By Chris Hendrickson, Contributing Writer
When Robin Davis saw the opportunity to be of service to somebody in need, she did not hesitate. The next thing she knew, she was waking up in the intensive care unit of Harborview Medical Center in downtown Seattle.
Davis, a Monroe resident, was on her way home when she was stopped in construction traffic on state Route 522. It was shortly after 11 p.m. on Tuesday, March 18, and she had come to a stop just east of milepost 18.98, near the Echo Lake Road interchange. Startled by a loud noise, she glanced in her rear-view mirror and noticed that a collision had occurred in the roadway behind her. Immediately concerned for the welfare of the other drivers, Davis got out of her vehicle to make sure that nobody was seriously hurt.
Three cars were involved in that initial collision. A man who had turned the engine and lights off in his 1999 Honda CRV was waiting in the backup caused by the construction, when he was struck from behind by a 2006 Dodge Ram pickup truck. The impact from the collision pushed the 1999 Honda straight into a 2007 Honda CRV, which was parked directly in front of him.
Davis was immediately concerned for the individual in the 1999 Honda.
“I got out of my car to make sure that the person in that car was safe and okay, because it was pretty bad,” said Davis. “I remember seeing smoke.”
According to the Washington State Patrol’s accident report, the driver of the 2006 Dodge pickup truck was driving too fast for conditions, and unable to stop in time when he noticed the 1999 Honda stopped in the roadway without any lights on.
Davis began to render aid to the driver of the 1999 Honda who had sustained injuries in the crash, including cuts on his head and feet.
“I remember asking the person if they were okay, they were kind of freaking out and I was trying to calm them down,” said Davis.
About six minutes after the first collision occurred, Davis was standing near the 1999 Honda attempting to help the injured driver, who was, by this time, also out of his vehicle.
That is when the second collision took place.
An individual driving a 2005 Ford Focus did not notice the commotion until it was too late to stop in time, and after slamming on the brakes, struck the 2006 Dodge pickup truck from behind.
The impact from the collision shoved the Dodge truck forward and propelled the Focus sideways, causing it to swing around and also smash into the 1999 Honda CRV. Additionally, the impact from the crash caused the door of the Dodge Ram pickup truck to swing open wildly as it lurched forward, knocking both Davis and the injured driver off of their feet.
Davis, who suffered a fractured skull after being thrown to the pavement, was taken to Harborview Medical Center with a traumatic brain injury.
She does not remember being struck by the pickup.
“I don’t remember any of that… I guess I got hit pretty good because I landed on the back of my head,” said Davis. “All I remember, really, is just waking up and I was in the hospital, and I didn’t really know why.”
Her husband, Kyle, a lifelong Monroe resident, woke up at 1:15 a.m., and immediately wondered where his wife was. Shortly after that, the Washington State Patrol arrived at his house to tell him that she had been involved in an accident on the highway and had been taken to Harborview.
“Knowing where it happened, I immediately processed that through as; ‘this is bad because they passed three really good hospitals to go there,’” said Kyle Davis.
Robin, who was in acute care at Harborview for an entire week, was finally discharged to come home on Wednesday, March 26. She is under doctor’s orders to rest and take things slow while the swelling in her brain subsides and the healing process continues. She has an assortment of bumps and bruises, including a stitch in the back of her head, and experiences painful headaches. She is taking medication to help alleviate both the pain and the swelling in her brain.
Although happy to be home, she is still feeling somewhat sluggish and weaker than usual. Mostly, she is just ready to be back to normal.
“It’s annoying,” said Robin. “I don’t do well sitting, doing nothing.”
She is eager to return to her job at Expedia, where she works as a program manager. She misses work and she misses drumming with her band, Waiting on Wendy. She is hoping to be medically cleared in time to perform in the band’s next show at Flight’s Pub in Everett on April 5.
Despite her painful injuries and the inconvenience of being hospital-bound for over a week, Robin said the she would not hesitate to help someone again, should she ever be faced with similar circumstances.
“It won’t change anything,” said Robin. “I’ll still be who I am and do what I do.”
The widening project on state Route 522 will eventually result in a four-lane highway between the Snohomish River and U.S. 2 in Monroe. The project is expected to be ongoing throughout the summer, with an anticipated completion date of sometime this fall. Washington State Patrol Trooper Mark Francis stated that it is always important to leave both your lights and your vehicle on while stopped in construction backups.
“It is the law,” said Francis. “If you are the last vehicle in the backup and want to turn your hazard lights on as well, that is not a bad idea.”
State patrol officials urge drivers to be tolerant of delays.
“First off, ‘pack your patience,’” said Francis. “Large scale road improvements take time and at times can be inconvenient. Please be patient. The outcome is worth the wait.”
“Also understand that you don’t have to be speeding over the posted speed limit to be cited for speeds too fast for conditions,” he continued. “Slow down not just for inclement weather and heavy traffic but also for construction zones. Too many construction workers have been injured or killed by drivers traveling too fast for conditions.”
As a result of the March 18 accident, the driver of the 1999 Honda CRV was cited for operating a vehicle without headlights. The drivers of both the 2005 Ford Focus and the 2006 Dodge Ram pickup truck were cited for traveling too fast for conditions. In some circumstances, monetary penalties for construction zone infractions can be double the amount of regular infractions.
As a result of the accident, state Route 522 was closed for approximately three hours.
Davis is grateful for the continued support she has received from her friends, co-workers and family, as well as the local music scene.
Uberbeatz Studios, a rehearsal studio located in north Lynnwood, started a fundraising campaign to help the Davis family pay for medical costs and other expenses, including lost wages. So far the fund has raised $500 dollars and will be accepting donations for another week. To view the fundraiser webpage, please visit: http://www.gofundme.com/7s35dk.
Uberbeatz Office Manager Dani Smith initiated the fund.
“Right when I heard about what had happened, I automatically thought of doing a fundraiser for her. Especially since she was putting herself in harm’s way to help others, which is awesome,” said Smith. “We love her; she’s such a sweetheart.”