Pete’s wife’s call came into the 911 office. It was a busy morning with many accident calls.
The dispatcher’s first task was to figure out who to call. The driver’s license said the boy was 18. He probably went to high school. Since he was headed north, it was likely Neosho High School. So the dispatcher handed the name over to a tech, Mary Jo, to look up Neosho High’s phone number.
Arif generally goes by his middle name. Of course, his license had his legal name: Joseph A. Marshall. Mary Jo looked at the name and it rang a bell. Suddenly she knew it:
“His family goes to my church. He doesn’t go to Neosho High. He goes to Crowder College. I see him there when I go to my classes. Contact the boy’s father. His mother does not drive and would have no way to get there. Joe works at Wal Mart as a programmer.”
The dispatcher’s wife worked at Wal Mart, too. The dispatcher called her to find Joe’s extension at Wal Mart. In short order, the contact was made.
By 8:15 Joe headed north to Goodman. It would take a good forty five minutes to get there.
The dispatcher also contacted Crowder College.
By 11:00 it seemed the whole campus was in deep heartfelt prayer. It amazed us all how many on campus knew Arif, and how deeply they felt the loss.
All this time, the dispatcher was set to the task of getting proper equipment to the accident site. Goodman police were already on the scene. The Jaws of Life were called into action. Forty five minutes after they arrived, the hole was large enough to remove the contents of the car.
Finding transport was another issue. They determined early on that a helicopter was needed, but none could be found. They were all busy.
Miraculously, just as the Jaws finished their job, St. John’s helicopter landed at the site.
God was gracious to send him to St. John's. It is one of the best hospitals in the state. He got the best of care. In addition, Joe and I had the comfort of its beautiful chapel and a daily – sometimes several times a day – the chance to sit in the Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
The boy was unconscious. The left side of his body was extensively damaged – it was probably crushed. There was doubt whether he would make it to the hospital. But the task was to transport him.
Soon after the helicopter took off, Joe arrived at the scene.
The left side of Arif’s car was crushed, plus the effects of the Jaws of Life. When Joe saw the car, he could not imagine how anything could have come out of it alive.
Steve wrapped a big hug around Joe and described what happened. Joe barely comprehended, but he appreciated Steve’s warmhearted zest.
The back axle of Steve’s trailer was seriously bent, requiring Steve to spend the day in Goodman waiting for the trucking company to send a tow truck. He holed up at Dari Twist, the only diner in town.
The diner, next to the gas station, was owned by the McCulleys. They were members of our home school group and also good friends. Arif bought the Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo from them. If he had been in his S-10, the outcome would have been much different. We gave the S-10 to a woman who had no vehicle while he was in England the previous semester.