To set the story in context, Bouf Bouffard had always wanted his Z real bad. Since I met him, Day One of sophomore year, his Z was going to be his baby. So, came Winter 1975. That week, Brian had just lost his final appeal for a CDB he received for refusing to dive in scuba class the morning before he was to fly. He thought he was safe, following the Regs. But he was written up and our AOC threw him to the wolves. Come Friday, Brian’s last weekend before restrictions & cons – my stereo needed to be fixed in Denver, so Brian and I decided to take Gayl and his girlfriend out to dinner at the 94th Aero Squadron restaurant (by Stapleton) in Denver since I was up there. Since the stereo shop closed early, I borrowed Bouf’s Z to take my stereo up to Denver, and Brian would use my Mustang to bring Gayl and his girl to Denver. We would meet up at the Holiday Inn by Stapleton airport and leave from there for the 94th, since I could not be relied upon to find the 94th on my own – and its hard to miss the Holiday Inn by the old Stapleton airport.
Plan in place, I set off for Denver and dropped off the stereo just fine. Running early, I took my time getting to the Holiday Inn. At the time, the exit from I-70 to the road that passed in front of the Holiday Inn came down north of I-70 on the far side of a blind curve at a stoplight-controlled intersection. I missed the green light, so I sat out the light, first in line. The light changed, I waited and started forward. A little way through the first lane, I saw a red pickup truck with a huge forward bumper coming straight at me from the left (driver’s side). I hit the gas, which probably saved my life (along with the seat belt) since the truck hit just behind the driver’s seat right above the wheel. The poor Z went 150 feet sideways and did a complete 180. I gradually got my senses back – first thing I remember is the pickup driver coming up to see if I was OK, and then realizing that my left shoulder hurt really bad. The cops showed up, took our conflicting stories, could not find a witness, and helped the paramedics to help me get out of the car via the passenger’s side of the car.
I went to Denver General, got X-rayed, some sort of pain shot, and a harness for my broken collarbone. I remember telling the hospital to call the Holiday Inn and let Brian and Gayl know I was OK (at the Inn, they were wondering where I was since I was late, even for me.) Finally, Gayl asks if there are any notes for her, and the desk clerk tells her I am at Denver General. They start out for the Hospital not knowing how I am, fearing the worst for me and Bouf’s car. I remember them showing up – I am in no pain, yet. Poor Brian, I told him about the car, and he has never, ever, once said anything about it. What a guy! The car was, basically, destroyed. But his insurance insisted upon rebuilding it, windows blown out, rear drive train knocked off, wheels blown off, whole rear-end crumpled. I am sure it just broke his heart. I still feel bad about it.