Rob's Blog

May 9th, 2014 – The Car Accident that had me Spinning!

by on May.09, 2014, under Caricatures, Other Travels, Swampy's Florida, Various, What's New?


Last Friday, May 2nd, 2014, while driving through rainy conditions from the Florida Turnpike unto the entryway to the East-West Expressway in Orange County, I managed to hit a well known puddled area of the road and proceeded to spin across the curved over pass bumping off the concrete walls of the overpass. The car ended up more than three quarters across the overpass over the Florida Turnpike. The Sheriff’s deputy asked if I saw my life fly before my eyes. i might’ve if I wasn’t already doing all I could to get control of the spinning car. It was commented that my skill and vast amount of driving likely saved me from a far worse fate.

Best is that no other cars were involved. Plenty were around, but all safely handled their cars to avoid my careening vehicle.

The damage was in two corners of the car and I walked away a bit dazed and mighty upset. The Florida Highway Patrol officer refused to wait for Allstate to send a tow truck so we waited for him to send a tow truck. The reasoning, rightly, was that the car needed to be moved to get backed up traffic moving. However, I’m not sure if Allstate would’ve taken much more time than the other tow truck from Johnson’s Towing, based in Orange County. The FHP officer claimed he needed to give me a ticket and gave me my very first one for reckless driving, though I find that an odd finding. The officer gave me advice as to how I might get out of the ticket. All raising the question as to why he really gave it to me. He wasn’t real happy with me as I realized my car was, in essence, confiscated or impounded by the Florida Highway Patrol and a towing company – Along with all of my caricature equipment, supplies, overnight suitcase, etc. The towing company is known for being difficult involving access or retrieval of vehicles.

Well protected by an unelected bureaucracy, there seems little to be done about the confiscation of private property by contracted towing companies. One reason I learned to greatly dislike privatization by government was learning of actions by towing companies. That and my 20 years with the City of Orlando and nearly thirty years in politics.

I realized I needed to keep Swampy’s Florida through all this. So, i re-interpreted the incident in terms of Swampy and friends being involved. Came to my atention a few weeks ago that I need to better chronicle Swampy, the Swamp Ape, and his adventures in cartoon form by drawing my adventures as his. I did that this time. Not sure how I’m going to interpret my birthday yet.


The next trouble was that, accident or no accident, the show must go on. I was due to draw at, my friend, Joan Milligan’s 57th reunion of the Edgewater High School class of 1957. Due to a lot of fancy footwork involving borrowing my father’s car, I got to the event and drew the night away. The time was so close that my father had to come with me. One of the drawings from the event is above. I was surprised that I was able to draw at all. I was having a bit of dizziness at this point.


There was more show to go on in Cocoa Beach the next morning. So stayed at my father’s and headed to the next event – the Pitts Wedding – in Cocoa Beach Saturday morning. Got a chance to also collect information around the event location for future needs for Swampy’s Florida. Above is a photo from the wedding I performed.


After a night at my friend Jim Fern’s house, i had a much needed meeting with Tim Reynolds of The Knowledge Exchange about upcoming Swampy’s Florida projects. That same day was Free Comic Book Day and free Swampy’s Florida comics were distributed to Famous Faces and Funnies in Melbourne.


Headed home in my father’s car Sunday from The Knowledge Exchange meeting and discovered the problem my father’s car has. Losing water suddenly. I had to pull over a number of times to refill water into the reservoir. The first stop had a HUGE help of the fellow above, Michael Gotti. Michael happened to be bicycling by as I pulled over to figure out what to do. He helped me get water into the car and then did something I would never have done – Find a spicket on the building where I stopped and refilled the storage container with water. Can’t thank Michael enough!

Later my cousin, who works at the Florida Turnpike’s Okahumpka Rest area, also helped get water in my father’s car. By then i was pretty good with getting water in the car. 🙂

The next few days had me heading back to the tow lot to get my car out. Thankfully the car started and the Allstate agent was extremely cooperative in helping me get the car out of the lot and to Apopka to start the process of getting the car looked over and repaired. Muffler Man of Apopka, Complete Auto Repair came to the rescue – again – for the car. A thorough investigation came up with the definite need for an alignment. The trouble with doing that was that other work, exacerbated by the accident, had to be done first.

Finally got my car back Wednesday and was able to head home. But I took the backroads. I prefer those anyway. Even more after the week’s ordeal.

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2 comments for this entry:
  1. Jackie Joyner Harris

    So glad you made it though it all. You and your crew.

  2. Eva

    So glad you made it out alive. I was out driving at the same time on I-75 going to St. Petersburg–for a reunion picnic of SPHS classes 1950, 1951,1952 and 1953 at the War Memorial Park at Bay Pines.
    I know what you were going through.
    Now at least your car and your father’s car are in good working order.
    I am glad, too, that your friends and relatives came to your rescue.

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