Manassas Journal Messenger | Trailer wreck victims out of hospital

The day after a trailer fell on his car, James Balloue somehow reported on time to his new job.

Around 2 p.m. Monday, Balloue was in a line of cars waiting to make a left turn onto Liberia Avenue from Centreville Road on his way to Wal-Mart to get some new clothes for his new job.

But as he sat there waiting for the light to change, he saw an 18-wheel truck carrying a work trailer and going way too fast.

“I am always surveying my situation, just to know what’s going on around me,” said Balloue, a military veteran. “I look up and see this truck coming toward me and it starts to make the turn, but isn’t slowing down.”

Balloue, who used to live in Kansas and remembered seeing trucks carrying trailers get blown off the road, felt something wasn’t right.

He watched the truck drive toward him and not slow through the turn onto Centreville Road. As he saw the cab become parallel with his car, he began to watch the load and saw it become unstable.

Then he felt that he should have gotten out and run, but as he tried to jump into the passenger seat next to him, his seat belt snapped him back in place.

“I got halfway and BOOM it hit my door,” Balloue said. Balloue was pushed back in his seat and the car, a manual transmission in neutral, was shoved back into the car behind him.

The truck, owned by Mobile Movers in Huntington, Md., was taking a work trailer from the new middle school in Signal Hill, which is set to open in 2007, to a site in Purcellville.

Balloue got out of his car and looked around. Like everyone else at the scene, his eyes turned toward a green Honda Civic, which had encased Lake Ridge resident Martha Calderon. She was somehow still alive.

Balloue said he could not believe Calderon was alive.

“I was preparing to see someone dead,” he said. “I could not believe the space she was confined to.”

Calderon, who was back home Tuesday, was conscious and talking, as well as scared.

Balloue called 911, as did almost everyone else in the area. A few moments later rescue personnel began to show up on the scene. Balloue, who was talking with Calderon until medical personnel arrived, refused treatment until Calderon was helped. Later was taken to Prince William Hospital for back and neck pain.

A third car was slightly damaged. The driver, a man in his early 20s, walked away from the accident without any apparent injuries.

Manassas City police said they plan to charge the truck driver with several traffic offenses, but did not specify what they would be.

The accident is still under investigation and police are still trying to determine the exact cause, said Sgt. Tim Neumann, Manassas City police spokesman.

Balloue said the driver, Richard Joseph Eshelman of Huntington, Md., became belligerent as he asked for his Eshelman’s personnel information. Eshelman withheld the information.

Balloue also said Eshelman was wearing a walkman while driving, which is against the law, and was not paying attention to the road. Neither of those statements could be confirmed by police before press time Tuesday night.

Now Balloue is getting back to his life. He reported to work Tuesday less than 24 hours after the crash in order to support his family, which includes a 4-year-old child and his wife, who is eight-months pregnant.

“I did not want to miss work, because you never know what will happen,” Balloue said. “I just want the people who caused this to take responsibility, considering two people almost died.”

Staff writer David Stegon can be reached at (703) 878-8065.

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