I was in Lanai, Hawaii for a World Industry and Blind vacation. Rocco paid for the trip; he usually does that every year. All the Blind guys were on quads four-wheel dirt bikes, me, Jody Morris, and Gideon Choi took the Land Rover to meet them at the beach, so we could switch and ride the quads.
We went through Garden of the Gods – a ceremonial place with all these rocks stacked up like snowmen. The rocks are very sacred. I’d been down this road to the beach before, but they’d fixed the road up since last time I was there. It was still a dirt road with gravel and loose, dusty sand covering it, but they’d made it wider so Hummers could fit. It gave the appearance you could drive fast. I was going close to 50 mph, and should’ve been closer to fifteen. I was pretty cocky – I’ll admit it. And, everyone said Land Rovers were impossible to flip. Everybody talked about what great off-road vehicles they are.
As we were driving through Garden of the Gods, Jody was shooting the rock snowmen with a paint gun. I called Jody on it – I said it was bad karma. On the road there were lots of whoop-de-doos and hump bumps. We were going pretty fast and heading for a corner, so I tapped the brakes. We started sliding, and continued going the same speed but sideways now. The front of the car hit the side of the road, and the front-left tire dug into the gravel. We flipped. It was so slow-mo. We slid ten to fifteen feet on our side. Everything loose in the car that could hit us, hit us. Nobody said anything the entire time. There was a bag of 500 yellow paint balls and it broke open, spilling paint balls everywhere. The paint balls squished all over us, so we were covered in yellow paint.
Jody undid his seatbelt and fell on top of me. We were all okay and crawled out of the Land Rover. The CB was broken, so we couldn’t call the rest of the guys and tell them what happened. There were four feet of paint balls surrounding the car. It was so hot outside the paint balls melted, covering the ground and the inside of the car. The yellow started attracting a ton of bees, and soon they were everywhere. We figured the guys would be at the beach, so I took off my shirt, and jogged down to the beach to find the quad guys. I showed up at the beach all sweaty, dirty, and covered in yellow paint, and no one was there. It’d taken me a while to get to the beach, so Jody and Gideon started walking down on their own.
Ronnie Creager drove down the road on a quad and saw the flipped Land Rover. He couldn’t see anybody moving inside the car, thought we were dead, and so he wouldn’t look. He was scared he’d see us dead. Rocco came up and saw that we were gone. He thought we didn’t care about the Land Rover, like we just flipped it, laughed about it, took our beach stuff out, and went to the beach. He was pissed until we hooked up, and he realized what had happened. He made sure we were all right.
We called the towing guys on the CB to come help us. Jody was on the CB saying, “Red rover, red rover, we’ve tipped our Rover, over.” When the towing guys showed up, the bees attacked them. The whole accident was mentally traumatic. I blame Jody, totally – it was his fault for shooting paintballs at the holy rocks. – as told to Sean Mortimer