Near Miss

On the Road to Burley

By Wayne Fuller

On a dark night in September 1950, I was driving on U. S. Highway 30 about three miles from Burley when a pair of headlights suddenly appeared in my lane, coming straight at the pickup.

By reflex, I slammed on the brakes and jerked the steering wheel to the right to avoid a head-on collision. The pickup went off the road into a steeply banked barrow pit, rolled completely over onto its wheels, and came to a stop.     

Earlier that summer I had graduated from Buhl High School and was working to earn money for college. I was born and grew up in Buhl, where football was an important part of the high school scene.

I played in my senior year, 1949, and still remember a close game when Buhl beat Burley, a big rival among the seven small-town high schools that comprised a league in the Magic Valley.

Buhl and Burley were playing each other again the following September, which was why I was driving the road between the towns that evening in my father’s old pickup.

Two friends, Floyd and Max, were riding to the game with me in the truck’s cab, so we were a tight fit. In those days, vehicles generally were not equipped with seatbelts or air bags.

“Are you hurt?” I asked my friends after the pickup came to a stop.

“I’m bruised but not bleeding,” Floyd said.   

“Nothing’s broken,” said Max.

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Wayne Fuller

About Wayne Fuller

Wayne Fuller was born and raised in Buhl and is a retired district judge. His articles have appeared in several law journals. He and wife Margaret, a well-known author of Idaho trail guides, have five adult children and seven grandchildren. Since 1996, Wayne has served as a volunteer attorney to assist low-income and elderly persons with civil cases. He resides in Weiser and late in life still hikes from his summer cabin in the Sawtooth Range.

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