Matthew, our first born, was just the age where he wanted to go with me everywhere I went.
We left the house early on a Sunday morning and was making the 8 to 10 mile trip to our construction yard where I was going to unhook from the rather heavy built shop-made bumper pull trailer we had on behind. Back then, in the 1970s you could get out and drive around Austin without running across all that many other cars on the road on an early Sunday morning trip.
Matthew, about 3 years old, was standing up in the passenger seat as we made the rough train track crossing on Montopolis Drive. Our yard was in view, just across Ben White Blvd to the north.
As we crossed the train track the lone trailer passed us on the right. It veered off the street and struck a power pole. It hit with enough force that the power pole appeared to explode. I slowed to a near stop as the splintered creosote wood rained down around us.
It was a pole with a large transformer on top of it. As the power lines flopped and made connection the sparks flew. The transformer was dangling and was on fire.
Reasoning that since that happened directly in front of The Lower Colorado River Authority East Austin Service Center, I figured someone in an around there knew more about power lines and transformers than I did.
As we got on our way out of there, Matthew looked at me, in all of his 3 years of age he said “Daddy is you just gonna leave your trailer there”? It was kind of cute the way he figured all that out.
Sometime the next morning I got a call from my office manager on the radio and he informed me that a Austin City Policeman was there at the office. It seems that a trailer registered to the company was involved in an accident the day before. They surmised that it must have been stolen out of our yard. That was fairly sound reasoning since something came up missing out of that yard on a regular basis. So who was I to try to intervene in a police matter like that, so I just kept my mouth shut.
We sent someone over to pick the trailer up that the electric company repair crew had dragged out of the way to enable them to put a new pole in and restore service to area.
There was extensive damage to the tongue and front of the trailer but with having good welders around they were able to make it serviceable again. It probably stayed in the fleet until it was stolen again and never returned. Which was always a problem in our business.
Matthew will turn 47 this year, so I guess the statute of limitations has run out by now on leaving the scene of an accident. If not, I’ll claim I just made this whole story up and have no idea what anyone is talking about.