The crash

Last night I hit a semi truck on the autobahn.

We were on our way home from scouts, my little Mazda 5 loaded down with myself and 5 children–my four + the neighbor boy. Harrison was in the front seat. Jason is in Missouri for a two week TDY so I’m on my own with the kids.

I was driving along, hands at ten o’clock and two o’clock, playing an easy game of “I’m Thinking of an Animal I Hate” with the kids and getting ready to exit the autobahn. I was traveling between 60-65 mph, fully alert and paying attention to my surroundings.

Suddenly I realized that I was coming up on the semi in front of me fast. I signaled and checked my mirrors, but I misguaged his traveling speed. It is illegal in Germany to pull off on the shoulder, and minimum autobahn speed is 40 kmph. There were no hazard lights or break lights to warn me.

He wasn’t even going 20. I found out later my girlfriend had almost hit him as well; he was parked half on half off the road out of his vehicle just moments before I found him. He was barley even moving.

When I realized we were going to hit him I tried to swerve but we smashed into his rear end like a cannon ball, hitting mostly on the right side. we started to spin so I overcorrected and flew all the way to the left, and suddenly I knew I had absolutely no idea how to get us out of it.

It was like being in the middle of the worst roller coaster ride ever, then realizing your cart had disengaged from the track. In that split second I thought of a thousand things. I thought, “Oh crap.” I accepted the fact that we might not make it out of there alive. Three lanes of traffic and the autobahn was busy, I knew we’d be hitting someone else in no time.

I thought of the five children strapped into my car and yelled out a quick, “Kids, Mommy loves you!”

Then I just let go. Hands straight up, I sent up a simple plea to Heaven. “It’s all You,” I said and sat back as we smashed into the left guard rail and started to spin out of control.

It was like we were alone in a parking lot. Not a car in range, we spun until the thought crossed my mind, “You should probably put on the break now.”

So I did and we stopped. At some point I had met my darling air bag, and thankfully Harrison’s held true and stayed put.

I stepped out of the smoking rubble and surveyed what was left of my car, then watched as my five children slowly emerged from the vehicle screaming their little heads off in fright (all except Georgia who was totally calm and collected through the whole thing).

I’ve recently been accused of being too religious on my blog, being a “Bible thumper” if you will. But let me tell you right now, watching my beautiful little children step from the broken remains of our car, completely unscathed and untouched, not a drop of blood or a broken bone, I knew that we were in the arms of angels.

I’m pretty sure that at least two of the three Nephites showed up to rescue us within seconds, I have no idea who those amazing American guys were. They retrieved coats and car seats, put the baby in the stroller and comforted my terrified children. One of the brothers from church was close behind me and pulled off with his blessedly empty minivan and we loaded the kids in while we waited for the German paramedics.

They loaded us into an ambulance while the Rescue Squad surveyed the scene. Standing outside the door, I watched as a group of nine or ten decked out emergency guys slowly made their way to my family. They crowded around the door and looked in at my beautiful, unharmed children with a collective look of awe. Turning to me as a group, there was only one thing for them to say.


So Marcee, you can accuse me of being overly religious all you want, but I certainly hope you find a little religion before you find a semi truck.

I have a lot more to say about this but I need to take a break. It’s too much, this is too fresh, it’s still too raw and horrible and wonderful. I’ll write more about what happened next later.



  1. What a terrifying experience! I’m so glad that angels were there watching over you.

  2. Please don’t stop writing about religion. Those are my favorite posts. The ones that make me want to be better, cling more tightly to all that I know to be right and true. I love your faith. It bolsters mine. I’m so sorry about your accident but grateful that He truly was on your right hand and on your left and that angels were there to buoy you up.

  3. Oh, Annie! Wow! What a miracle and what a trauma! I’m so happy you and those precious little ones are safe. Thank heavens for angels!

  4. Oh Annie! Angels for sure. And let Marcee think what she will. When we blog we write about ourselves and our thoughts and our interpretations of the world, and God is part of all that. Warmest wishes.

    ps I cried a little when I read “mommy loves you.”

  5. Oh my gosh! I am so glad you are OK! I need to call you! But I don’t even have your number. You always call me. So call me.

  6. Love you, Annie. In a I don’t-know-you-really-well-but-sure-admire-you kind of way.

    It’s clear God loves you too. In a knows-you-really-well-and-sends-angels-to-watch-over-you way. Keep HIm close.

  7. I am crying and my kids think I’m weird. But I can’t even imagine the split second of horror. I CAN imagine the overwhelming sense of gratitude when you realized everyone was okay. Angels, yes.

  8. Marek Steed says:

    Oh my gosh, Annie, I’m so glad your family is safe.

    When I was in college, I was driving to my Spanish final. I was driving 60 mph on Hwy 89 and some girl at a light coming the opposite direction thought it was time for her to turn left. She did it right in front of me. Impact was imminent, I knew it before it happened. But I heard a quiet little Voice tell me, “Let go of the steering wheel, and relax.” So I did. Right before impact, I let go and leaned back in my chair and closed my eyes, trying to relax as much as possible. I hit her so hard and I spun for what seemed like an eternity. It was almost like it was in slow motion.

