“This one is gone, he’s not breathing” as an older woman pulled a red woven blanket above the head of a nine (9) year old boy. “NO! He is not!” screamed the boy’s mother, grabbing the blanket from his feet as she struggled to move from her sitting position, only to be held down by her shoulders by a stranger, who had just moments earlier … laid the boy into the arms of the woman, on the side of the highway in Shalimar, Florida. It was only minutes after the collision earlier on that Friday July 8, 1966 … just after 12:30pm in the afternoon.
The woman as she was weeping said, “I’m sorry ma’am, but I don’t feel any pulse, and he’s lost too much blood” as she began pulling the blanket once again over the little boy’s head, “He’s dead!”
Grabbing the blanket for a second time, and screaming again, the boy’s mother was trying to wrestle free from the grip of ‘the stranger’ as she sat at her son’s feet on the side of the highway desperately trying to remove the cover from his face … in that tug of war battle with the woman cradling his body. The man ‘Holding’ the boy’s mother by the shoulders turned out to be a gentleman by the name of Bob Johnson, who ‘Incidentally’ knew the family, and only was ‘Coincidentally’ at his home on a lunch break. After hearing the tremendous screeching and squealing of the tires and crash from his home directly across the street … rushed from his living room to the scene where he found the boy; at the side of the Chevy Impala trying to open the car door in an attempt to help his mother get free from the vehicle. That was when Bob picked him up … taking him to the side of the highway placing him in the arms of the woman, who immediately with a blanket in hand had also just rushed from a store called: Jack Gardners where the accident had occurred directly in front of the store.
Afterward, Bob ran back to the vehicle, helping to pry open the door, and immediately carried the mother, sitting at her son’s feet. Meanwhile other passersby’s began rushing to the scene helping the other occupants from the vehicle. There were a total of eight passengers in the Impala on that day, with a load of groceries from the Eglin Air Force Base Commissary.
It had been a sunny and beautiful Friday morning as the twenty-eight (28) year old mother, her three children, her nineteen (19) year old niece, a six (6) year old nephew and two of the niece’s girlfriends were traveling back to Fort Walton Beach’s Cinco Bayou, when the sudden flash thunderstorm and down pour erupted, causing the driver of the station wagon to begin Hydroplaning out of control from ‘Her’ excessive speed, as she was coming across the Shalimar Bridge heading toward Eglin Air Force Base. It was guesstimated the woman had been traveling at approximately 70 miles an hour when the thunderstorm hit and at about the same time as she was rounding the curve after exiting the bridge.
It was much too late for the mother to see the vehicle and react through the heavy downpour, before the station wagon ‘Spun’ between the ‘Islands’ in the four lane highway, striking the Chevy directly head on with the left rear of ‘Her’ vehicle. The impact was so hard that it spun the vehicle ‘Ejecting’ the little boy, who had been laying in the back window of the Chevy. It was a shock to the mother to see ‘her son’ running back to the car, covered in blood from head to toe, while blood was gushing from the left side of his neck, where he had severely slashed his left Common Carotid Artery causing his heart to bleed out. It is because the left common carotid artery has a substantial presence in the thoracic region, is very likely one of the reasons why the woman could likely feel ‘No Pulse’ … causing her to cry and moan in hysteria profusely, claiming “This one is gone!”
As the lightening, rain and thunder hammered everyone on the scene, it only compounded the unfolding drama as the mother continued her struggle to uncover her son, while looking for her two little girls, “Trudy, help me!”
Her niece, Trudy, the nephew and Trudy’s friends looked apparently unharmed, while the mother’s other two children had both been knocked unconscious from the impact, but were now semi-conscious, as the fire rescue and ambulances were already on the scene, from the local hospital and the Air Force Base.
The mother, Trudy’s aunt continued her struggle in ‘Freeing Herself’ from the manner in which Bob was forcing her to stay seated, because she appeared to be spitting up blood, as she kept thrashing about in hopes of gaining control over the situation. “He’s not dead!” she cried. Trudy was also crying and in shock as she watched the scene unfolding, while her six (6) year old brother Michael was taking refuge under the store awning, where they had to retrieve him later.
The older woman was continually crying as she once again tried covering the boy, again this time as Bob standing over the mother spoke up, “Nettie, I feel pretty sure that he’s already passed away … you’re hurt and must be bleeding internally, so you can’t keep moving around!”
Nettie was screaming adamantly, almost out of control, “NO, NO, NO! You are not leaving here without taking him!”
As someone handed Nettie a Coca Cola, Trudy, still crying stepped in and said, “Aunt Nettie, the ‘Medics’ are tending to the girls right now, and are getting ready to leave in the Air Force Ambulances … I think they’re going to be fine. They’re going to take us to the local hospital, and the other ambulances are full, and they’re going to take you … right now in the Fire Rescue Ambulance to Eglin.”
“Trudy, you can’t let them leave without him” she screamed! Starting to respond, Nettie could see Trudy’s tears as she began to respond; “Aunt Nettie, I don’t think … “
“No, Trudy, you have them put him in the front seat of that ambulance if you have to, but they are not leaving here without him!”
Bob intervened, “Nettie, do not move … I will take him,” as Bob turned screaming at the attendants, “HOLD UP!”
Letting go of Nettie, Bob ran to the back of the ambulance as two ‘Medics’ approached Nettie who began picking her up as she continued reaching for her son. The older woman, her clothes now also covered in blood and drenched from the rain … continued expressing her own grief over the little boy.
Bob sprinted back with a white sheet … reaching down grabbing the boy from the woman, who released him, as the red woven blanket slid from his blood soaked body. Bob wrapped the boy instantaneously as he began vaulting toward the last ambulance … sliding into the front seat … as the other attendant moved to the middle.
What does this all of this have to do with anything remotely music, radio or entertainment? You’ll see, if you haven’t figured it out as yet.