Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Monday Luck

Monday. The first day of the workweek. The day that follows the weekend that should, by all accounts, be a slow news day. So it was no surprise to me that our Monday story about a new program at the local Community College was going to consist of one interview in an office with no accompanying video opportunity, then a break for lunch, then another interview. The afternoon interview came with the chance for b-roll that would satisfy our mandated daily dose but then another hour-long layover slowed our day back to a crawl . All this for a seminar for anyone intersted in starting their own business in Davidson County. Three people showed up.

But we had our story in the bag and we headed back to the station, a mear 12 minute drive up Business 85, and we didn't even have to be LIVE today!

But 6 minutes into the trek and my 2 scanners began to howl like my 4 dogs on the fourth of July.

"Station 91, 92, 43....Mobile Home Fire....235 Red Oak Drive", cried the lady dispatcher from the Lexington 911 center. I perked up, but in a relaxed manner, hearing the cross streets and realizing that it would not be practical to drive the 15 miles down to the scene for a mobile home that may or may not really be burning.

Before volunteers from the 3 stations could even hit the road, the yelp of the scanners filled the truck again, "Station 43, Medic 1, Medic 20, 29-Bravo response." This was lingo I am very familiar with. The 29 means an auto accident, the Bravo means it's not too serious but hurry up anyway.

"This was nothing to worry about" I thought silently, as I muttered aloud "Gosh, Station 43 is getting hammered today",

We continued on course until the details of the accident gave us both a case of whiplash as we realized what we had just heard, where we were and my foot stompe the brake pedal.

A school bus had collided with 2 other cars...a couple of students were reported to be injured.

The tires gripped the pavement as we whipped a quick U-turn headed back up a southbound service road. The wreck was only 3 miles from our location....we were going to be there before some of the emergency units.

My reporter got on the phone with the war room at the station, and I grabbed a map to plot my best course of navigation. Less than 5 minutes later we were on the scene staring at a badly damaged school bus and 40 displaced teens.

I racked off shot after shot of the scene working my way closer with each new shot. The buses front wheels cocked over at a nearly 90 degree angle to their intended position and the students were huddled in the front yard the house that sat at the T- intersection. As I moved closer to the scene and saw that the EMS workers were busy with 2 students. The injuries weren't serious but they were enough to warrant a ride on gurney and a trip to the E-R..

My phone rang and a familiar voice was on the other end, my buddy Stewart 'Lenslinger' Pittman. 'Hey, where do I need to bring your livetruck."

"Go south to Pilot School, turn left, go to the end, turn right, go to the stop sign, turn left, go to the end, turn right, we will be in front of ya."

As my reporter came back from the newscar with my Orange Wal*Mart Fleece and my matching Mechanix Wear Gloves, that I had forgotten in my haste to quickly document the scene, we were set to make this story complete.

Enough time had elapsed to allow the scene to calm down a bit before approaching for any interviews. When we did make the move for 'sound on tape' we were able to talk to the principal, who came to the scene, a student, who was waiting for a parent, and a couple of witnesses who described how the little red sports car had ran through the stop sign.

By the time we had enough sound to fill up the 5 and 6 o'clock news I spotted our Live truck stuck in the traffic blocked by the school bus. I met Stewart and his ride along helper 'the intern' down by my parked news vehicle, and we made the gear swap. I gave him the low down on how I had stumble across this gem of a visual story, almost lamenting the fact that I had worked myself into a long day, knowing that the next day's work would be starting at 7:30 am on Tuesday.

I barely even remember the next 2 and a half hours. Stewart took off in my Explorer, I don't even know if I said "Thanks for the help!", I positioned the live truck out of the way of the High Voltage lines overhead and the next thing I knew we were Live at 5 with a 1 minute 'Package' and Live at 6 with a 40 second 'mini-package'.

And It all came off as if we had all day to get it done.

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