    By the time my car stopped and the dust settled and I stopped coughing up the dust from the airbag, I couldn’t believe my luck. First person I called was Seth (he was in my class at the time and I hardly knew him). My first thought was that I wasn’t making it to my final and I was pissed.

    That moment was the catalyst in meeting Seth, but I’ll never forget that in that moment of absolute terror and chaos, I had an angel watching over me telling me what to do to minimize injury. I was so blessed and it could have turned out so differently.

    God bless your little family. I’m so grateful your safe. Some people may be uncomfortable reading about religion, but I’ll tell you what, I was so dang grateful for it that morning.

  9. Oh Annie! I am so grateful that you are all ok! What a scary, scary thing to go through – and of course, it happened without J. Love you tons! Now I’ve got my ugly cry over with for the day….

  10. you are my favorite bible thumper. What an experience, so good to hear everyone is ok. Maybe your son can get an extra scouts badge for this, there has gotta be an experience in the handbook that covers car accident safety!

  11. Count me as another person grateful it turned out so well. Angels indeed!

  12. Holy crimeny. The only thing I can think of is the phrase “great and terrible day of the Lord.” Sounds like a terrible and great experience, though neither of those adequately describe it. God was most assuredly watching over you and your littles.

    On the bright side, you might be able to get a sponsorship for the Mazda 5 out of this! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I’m so SO glad you’re okay. And don’t you dare stop posting about the things that draw you closer to God. You need to remember them, and some of use (at least I myself) need to hear them.

  13. Mary Richards says:

    Oh my gosh, I am so glad you are all ok!

  14. First time comment from a long-time reader to say, “I’m so glad you are all okay!”

  15. What did I say about making me cry?!?! My gosh Annie, I can’t imagine! I’m just in awe at how everything turned out and so impressed that you listened! Thank you for sharing, I can imagine how overwhelming it all is!

  16. I’ve been on the Autobahn. And anyone else who has, knows that surviving that type of accident unscathed is an act of God. Not luck. No one is that lucky.

    Prayers for you and yours. I’m so glad the Nephites where watching and the Holy Ghost was whispering. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. WOW!!!!
    So funny to me how people never seem to want religion…UNTIL THEY FIND THEMSELVES NEEDING IT…helloooo Marcee. (was that rude of me)
    YOU WERE totally watched over last night. The accident for whatever reason, was inevitable, but the Results, were in the hands of the Lord and those Angels who help us.
    I feel very strongly about being watched after. You certainly know it when you’ve experienced it.

    Besides Annie, the Lord wasn’t ready for you, according to your last blog, you still have English and German to help Rex with (tee,hee)

    I am sure you are still shaking from this experience. It sounded very terrifying for sure.
    When you threw up you hands and said “It all on You”…..
    that resounded with me
    A few years ago I was on some very icy roads, on the freeway, and my car spinned out, going around and around….I really felt I was going to be a gonner and I remember saying
    “please don’t let it hurt”
    I just ended up in the ditch somewhere North of Idaho Falls. Lucky for me a farmer came by and pulled me out.

    I am sooooo thankful you and those kiddies are ok.

    I’ve never thought of your blog as being “bible thumper” or whatever you call it.
    Besides, it’s your blog to do with and say what you please.
    Let’s hope Marcee doesn’t have to find these things out the Hard Way.

  18. So so so thankful you are all ok .
    It does sound like you were in the arms of angels. Bible thump all you want.

  19. Glad you are all ok, and glad you blog about religious things!

  20. Wow! I’m so glad you and the children are okay! I’m so glad no one else was around to hurt or be hurt. I’m so glad you had the faith to rely on Heavenly Father. And I’m SO glad you’d share. These kind of stories are important and need to be shared.

    I hope you have some sort of time off or something to be able to recover from the accident.

  21. I am also a long-time reader (found you because I was reading your column in the Standard), and I love your posts! I am so glad you are all okay – those little miracles are such a strength to you, and everyone who hears about them. Keep up the awesome writing!

  22. Okay, I think I am going to go throw up now. I want to simultaneously shake you and hug you, the thought crossing my mind what almost TRULY happened. Don’t ever let me get that phone call from Grandma. I am so praying my little heart out right now thanking God for you and your family’s safety and at the same time re-asking God to remind me to say a prayer every time I leave my driveway. I can hardly believe it, it’s worse than the time Grandma and Grandpa were driving to Texas and almost hit that barrier. This is the closest anyone in our family has really come to a deadly car crash. I am not sure I can read another blog post about it, just THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU GOD for keeping you all miracously safe. I love you guys. i still think I need to throw up.

