On the morning of Saturday, April 14, I was driving south on the Silverado Trail. As I approached Zinfandel Lane, a car unexpectedly pulled out in front of me. I tried to swerve around it, but there wasn't time, and we crashed. On the familiar pain scale, my chest and hip pain felt like a Plus 10 at least.

Only minutes later, three Good Samaritans stopped at the scene. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I unfortunately don't know the names of the first two, but the third was Adam Waters, a volunteer fireman with the St. Helena Fire Department. All three were amazing as they helped me through the shock of the accident before the emergency personnel arrived. I so appreciate the calm reassurance, skill, and kindness with which they treated me. Each is a true hero to me.

The next day my children retrieved my belongings from my totaled car in the tow truck yard. That weekend there had been four other crashes similar to mine in the area. The cars involved in those incidents sat, crumpled, next to mine. The yard owner shrugged, saying, "It’s the start of tourist season." Imagine!

Dealing with this accident has been a physically and emotionally challenging experience, one that I don’t wish on anyone. I feel so fortunate that my main injury was a fractured sternum; it could have been so much worse.

All of us on the road -- drivers, bikers, and pedestrians -- need to pay close attention and keep each other out of harm's way. “We just didn’t see her” is no excuse. According to the DMV code, that constitutes an "immediate hazard" and is a violation.

“Drive carefully,” has so much more meaning for me now. For everyone’s welfare and safety, I hope we all keep that in mind.

Sylvia Nobleman

St. Helena

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