I drove slowly down the road, peering through the frozen rain striking my windshield. My 12-year-old son, Eric, shivered in the passenger seat while the car warmed up. I should have headed straight home after church, especially in this weather. But we had gone to visit a friend in Grymes Hill, a neighborhood in Staten Island, New York. By the time we left, the sun had set and a sleet storm had begun.
My friend’s townhouse was at the top of the hill and the way down was steep. There were patches of black ice everywhere along the winding street. I kept my foot on the brake, prepared for anything. There was a car stopped at an intersection a safe distance ahead. It seemed we were the only two foolish enough to be out on the road that evening.
Suddenly, the tires lost their grip. The wheels spun. We were sliding! I pumped the brakes—they were useless. The car took on a life of its own. It fishtailed, picked up speed. We came up fast on the car in front of us. I wrenched the wheel to the right, but the car surged forward. We were going to crash. Eric and I braced ourselves.
“Jesus!” I screamed.