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Driving to the Art Fairs - Chris Coffey's Narrow Escape

A sample of Chris' work. See more at

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Comment by Tina Pietsch on September 23, 2014 at 10:53pm
If you are behind a semi and cannot see his mirrors...he can't see you. You can't ever be too careful around big rigs.
Comment by Larry Berman on September 24, 2014 at 8:17am

Glad to hear Chris is OK.

Larry Berman

Comment by Chris Coffey on September 24, 2014 at 8:41am

Thanks for the good thoughts everyone. A couple of thoughts about this incident:

You can do everything right and still end up on the wrong end of something (think about the last time you got rained out at a show). I've driven for 43 years without an accident or moving violation, always wear a seatbelt, stay in the right lane and stay alert, and under the speed limit (I was doing 65 in an 80mph zone). A few years back I quit driving at night to/from shows unless it's beyond my control as a lot of the bad stuff I would see seemed to happen after dark. Still, sometimes you're the bug and sometimes you're windshield. 

The UT Hwy. Patrol accident report confirmed what I thought happened: this semi had rear-ended another, then crossed the median and blocked both lanes and the shoulder so there was no way no avoid hitting him (thanks to the guys who replaced my front brakes the week before). Sometimes careful isn't enough.

After renting a truck to get to the Portland show and then a different one to get home to OH my days have been spent dealing with insurance agents etc - everything but making and selling art. Still, I'm a lucky guy: minor sprains and a totaled vehicle and I walked away. Had to cancel a show and a trip to work on a book project but a split second sooner and I'm probably not here to work on anything.

In the end what I said on the video is true and most artists do this as a matter of course: pack your vehicle well, do the maintenance and make sure your insurance is up to date. As a postscript I guess I'd add the following: spend the time you have here on what matters, don't waste time on negative energy and let the people you care about know it all the time for our time is short.

Now get to work!

Comment by Connie Mettler on September 24, 2014 at 9:39am

Thanks for this update, Chris. I was so surprised to see you in Portland -- and then after we talked it was even more surprising that you actually were in Portland! Good to hear you got home again, a very long drive back to Akron. 

So many good tips in your post above. We used to put on 25,000 to 30,000 miles a year. When we moved to the small town where we live now Norm immediately sought out to establish a relationship with a good mechanic, presents at Christmas, etc. Our lives and livelihood depended on him. 

Comment by William McCarthy on September 24, 2014 at 9:48am

Glad you are OK Chris , I like that God's not ready for your last wash.

Will McCarthy

Comment by Suzanne Beavis on September 24, 2014 at 10:04am

So glad you are alright!  I hope you get back to making art soon.

Suzanne Beavis

Comment by R. C. Fulwiler on September 24, 2014 at 3:41pm

So glad you're alright, Chris.  Kim & I had a devastating roll-over in 2004 towing our 30' Airstream.  Seat belts saved us.  Unlike you, our inventory was destroyed and we lost the 3 shows we were going to.  Good luck with the insurance company.

Comment by Chris Coffey on September 24, 2014 at 4:12pm

RC - I remember that - seems we lost that gentle cat of yours (Bogey) in that crash. I feel fortunate to only lose one show, a work project trip and to walk away with sprains etc. I wouldn't mind some of the time back however (have spent 6 hours today alone with Insurance agents, Highway patrol website etc).

Still, Lucky

Comment by R. C. Fulwiler on September 24, 2014 at 6:19pm

Oh yes.  We're lucky when we can tell the story....  My advice?  Hold out on the insurance co.  I did not get what my van was worth when I crashed it.  It took me 5 years to overcome the loss from that accident.

Comment by Bill Sargent on September 25, 2014 at 7:52pm

  I couldn't help but think of the stories we've heard that didn't come out this well.  Glad you're with us and doing well, considering the alternatives.  

      Ann and I just finished a 2500 mile round trip and passed at least one spectacular accident along the way.  You can never take a safe trip for granted.  After seeing your post I realized how tired we had let ourselves get by pushing ourselves to get home a day early.   


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