THE SOIL OF AMERICA WANTED HIS BLOOD
Passing through the town of Cleveland and the big city of Chattanooga, where Sarosh lost Baba's car and when it was finally found, Baba was very upset and warned that he would never forgive Sarosh if it happened again. Driving through Winchester and Lawrenceburg, they spent the night in Waynesboro, Tennessee, at the Sims Motel which was located by a running brook. Baba had soup and veal, and slept for two hours.
The next morning, May 23rd, they left at 5:35 A.M. Driving the entire day, passing through Memphis, they stopped in Searcy, Arkansas, for lunch but Baba did not like the omelette that was served. Driving through Conway, Atkins and Clarksville they reached Ozark, Arkansas, where they stayed at Pond Creek Cabins that night. They had driven about three hundred fifty miles. It was a very quiet place with its own natural beauty; again there was a mountain brook passing through the land. The owner had over a hundred hens. Baba had only milk and bread in his room for supper, and asked for the same again for breakfast. Baba did not sleep that night and complained he had pain in his throat and stomach.
Saturday, May 24th, 1952, was a pleasant misty morning. They had breakfast very early, at 4:30 A.M. and started driving at 5:45. Baba again cautioned Sarosh to drive close behind them. That morning, Baba was in a serious mood; he seemed preoccupied and was not in his usual hurry to be off. On the way, passing through Fort Smith and crossing the Arkansas River they entered Oklahoma. At one point, Baba had Elizabeth stop the car, and getting out he paced up and down the highway for several minutes. Before proceeding, Baba again admonished Sarosh to be careful and attentive, and to stay close. Again Sarosh lost Baba's car, and met up with it in Sallisaw; there Baba instructed Sarosh to drive ahead. However, at Gore, Sarosh lost Baba's car and caught up with it at Warner.
Once they were on the road again, however, Baba ordered Elizabeth: "Drive fast!" and kept indicating her to go "Faster, faster!" They drove through the towns of Sallisaw and Henryetta. It had rained the night before, and the road was slick. They drove on over the rolling hills of eastern Oklahoma.
At 10:15 A.M., as they came over one hill, Elizabeth saw a car coming toward them from the wrong side of the road. She slowed down in the hope that as soon as the driver saw her, he would turn to avoid them. But he failed to stop, and collided with their car at full-speed impact. Just as the accident occurred, Elizabeth remembered Baba raising his left hand and pointing to the oncoming car, as if he were somehow directing the whole affair.
Baba was thrown clear out of the car and landed on his back in a muddy ditch on the side of the road. Blood flowed from his nose, which was broken; one arm and leg were fractured. Mehera and Meheru were also thrown from the car. Mehera had a deep gash in her forehead, and Meheru's wrists were fractured and sprained. Elizabeth was pinned behind the steering wheel, both her arms, her collarbone and eleven ribs broken. Mani, who had been dozing in the back seat, was the only one unhurt.
According to an accident police report filed at the time for insurance purposes, the accident occurred in Lincoln County, Oklahoma, on Route 62, six hundred feet from the East County Road, near the town of Meeker, Oklahoma, approximately ten miles west of Prague.
The driver of the other car, Anthony Joseph Palmieri, age twenty-four at the time, described how the accident occurred:
Palmieri drew a diagram to illustrate how the accident occurred.
According to Elizabeth Patterson's account:
It was true that Palmieri was a veteran of the Korean War. One of his legs had been amputated, and he was driving a special car with hand brakes and accelerator. This was the first day he had used the car. With him in the car were his wife, Billy, and her mother, Mrs. Jane Hansen, both of Oklahoma City. They were on their way to Arkansas to pick up Billy's son by a previous marriage, who spent the summers with her in Oklahoma.
The accident occurred directly in front of a small farm owned by a Czechoslovakian immigrant named Stanley J. Moucka. The postman had just put the mail in his mailbox the truck that Palmieri saw stopped when Moucka heard the accident and rushed outside. He brought blankets to cover Mehera and Baba. No one in Palmieri's car was injured. Mrs. Hansen had leapt out of the car. She then went to Mehera and wiped her face with a handkerchief.
Elizabeth's car had gone off the road into Moucka's driveway. "It was a terrible sight," Moucka later remembered. Mrs. Hansen also said, "There was blood everywhere. It was horrible."
Meanwhile, a man taking his wife to the Prague clinic to have a baby drove past. Because the town had only one ambulance, he sent it back, along with a hearse.
Sarosh's car had not yet appeared on the scene. Due to the heat, Sarosh had stopped along the way to enjoy a cool drink. It was a stop he would regret for the rest of his life. When they came upon the accident fifteen or twenty minutes later, they were shocked by the sight. Rano, Goher, Delia and Kitty jumped from the car and ran to Baba. Goher was dazed, and began frantically going back and forth between Mehera and Baba. Baba indicated to Rano by hand signs that his arm and leg had been injured. Delia unpacked her small pillow and placed it under Baba's head.
"The anguish of that moment is unforgettable," said Delia later. "Baba's face with blood pouring from his head his eyes just staring straight ahead as if into unfathomable distances. He made no sound nor sigh, just lay there motionless.
Elizabeth was in the car doubled over the wheel. Her first question was, 'Is he alive?'"
Baba was lying on the soft dirt, bathed in blood. He had foretold that the soil of America wanted his blood and, in his infinite mercy, he was spilling it there.
It was as if a knife had impaled the heart of the world,
LORD MEHER, 1st US ed, Vol 11 & 12, pp. 3834-3838
1997 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust