.
We know the truck driver is alive today because of who Megan was and her reactions after she saw him in the roadway and avoided hitting him with her car ! Instead of having our Megan alive today, we now only have memories. Our feelings about these memories are best expressed in the following poem:
THEY SAY MEMORIES ARE GOLDEN,
WELL MAYBE THAT IS TRUE;
BUT WE NEVER WANTED MEMORIES,
WE ONLY WANTED YOU.
A MILLION TIMES WE’LL NEED YOU
A MILLION TIMES WE’LL CRY.
IF LOVE ALONE COULD HAVE SAVED YOU,
YOU NEVER WOULD HAVE DIED.
IN LIFE WE LOVED YOU DEARLY,
IN DEATH WE LOVE YOU STILL.
IN OUR HEARTS YOU HOLD A SPECIAL PLACE
NO ONE ELSE CAN EVER FILL.
IF TEARS COULD BUILD A STAIRCASE,
AND HEARTACHE BUILD A LANE,
WE’D WALK THE PATH TO HEAVEN
AND BRING YOU BACK AGAIN.
OUR FAMILY CHAIN IS BROKEN
AND NOTHING SEEMS THE SAME,
BUT AS GOD CALLS US BACK ONE BY ONE,
THE CHAIN WILL LINK AGAIN.
by Jennifer Graham
As one living tribute to our Megan, we are taking the time and action to help prevent others from the pain of a trucking tragedy, injuries, or loss of life ! We must clear our highways of all negligent truck drivers and owners who are making money by gambling with our public safety ! Give your support on behalf of Megan, all other injured or lost loved ones, and for those we may save from a truck tragedy on our highways.
Please support better crash investigations, stricter enforcement of the many existing public safety laws in our State’s Vehicle Codes, and demand stiffer court penalties for those truck drivers, truck owners and trucking companies who continue to make money from their own regular negligent decisions and who choose to gamble with the public’s safety and your life !
May the peace of the Lord be always with you,
Daniel, Libby, and Gordy Martin