Car accidents can be physically and emotionally devastating, which is something that Steve Weatherford of the New York Giants discovered in the early morning hours of June 1. Weatherford earned the reputation as one of the best punters in the league, but he became known as something of a hero on that morning when a car accident occurred, forever changing his life and views. He was prided with saving a man who was involved in a horrific car accident just moments after skirting death.
Two days before the accident, Weatherford was in San Diego for the exciting birth of his fourth child, a daughter. The next day, he and his family were headed off to the hospital to visit the newest member of the family and from there, he took an Uber to the airport for a flight that was supposed to get him back to New Jersey around 8:30 p.m. However, 90 minutes from arrival, the pilot made an announcement that there were delays and they might not be able to land properly. Plans changed even further when the plane began running low on fuel and was forced to land in Washington D.C.
Weatherford’s luck continued to run out as he found out that United Airlines was supposed to charter a bus to take passengers up to northern New Jersey, but it never showed. Around 2:30 a.m., Weatherford took matters into his own hands and rented a car even though he only had a few short hours to make the drive up to the team’s facilities. About an hour away from home, a horrible accident occurred. He reported that the road had been dry but he ran into an area where the drainage system on the New Jersey Turnpike was clogged. There were four to five inches of water in that area and he hit it straight on. As the front two wheels of the car were in the dry area and the back two were in the water, the back end started to come around and he began to hydroplane.
As a result of the hydroplaning, Weatherford spun out at least three times and realized he was going to slam into the median quite hard. At that point, he gripped the wheel, tucked the chain, and tried to keep his body as tight as possible. When impact occurred, Weatherford said “I didn’t black out but it was a flash of black from the impact but when I kind of came to, my car was off of all four wheels on top of the medium and all these airbags are deployed and all of a sudden I feel kind of a nudge and then I come back onto all four wheels.” He discovered that he was somehow alive after the accident, forever thankful.
He jumped out of the car and ran across the lanes of traffic as he called 9-1-1. At that terrible moment, however, he heard a car hitting the same water he just went through and knew instantly what was going to happen. There was a screech and a slam, and impact was made between his car and the new driver. Weatherford quickly turned and ran across the turnpike again toward the second car, certain that he was going to find somebody dead inside. All airbags were deployed and the windows were all busted. He was able to find a little space between the driver side back door and the vehicle, so he pried the door open with his bare hands and crawled into the backseat.
He attempted to wake the man without moving him, in case of neck injury, knowing all the while that anybody could hit and kill them as they swerved about the accident. Eventually, though, the man woke up. An ambulance arrived on scene and took the other driver away, even though Weatherford was fine from his accident.
Weatherford gained a new appreciation for his life that day very soon after his daughter had been born, with a brand new insight. He said, “To my wife in the hospital, I’m so grateful that I get to see my family again, that I walked away from that whole thing, that everyone is OK. You just realize what a blessing each day is, how blessed I really am.”