Seattle Realtor Causes 100 Car Pile-up on I-75

By
Real Estate Agent with Dove Realty Inc.

 

Seattle Realtor Causes 100 Car Pile-up on I-75.

This was the headline that was flashing before my eyes as I was spinning out of control, across two lanes of traffic, while driving through a classic Michigan blizzard. It was almost 5pm and I was just north of Flint so it was pretty much a sure bet that I was going to hit another car or be hit, thus causing a chain reaction.

How exactly did I get myself in this situation? It started a month ago with a call from my mom who lives alone in the upper part of the lower peninsula. Her niece got a hold of her credit and debit cards (with the pin number) and had gone on a spending spree in the Detroit area.

In order for the charges to be removed Mom would have to press charges against Mallory (I'm changing her name to protect the guilty) in the jurisdiction where the fraud had occurred. I volunteered to go home and help her with this for two reasons. Number one it was just the right thing to do and number two I thought that I could use my 20 years of experience in the power of persuasion to finally convince her that it was time to give up her remote house on the river and move to Seattle where her three daughters live.

So we set out in my Mom's LaSabre on Ash Wednesday at around 2pm. I wanted to leave in the morning but it is impossible to get my mom out of the house before 2pm. The weather wasn't bad but it started snowing about an hour out and by the time we got to Birch Run it was icy and the visibility was getting worse by the minute. With the exception of a few intrepid souls traffic had slowed to about 35-40 mph. I thought that I was doing just fine, slow and steady, when out of the blue the car spun out of control and we slammed into the guard rail facing on coming traffic.

Miraculously we didn't hit another car or get hit. Nobody was injured and since there was a nice cushion of snow the car came out without a scratch. With-in 10 minutes the state police showed up and got us turned around and headed in the right direction. By that time the weather was even worse. As much as I wanted to get off the freeway I was even more afraid of getting stuck on a side street in an unfamiliar area. So with my hands clenched around the steering wheel we soldiered on to Waterford in first gear. Mom said to shift down into PosiTraction which I did only to find out later PosiTraction comes on automatically.

The next day we got up early and made the rounds to the 3 police precincts involved. The blizzard was over but the roads were still slippery when we headed back up north. Seeing other cars in the ditch did nothing to boost my confidence but when we came across a snow plow that was "ass end over tea kettle" in the median I was just about ready to call it quits. My Dad had always told me that I have more guts than brains and I guess he was right because we continued on. About ten miles north of the snow plow debacle the sun came out and the roads dried up making the last part of the trip bearable. Actually, the sun shinning on the snow drifts made the farmlands look as if they had been covered in white satin.   

The lesson learned from this story is...actually there are 4 lessons:

  1. I'm never going back to Michigan in the winter again. Even thought I was born and raised there I'm a west coast wimp now.
  2. My current car has All Wheel Drive and my next car will have All Wheel Drive. You can have that PosiTraction.
  3. I have given up trying to get my mom to move to Seattle.
  4. My hat's off to all of my fellow Realtors and Stagers and for that fact inspectors, photographers, and appraisers who brave these kind of elements 3 months out of every year
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Rainer
179,258
Kathy Passarette
Creative Home Expressions - Mount Sinai, NY
L.I. Staging/Decorating

Susan ~ First of all, I'm glad you weren't hurt.  I hate driving in the snow and start to get anxious as soon as it starts falling.  By the time I get to my destination, my neck, back, arms and fingers hurt from being so tense.

Secondly, it's funny you wrote about this today.   I just scheduled a consultation for Friday afternoon, forgetting that we have snow in our forecast for Friday "with some accumulation expected".  I hope it winds up being rain, because I hate to have to cancel the appointment due to snow!

Feb 20, 2008 09:15 AM #1
Rainmaker
120,843
Elaine Manes Gage
Home Staging Online Services - Denver, CO
Staging done ONLINE!
Susan- That was a harrowing experience, and I'm glad you came out unscathed! And yes, we can control our mothers like we can control the weather! I'm a complete wimp, and here in Colorado, if the weather gets bad, I cancel whatever I have scheduled. Everyone understands, because if you don't drive well in the snow and ice, they would rather you weren't on the road! Great story! Never heard the expression "ass end over tea kettle"!
Feb 20, 2008 10:11 AM #2
Rainer
84,620
Roberta Anderson
Hearth & Home Staging - Silverdale, WA
Hearth & Home Staging, Staging Kitsap County

Susan, welcome home! I'm glad you weren't hurt either. Sounds like there are plenty of us wimps out there. Why add to the mess, especially here in the PNW where no one knows how to drive in the snow!

Too bad you couldn't talk your mom into moving out here. If she only knew what she was missing, besides her girls!!

Feb 20, 2008 10:28 AM #3
Rainmaker
125,779
Susan Peters
Dove Realty Inc. - Seattle, WA
The Better it Looks the Better it Sells

Kathy: I'll never complain about rain again.

Elaine: "Ass end over tea kettle" came from my Dad who grew up in Missouri. 

Feb 20, 2008 11:25 AM #4
Rainmaker
492,160
Kathy Nielsen
http://atlantahomestaging.net - Marietta, GA
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

I too am glad you weren't hurt.  I was born and raised in Miami and can't stand being cold so I hear ya loud and clear.  And I'm with Roberta - you need to talk your mom into moving out there!

Kathy

Feb 20, 2008 11:30 AM #5
Rainer
77,324
Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona
Susan, What a scary experience for you. My poor momma would have been hiding in the backseat (ass end over tea kettle) during a trip like that. How was your mom? What a tough trip for you and for so many reasons. It is too bad that "Mallory" caused such distress. Too old for spanking I guess. It is wonderful that you are home and well. It is difficult sometimes for those who are tied to a certain place by a lifetime of memories to leave. I wish your mom well too. 
Feb 20, 2008 01:04 PM #6
Rainmaker
125,779
Susan Peters
Dove Realty Inc. - Seattle, WA
The Better it Looks the Better it Sells

Roberta: I practically kissed the ground when I arrived at Sea Tac.

