Car Vs. Camel!

Jolly and I are working this warm desert night when we get called for a car accident about 30 km south of our location. I let Jolly take the front seat and I hop in the back of the ambulance. From the dispatch information we receive en route we figure  it's a single-car accident with two victims. Injuries unknown. I know this stretch of desert road pretty well. It's straight as an arrow and completely unlit. I drive it from time to time to work at a remote clinic about 140 km away. On the way to the scene, I find myself wondering what would cause someone to go off the road on such a straight length of highway. Well, I decide, I'll just have to see when I get there.

It's moonless and dark when we arrive. No streetlights and no other light source for a few kilometers in each direction. This is the middle of the desert, you know. We park as close as we can but the car is up a 2 meter embankment, about 20 meters off the roadway. Jolly goes ahead to check it out. Anticipating trauma, I grab two backboards, collars, and the usual. Jolly hollers at me to not bother.

This is going to be good. I scramble up the rocky embankment and join Jolly at the scene. Jolly is a local so he's doing all the talking with the local police and security personnel who have arrived before us. This frees me to check out the car. We have a Toyota Camry resting upright on its chassis. The front and the rear are completely smashed, there's not an intact piece of glass in the whole car and the sheet metal of the roof looks like it was ripped off with a giant can opener. No sign of the roof anywhere nearby.

There are no tracks leading to the car either. Just an impact print about 8 meters behind it, then blank sand then another impact crater a few meters back. End over end roll. Up a 2-meter embankment. Wow.

The driver (I assume he was) is completely wrapped around the center console. Yes, completely, like 270 degrees of twist. His head is so badly deformed that it's clear we're not rescuing him. Even assuming we can cut him out of the car. The nearest rescue squad is at least 45 minutes away. The passenger is lying next to the car and I get that the responding police had pulled him out of the front seat. He, too, has a badly deformed cranial cavity (skull). Even though there's no brains leaking out, both of these guys have what we call "injuries incompatible with life."  No, they weren't wearing seatbelts.

Jolly and I proceed to search the surrounding desert. We surmise that the car bounced end over end and, without a roof, we worry there may be someone lying out in the sand having been thrown from the car. We work our way back along the estimated path of the car. From the bits, pieces and imprints in the sand we figure this car was going pretty fast. About 100 meters back, we find the gouges in the shoulder that shows us where the car went off the road. To have traveled 100 meters, bouncing end over end, that car must have been going pretty dang fast when it left the road.

100 meters further down the road, we see another police car with its lights on. There's a dark mass on the road in front of it. As Jolly and I work our way down the roadway, the smell hits us. I've not smelled anything so nasty and vile in my life. It's the smell of an eviscerated camel. We find the roof of the car. Most of it is still in the camel. A quick look tells us the story: Our two friends were speeding down the road when, out of nowhere, there's a camel in their headlights. They hit the thing full speed. I estimate they were doing at least 200kmh. This is not unusual in this country and specifically in this part of the country.

The front of the car snaps off all four of the camel's legs and the camel's body hits the roofline of the car. It rips the metal off the roof and impacts with both occupants' heads, killing them instantly, I'm sure. Bounce, flip, the camel goes over the car leaving the Camry to swerve a bit, travel a few more meters, hit the shoulder and begin it's aforementioned end-over-end flip dance to finally rest another 150-200 meters further on. It's an impressive display of physics, biology and plain stupid.

Jolly and I are shaking our heads as we get back in the ambulance and head home, leaving all three bodies for the police to deal with.

And, Oh! The smell!