Curran survives scary crash

What if they hadn't been wearing seat belts?

What if the drunk driver was in a big truck, instead of a tiny Porsche?

What if Rennie Curran hadn't swerved?

Those were questions that could have gone either way for Curran, Brookwood's star linebacker and a Georgia Bulldog commitment, and his girlfriend, Natalie Quezada, following a scary auto accident on April 29.

The two were returning from Athens that Saturday night, taking back roads to get to Ga. Highway 78 via Ga. Highway 81, close to midnight when the Porsche rounded a corner at a high speed and did so in the wrong lane. A drunk driver was behind the wheel, forcing Curran to make a split-second decision, not unlike many he has to make on the football field.

So the rising senior swerved into the opposite lane to miss the Porsche, which darted back to the correct lane and hit Quezada's smallish Toyota Echo on the passenger's side.

"If I didn't swerve, it would have been head on," said Curran, who made an amazing 198 tackles as a junior last season for the state runner-up Broncos. "He was coming so fast. It was dark, almost midnight. There wasn't much I could do."

The incident was plenty frightening - both were understandably shaken, although Curran said he stayed surprisingly calm - for the victims of the drunk driver's stupidity. A bottle of lotion in the car exploded during the wreck and splattered all over Quezada's leg. For an awful moment, she thought the liquid was blood.

It also got Curran thinking. In a flash, his football career could have been affected, or wiped out. Of even more concern, his life and his girlfriend's life could have ended.

Had things turned out differently, we may have never seen No. 39, for my money the best defensive player in Brookwood history, flying to the football again. We could have lost a great kid, one of the nicest ones you'll meet.

Fortunately we didn't. The two Brookwood students were battered and bruised, but nothing major, which was an incredible blessing.

"It could have been a lot worse," Curran said. "That could have been the end of football for me. I try not to take anything for granted anymore. It made me realize how fragile life is. I'm happy to be here."

Will Hammock can be reached via e-mail at will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Thursdays.