End of Voyage Accident
October 6, 2012

This wasn’t the way I planned to end my voyage across Newfoundland by mule and wagon. Saturday afternoon, October 6 2012, a four-door vehicle drove head-on into the back of my wagon. There were no skid marks or signs of collision avoidance at the scene. The impact was strong enough to separate the wagon in two. Mule Polly, the driver of the vehicle and I are okay.

Scene of the accident. In the foreground, the front half of my wagon after it was struck from behind by a four door sedan. The wagon came apart upon impact and the front half of the wagon came to rest approximately 45 feet from the aft end. Inspecting the wreckage is Jesse Peddle. Mule Polly is okay. Three law enforcement vehicles and a tow truck responded to the accident. (Lethbridge, Newfoundland)
The front part of the wagon as it came to rest on its side. The remainder of the wagon is in the distance. (Lethbridge, Newfoundland)

The collision occurred in Lethbridge. The community was the final destination of my 4-month, 1000 km voyage across Newfoundland by mule and wagon. The accident took place about 5 km from where a group of friends was assembled to welcome Polly and me at their home.

Polly and I were travelling south bound. The sun was low. The driver that struck the wagon said the sun was in his eyes. There were no skid marks or other signs of collision avoidance evident at the scene. The impact deployed both the vehicle’s air bags and ruptured the radiator. The car was removed from the scene by tow truck.

The bright red wagon Polly and I were traveling in was marked with three high visibility safety flags. It displayed the slow moving vehicle as required by law.

In the bottom right corner is the bumper of the vehicle that struck my wagon. The impact was so violent it separated the wagon in two. The aft half is visible against the guard rail. The slow moving vehicle sign, required of agricultural and animal drawn equipment traveling over the road, is visible on the back of the wagon. In the distance is the front half of the wagon. It overturned and came to rest approximately 80 feet from the point of impact.
The side view. The vehicle shown was passing through the scene. It was not involved in the accident.
The underside of the front half of the wagon. It was thrown on its side in the accident. It is constructed of heavy steel. The collision was powerful enough to bend a 3/8” by 1” section of steel plate around Polly’s hindquarters. She is sore but appears to have escaped serious harm.

Following the accident, mule Polly and my wagon were trailered to Jesse and Louise Peddle’s home in Lethbridge. Polly is sore but expected to be okay. In addition to harness breakage, the wagon suffered multiple broken welds, bent framework, body and roof damage.

Today, October 7, is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Now I have something to be really thankful about. It could have been much worse. A few hours before my wagon was struck, a local teenager lost his life in a vehicular accident. By comparison, we have emerged unscathed.

I would like to thank the citizens of Lethbridge and Newfoundland for their concern and assistance. Thanks as well to everyone who brought Polly treats after her close call.

Happy Thanksgiving.

October 9 update: Polly and I are currently dealing with wagon repairs and preparing for our return to North Carolina.

Polly a few hours before the accident. She is sore but okay. (outside Lethbridge, Newfoundland)
The way Polly and I want to remember our voyage across the Rock. At its core, the trek was all about meetin’ Newfoundlanders. Here, in a calmer moment, Polly and I visit with the friendly folks of Daniel’s Harbour. I think there was some side betting going on as to whether (or not) we’d make it across the old girder bridge that leads into town. Proper thing as they say in these parts. Proper thing….

(Map note: the map shows the general area of Lethbridge, not the site of the accident.)

Posted Saturday October 6, 2012 by Bernie
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