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Light Notes: Love connects at highway collision

Lucy Luginbill, Tri-City Herald on

Published in Religious News

"When I got my license, he made me drive his truck and trailer into a neighborhood -- and then made me back it up!" Bailey exclaimed, remembering the challenge the maneuver held. "Half of the stuff I learned back then I didn't understand. But now I use so much of what he taught me."

Sadly, her daddy isn't there to advise anymore. Jan died unexpectedly in the fall of 2013, a death that left Bailey undone, her life so intertwined with his.

"None of my friends have lost their parents, so it's hard for them to understand, especially how close my dad and I were -- and my mom too." Bailey said with emotion. "If I wasn't with my friends, I was with my mom or dad."

But on the night of Jan. 31, Bailey was alone, the rural darkness enveloping her on the glistening highway that led home. Her Ford F-150 SVT Raptor illuminated the scene, its powerful headlamps and tailgate light bar penetrating the winter gloom. In the distance behind her, Bailey saw a vehicle rapidly approaching as she began to slow for her turn up ahead.

"I'm driving, checking my mirrors -- my dad taught me to always use the mirrors," Bailey said, remembering how she wondered if it could be a police car and had she done something wrong. "When I looked in my right mirror, I was thinking he was going to pass ... and then I realized the car wasn't going to stop."

Moments before impact, Bailey's mom, asleep at home, awakened from a horrific nightmare.

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"I was having a weird dream," Kim said, explaining how her "mama clock" typically wakes her when Bailey is due home from work. "In it I was calling my friends and saying, 'I can't go for coffee in the morning because Bailey has been in a car accident.' "

Fighting her way out of sleep, Kim had rolled to her side to check the bedside alarm. But as her eyes struggled to focus, the bad dream became sickeningly real. A drunken driver was speeding toward the rear of Bailey's truck at an estimated 80 mph.

"I heard the ripping, tearing metal -- an awful sound," Kim said, tears welling at the memory. "And I looked up to God, 'Please not Bailey. Not our girl!' "

Inside the truck cab, her daughter held tightly to the wheel, the vehicle spinning from the horrific impact, her senses focused on the driving skills a father had taught well. And that's when she saw him at her side.

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