Kathy: Both of my sisters and I have been trying for almost 20 years now to get my folks out here. When Dad passed 2 years ago I thought that be the turning point. But oh no. At this point I don't know what it would take. 

Feb 20, 2008 04:04 PM #7
Rainmaker
125,779
Susan Peters
Dove Realty Inc. - Seattle, WA
The Better it Looks the Better it Sells
Yvonne: Actually my mom was very calm. If we could have gotten a hold of her niece I think we would have strangled her on the spot. It's really sad because my mom has been like a mother to her.
Feb 21, 2008 11:29 AM #8
Rainer
27,598
Mary Richards
Reece & Nichols Realtors - Kansas City, MO
Mary Richards

Susan:

Glad to hear you were able to perservere through the weather.  It is always nice to be home after a trip like that.  Hats off to you too for doing the right thing by filing charges against the guilty neice.  It is a challenge to have a parent that far away.  Does your Mom have any power of attorney in place?  I just sold where they had a power of attorney in place - it saved the day.  That is a conversation to have with a parent as they start having things happen.  It is such a challenge to try to manage these issues from a distance.

I'm a Missouri girl and I have never heard that expression either.  In Kansas City, MO we have had snow every 3.1 days since Thanksgiving and I'm tired of it!!  We got ice and snow today.  Ugh! 

Feb 21, 2008 02:24 PM #9
Rainer
251,734
Kathy Riggle
STAGING SMART N SOLD - Houston, TX
Houston Home Staging

Because I have two 85 yr old parents who are very determined about staying put, I can feel your concern! Glad you are taking action concerning the neice, and the power of attorney can be so important if a parent becomes incapicitated.  It can easily be worded as such, so that Mom does not give up any decision making power unless a doctor agrees it is necessary.  Best wishes to you!

Kathy

Feb 21, 2008 02:45 PM #10
Rainmaker
152,485
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI

You are such a wimp - NOT

We've had the worst driving conditions in years.

Don't try to convince mom to move.  Ask her to come to Seattle for a visit.  Show her the mountains and the steams and she will fall in love with the place.

When she is surrounded by her girls she we realize that's where she belongs.

 

 

Feb 21, 2008 03:18 PM #11
Rainmaker
125,779
Susan Peters
Dove Realty Inc. - Seattle, WA
The Better it Looks the Better it Sells

Mary: I do have durable POA for her. I got it when she was living with me while being treated for lymphoma. I hope it's a long tome before I need to use it.

Kathy: It is scary. This is probably pay back for our teenage antics. 

Virginia: She's been to Seattle many times but she just won't budge.  

Feb 22, 2008 04:27 PM #12
Rainer
208,568
Julianna Hind
eXp Realty - Tacoma, WA
REALTOR, 206-679-4768, Tacoma Federal Way, Auburn, Kent, WA
Hi Susan, I am glad you are ok! Icy roads are no fun, and really dangerous! Your Mom relly should come out here, she there are a lot of nice folks out here in Seattle!
Feb 23, 2008 11:56 AM #13
Rainmaker
822,153
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"
Susan ~ You're a much braver soul than I am to even try driving in those conditions!  I'm glad you all got through it without a scratch.  I'm sure your mother appreciated all your efforts to help her get through the red tape that follows a financial nightmare like that.  Maybe she'll change her mind and at least come to the NW for a visit?
Feb 23, 2008 02:17 PM #14
Rainmaker
125,779
Susan Peters
Dove Realty Inc. - Seattle, WA
The Better it Looks the Better it Sells
Julianna and Maureen: My mom is coming back out in June for her grandkids' (they are twins) graduation. Getting her out here is like pulling teeth though.
Feb 23, 2008 03:15 PM #15
Rainer
17,392
Shellee Ashmore
The Inner Iris Photography - Spring, TX
Quite a funny little story and one I don't envy you for. Being a Texas gal myself we don't see a lot of snowy winter situations but we do get sleet that turns to ice just long enough to make a mess of things. None of us are very expert at driving on ice when its tropically hot nine months out of the year!
May 06, 2008 03:54 AM #16
Rainmaker
125,779
Susan Peters
Dove Realty Inc. - Seattle, WA
The Better it Looks the Better it Sells

Shellee,

Although our weather in Seattle's very moderate  we do get the occasional snow storm.  It only lasts a day or so but it's an excuse for everyone to play hooky.

The Ice Age could come back and they'd still be driving in Michigan. That's one of the reasons I don't live there anymore.   

May 06, 2008 08:19 PM #17
Rainer
52,993
Abby Roselli
ALR Home Staging and Showcasing, LLC - Staten Island, NY
Staten Island Home Stager
I can sympathize and am glad you all weren't hurt.  Everything shuts down when a few flakes fall down here.  The hills here in the GA mountains make driving treacherous when the temps dip really low and there's precipitation, besides the fact that too many people don't understand the importance of NOT hitting the breaks!!!!  When possible, I stay home.  I drove through my fair share of blizzards in NY and northern NJ as a retail mgr because you know how important is to get that store open even though no one is shopping!  LOL  never again...
May 07, 2008 02:43 AM #18
Rainmaker
125,779
Susan Peters
Dove Realty Inc. - Seattle, WA
The Better it Looks the Better it Sells
Abby: I learned to drive in that kind of weather by it's not a skill that I have retained.
May 08, 2008 04:51 PM #19
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