  23. I’m SOOOO glad you are all okay!!! I’m so sorry you have to go through this and it’s dizzying aftermath. I seriously don’t know anyone who’s been here at least three years with out some sort of fender bender! Mine was 4 months in and I totaled our Honda with my two babies sleeping in the back seat. Nothing near your terrifying experience but thank heavens for your safety and the kindness of friends and strangers!

  24. Oh my goodness! I am so glad you and your kids and the neighbor boy are all OK. Yes I believe you had angels looking out for you. I’m so sorry you all had to go through such a traumatic experience. Get some rest. I look forward to hearing more when you are ready to share. Praying for you all!

  25. Annie, this is YOUR blog . . . you say what you want!!! Free speech my woman (even though you are in Germany!) isn’t only for those trying to get rid of the Bible and religion.

    So happy you and your precious ones are safe and sound. Just yesterday I was telling someone of our miraculous traffic miracle. Full-on Chicago rush-hour and when we started spinning . . . not a car came close to us . . . . . they seemed to part like the Red Sea. Amazingly, amazing . . . . only God could have done this for us.


  26. OH MY! We had our own little family accidente yesterday, too!! But it was not on the autobahn and there were no ambulances. But like you, I am grateful for God’s hand in all things. Especially those little things like brave little boys, spit-fire little girls and men who hold the power from on high!

  27. Oh WOW! So scaryโ€ฆI can’t even imagine how you handled that on your own! And no one was hurt? I agree with the rescue team – angels.

  28. I’ve never commented before but wanted to simply say that I’m glad you and your sweet family are okay. Thanks for sharing your experience and doing your best and turning it over to Heavenly Father. I think if I did that more often my life would be a lot different.

    As far as the religion thing goes, religion is a part of who you (we) are. It influences all aspects of your life. Keep on keeping on. You are great!!

  29. I keep thinking of the song by Carrie Underwood, “Jesus Take the Wheel.’ (although I like Danny Gokey’s version better). How amazing you were so calm during the storm. I’m so afraid that if I were in a similar situation, the last words my kids would hear outta me would be a bit more coarse and profane. I admire what you said to them and how you then let God take over. I pray for emotional and spiritual peace to come in abundance to you and your kids. Thanks for sharing testimony in all you do. xoxo, from your Sunriver Hot-tub friend ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Annie,
    I’m so glad all of you are ok. I can’t imagine how your hubby felt finding out what happened being all the way around the world. BUT!!! God lives and thank goodness for priesthood holders in the right place when needed.

  31. Camille says:

    What a blessing! I’m so glad you and the kids are alright. Miracles do happen and thank you for sharing them on your blog!!

  32. “So Marcee, you can accuse me of being overly religious all you want, but I certainly hope you find a little religion before you find a semi truck.” Best. Line. Ever.

    So very, very glad your family is safe. So very, very, VERY glad angels exist.

    Thump that Bible all you want, my friend. We’re listening…and loving it.

  33. I was in a car accident over the summer with my three children in the car. We were traveling to visit my parents and halfway there. The car flipped and probably did a 180, but we all walked away. It didn’t occur to me that we wouldn’t be okay, and I can’t imagine adding that horror to the mix. There is no doubt in my mind that we were being watched over that day. I had prayed that we would arrive safely, and we did (the car, not so much). My husband wasn’t on the other side of the world, but he was three hours away. He did the only thing he could think of, call a member of the local (to where I was) ward. I didn’t want him to do it, but I was so glad he did when that sweet sister walked into the EMT building where we were waiting for my parents. She drove us to the next town over and we met my parents there.

    Thank you for writing this. Sometimes I think that I tried so hard to forget my accident that I didn’t properly process it. Reading this helps.

  34. Angels indeed! What a story! What a testament! I appreciate the fact that you share your faith and beliefs, it makes the rest of us stronger as well.

    (P.s. I can’t remember the last time I commented, but I never a post. You may remember me, I’m the gal that helped you by making those blog buttons for the Twilight Shirts.)

  35. Vehicles terrify me. I’m so very glad you’re safe, my friend. I like the world with you (and your perspective) in it. You and your family are all in my prayers. And I mean it. Love you.

  36. In tears over here. Praise GOD you and the children are okay Annie <3

  37. sues2u2 says:

    Oh, My, Gosh! I’m so glad that you are all okay. The Spirit is an amazing force if we let it & I’m so glad that you were able to hear his prompting & act on it. Having seen a little of your next two posts as I skimmed to get to this one…I’m sobbing to know that you guys are ok. Lots of warm thoughts, prayers, tears & hugs for all of you!!

  38. Tammara says:

    I am so glad you are all okay. And if someone does not like the Bible stuff you say then they should move to a different blog. Hugs.

  39. Stephanie says:

    Annie, I’m so grateful that you and your children are safe. What a blessing from God. Thank you for sharing your experiences to help us all appreciate this precious life that we live. You are an inspiration to so many women, wives and mothers. Such a scary ordeal and I hope your little ones will recover quickly from all their fears.

  40. Annie! This is making me bawl, oh goodness I am glad you guys are all ok.