Friday, October 12, 2012

Florence Festival of Books


I'm happy to report that the 2nd annual Florence Festival of Books was a big success. The event had an even bigger turn out than last year. I had a great time chatting with visitors and fellow writers. I also sold a few books and got an invitation to speak at a local library next year (I'll post more details at another time).

We were fortunate to have much better weather this year. Last year, it rained off and on all day. By the time the event was over and we were all lugging our displays and boxes of books back to our cars it started down pouring. It was insane!  We all got soaked, so for the entire hour drive home I had soggy socks. (chuckle) It certainly made for a memorable experience!

This year, the day of the book festival was gorgeous. We could feel fall in the air, but it was still sunny and clear. I for one was happy to drive home with dry socks on my feet!

Unfortunately, my drive home was not uneventful. Just south of Florence I noticed that all of the cars in front on me had slowed down and were preceding cautiously. At first, I wasn't sure what was going on. I simply followed the others lead by slowing down and keeping an eye out for danger. A few moments later I spotted a green SUV in the northbound lane. The vehicle swerved off the road, hit a dirt embankment, basically bounced, and ended up on it's side blocking the lane. It was insane!

I immediately turned on my hazard lights and pulled over to call 911. I could see that some of the other cars had also stopped and some of the people were approaching the SUV. They had to open the back hatch in order to get the guys out. Fortunately, everyone was alright. One of the passengers had a few scrapes and bumps, but no one had to go to the hospital.

A few of us had to wait around for about an hour since we had witnessed the accident. We were interviewed by a state trooper about what happened and what we saw. One of the other drivers, who was much closer to the accident than myself, said that the SUV had been swerving in and out of it's lane for some time. Another driver claimed that the driver had been drinking. I don't know for sure, but I do know that while we were waiting for the state trooper to come talk to us another officer removed some suspicious items from the overturned car. I suspect that the driver will be facing DUI charges.

In the end, everyone was okay and we were allowed to leave the scene. I'm happy to report that the rest of my drive home was uneventful!

~ H. S. Contino

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