Authors: Jennifer Bryan Yarbrough
LOST and FOUND
Jennifer Bryan Yarbrough
LOST AND FOUND
Written By: Jennifer Bryan Yarbrough
Copyright 2013 by Jennifer Bryan Yarbrough
Editing: Tammy Lindey at Butterfly Dreams Proofing and Editing
Published by Jennifer Bryan Yarbrough
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce
this book by any form. This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places or events are entirely a figment of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to any actual person, living or dead are coincidental.
This book was printed in the United States of America
First Print 2013
Dedicated to Dora Bryan
You have always been my biggest fan.
I love you Grandma.
LOST and FOUND
CHAPTER TWENTY ONE
CHAPTER TWENTY TWO
CHAPTER TWENTY THREE
CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR
How I ended up driving the last leg of this 2000 mile trip, I
will never know. I guess we can blame my sweet and
wonderful, love of my life, tired husband. He has been a trooper driving the first 1500 miles since leaving Kansas, because he knows how much I hate driving long distances.
Derek travels for work every day selling automotive parts
and when I suggested driving to the coast of Oregon to visit
his sister during spring break, I knew he would say no because he is always on the highway somewhere, every day, but he was all for driving the trip and suggested we
drive straight through.
I wanted to fly and make it a quick trip with only 1 layover, but I could see the dollar signs in his eyes at my suggestion,
so drive we did.
I glance over at my handsome husband-who was my high
school sweetheart-with his head on his pillow in deep
sleep. I am so jealous of him at the moment, because I
would love nothing more than to sleep myself. I glance into
my rear view mirror at our 3 kids, Jordan (10), Jeremiah
(8), and our little baby girl Jenna (5) and my heart melts.
They are my gifts from God, my three little hearts that walk
outside my body every day and are truly the biggest
blessings I've ever received.
There’s always something going on in our crazy life,
whether it is baseball, soccer, or basketball. I know I made
Jordan’s baseball coach mad by going on this trip, because
he was going to miss crucial (his words) practices over the
break. Family time comes first above everything, so he will
just have to get over it, is what I told him.
We haven’t been on a vacation since before Jenna was born
and there was no way we were cancelling over baseball practice. Yes, I am one of those types of people that have
problems telling people no and I always end up doing what
is asked of me just to avoid confrontation. It drives Derek
crazy, but it makes life a lot easier most of the time.
I feel like all I keep doing is turning the heater up and then down, because the temperature keeps dropping, according to
the temperature gauge. Derek told me to wake him up if I
felt that the roads were getting bad, but he needs his sleep
and I’m a big girl, I can do this, I think!
There is nothing on the radio and after this long trip, I can’t
handle listening to anymore Maroon 5 or Matchbox 20
CD's and I'm shocked that I would ever think that!
I need to call Claudia, to let her know the progress of our
trip and because I am bored and trying my hardest to not
fall asleep. If anyone can entertain me, she can. I dial her
number and she picks up on the first ring!
“Tell me where you are, Olivia! Ha-ha.” I could hear the
excitement in her giggling voice. She couldn’t even say
“Oh Claud, I really have no idea! We are on some Podunk,
2 lane highway that looks like something out of a Jeepers
“Well look out for big flying creatures, hehe. No seriously.
Where are you?”
“Oh, I guess maybe about 300 miles away? Maybe? Derek
is making me drive this last leg of the trip. I guess he is
trying to build some self confidence in me, haha. You know
me, if it’s not an hour away from my house, I’m not driving!”
“Oh I know how you are! How’s the weather? Have you
run into any bad weather? I have been so excited and
anxious at the same time about you guys coming to visit
and you know how rough the weather can get this time of
“It’s rained on us pretty much the whole trip. I think we’ve
seen the sun for a total of 30 minutes, but nothing too bad.
I’ve been trying to pay attention to the temperature to make
sure it doesn’t get below freezing” I glance at the gauge and
realize that it’s 17 degrees! When did that happen? I glance at the road and realize that it's nothing but solid ice!
“Claud, I need to go! I’m going to wake Derek up and let
him drive. He’s better at driving in this mess than I am. I
need to find some place to pull over so that we can switch
“Be careful, sweetie. I love you and I can’t wait to see you
guys, and can’t wait to hug you! Call me when you’re out
of that mess. I’ll be praying for you guys! Love you!”
“Love you too girl and we can’t wait to see you either! Call
you back here in a little bit.”
I see a big bridge coming up and I see the road signs that say
SLIPPERY WHEN WET
and something about bridges and overpasses being the first roads to freeze. Oh lord!
When I get past this bridge, Derek is taking over!
Slow down Olivia, slow down! I was so distracted by my
conversation with Claudia that I wasn’t even paying
attention to how fast I was driving.
I let go of the gas pedal to coast across the bridge, no way
am I pressing on the brake pedal on ice. That’s the one thing Derek told me NOT to do if I thought I saw ice. I
look ahead at the length of the bridge and my first thought
was that this is the longest bridge I’ve ever been on and my
second thought was what in the hell is standing in the
middle of the bridge?
I get closer and it looks like some kind of animal! I know
I’m in Oregon and there is lots of wild game in the woods
and you can’t get any woodsier than where we are now, but
what is that?
It’s a deer, oh my word! A DEER! Right in the middle of
MY LANE and it’s not moving. It’s just standing there like
it’s waiting for me.
I nudge Derek without looking away. “Derek! Wake up!
“Wh....wh... what, what’s going on?”
He raises his head up, trying to get his bearings, but I could
tell by my scream to wake him up that he knew this was serious. I hear Jenna from the back seat awake from my
“Mommy! You woke me up!”
“Honey, I’m so sorry, but Mommy had to wake Daddy up.
Go back to sleep, sweetie.”
“Ok Mommy, but try to be quiet this time. I need my
Oh she is such a sweetheart and so funny and I can’t wait to
get past this bridge, so I can cover her in kisses.
“Honey, you’re driving on ice!” I could tell Derek was panicking as bad as I was, which didn’t help my nerves any.
I know, I let go of the gas, but I think that’s a deer ahead of us and I’m afraid to press on the brake”
“Honey, just barely tap it once to slow down some. Maybe it will move out of the way by the time we reach it."
He is wide awake now and sitting straight up and trying to
give me some confidence in my ability to get us past this
I tap the brake and we immediately start going sideways
and the van starts careening into the other lane. I turn the wheel to try to get back into the lane we are supposed to be
in and then we are sideways and as we are heading into the
side of the bridge, I hear Derek scream, "everybody hold
I feel like I’m in a tunnel somewhere. I hear Jenna
screaming for me in the distance and screaming for Derek, screaming at her brothers and she keeps saying; “Mommy,
wake up! Mommy, wake up! Daddy! Daddy! Dordan!
My head is killing me and I feel like something is pressing
into my stomach. The last thing I remember was driving
across that horrible bridge.... On ice.... The DEER! Oh
my God! The Bridge! My babies! Derek!
I try to open my eyes, but I can’t seem to do it. All I hear is
Jenna’s constant screaming. I hear a tap tap on the window.
“Ma’am! Are you okay? Ma’am!”
I slowly open my eyes and look around and all I see is the
sky outside my window and water! I try to rise up and the
van shimmies and feels like it moved forward a little.
Oh my God! We are hanging off the side of the bridge! Oh
my God! Oh my God! Please God, save us. Get us out of
this van in one piece, Please God! I look to my left and
there is a man looking at me through the window.
“Ma’am, I’ve already called 911, help is on the way. Are you hurt? I hear your baby screaming. Is there anyone else
in there besides you and your husband and the baby? I can't
see through the tinted windows."
“Ye ye yes! My 2 boys are behind my husband and I in the
middle seats. Please help us!”
“I’m working on it, but I can’t open any of the doors. Do
they automatically lock? Can you try to reach over here to
unlock the doors?”
I try to sit up further to reach the door lock and unlock button
and I feel like my stomach is on fire. The seat belt must
have really squeezed me when we crashed. Thank God the
air bags deployed, or Derek and I might have hit our heads
on the windshield.
Derek! I look over at him and he's unconscious, but I see his
chest slowly rising up and down, which let me know that he
was breathing, but he wasn’t moving at all. I can’t turn
around, so I look in the mirror and I see Jenna bawling her
head off, still screaming for all of us. Thank God she’s conscious and alert.
I try to see how Jordan and Jeremiah are, but I can’t see
them very well and they’re not making any noises, so they
must be unconscious as well.
I rise up further and lean towards the instrument panel on
the door to push the unlock button. I hear the click sound of
the doors unlocking and the man that was standing outside
my window opens the door.
“Ma’am, can you feel your legs? Do you think you could
move, so I could get you out of there?”
“No get my husband and kids out first. They’re the ones
I’m worried about. My husband and boys are unconscious.”
“Ma’am, I don’t know how much longer this van is going
to stay in this spot. When you rose up, it moved a little
further past the edge. Please let me get you out if you think
you’re ok and then I will try to get your family out. The
paramedics and firemen should have already been here and
I don’t know how much longer this van is going to stay on
this bridge. Ma’am, we need to hurry up and get you all
"Can we please just wait for the paramedics? What if
they’re hurt bad and something serious is wrong. We probably shouldn’t move them.”
I suddenly hear sirens in the distance. Thank God. They’re
almost here. I want to try to turn around to check on the
boys, because I still can't hear anything coming from them.
Derek has moaned a couple of times and hopefully is
coming out of consciousness.
“Jenna, honey, it’s going to be ok. Calm down baby, help is
on its way.”
“Mommy, I’m so scared and my leg hurts so bad. Deremiah
and Dordan are sleeping like Daddy. Mommy, are they ok?”
She is trying to be so brave and I could see in the mirror
that she was still crying, but her sniffling had quieted down
“Baby, they’re all ok . Do you hear the sirens from
the cop cars and fire trucks? They’re coming to help us,
honey. They’re going to get us out of here and take us to
the hospital to get checked out and then we are going to go
see Aunt Claudia. Please don’t cry, honey. We are going to be ok and your Daddy and brothers are going to be ok.”