Monday, July 11, 2005

The Accident, Part 1

I had planned on blogging about the road trip I had taken this weekend. In search of the most delicious circle of hot ground beef on the East Coast. I found it, and there is a good story to tell there. But, circumstances intervened.

"$8,000."

"What?!?" I responded. The guy on the other line was the insurance company estimator. The issue is whether my car is a total loss in insurance speak. If the cost of repairing my car is more than 73% of its current value, it is considered a total loss and I get a check for the current value of my car. It won't be repaired. It'll be sold for scrap. My car is basically dead in insurance speak. Maybe. I find out tomorrow.

From the police report: "D-2 [Joseph K] was traveking southbound in the 500 block of 34th St, NE making a lefthand turn into a parking lot when D-1 [other driver] was also traveling southbound behind D-2. As D-2 was turning left, D-1's right front passenger side hit D-2 in the rear passenger door causing the listed damage. D-1 was [issued several citations]."

That's it. That's the narrative in the report. It's missing a lot.

Such as, I had been playing golf at a course not more than 10 blocks away and had scored a 101, which for me was a phenomenal round. It's also missing the fact that the impact, had it been 3 feet to the left would have caused me some devastating injuries. If not death. Didn't happen though, and the report memorialized the known facts.

Behind the bland copspeak of the report there are the stories of two people, connected only by near death and shredded metal.

I picked up the police report this afternoon. The curiousity got the best of me. I needed to know more about the thing than my memory yielded.

I was driving down 34th street in NE D.C. I was turning left into a parking lot to turn around and go back the way I came. I turned on my turn signal and began my turn. As I turned left, a woman named Cristy who was driving behind me -- for some reason still unclear to me -- ran into the driver side of my car. Clearly speeding, but none of that in the report. Three feet. Three feet to the left of the principal impact, and I might be taking my future meals through a straw.

Cristy and I are more similar than one might think if you look at the superficial identifiers. She is only seven days older than me. But, she also has three kids (who were in the car), the oldest of whom is 13. She had him when she was 17. When I was 17, I was fucking around at some so-called good college, intellectually masturbating about the ways of the world. Our lives were radically different, far more so than the difference in our ages.

The kids were ok.

She didn't say sorry. I blame her for that the most. The impact of the collison spun my car 90 degrees. I remember seeing her face fleetingly as my car spun around. She didn't look particularly moved. She kept driving. In fact, I had to chase her to stop her to make sure she didn't leave the scene. No easy feat since my door wouldn't open, and I had some achiness from slamming into the side of my car on impact. I had to leap over to the passenger side, open the door and run down the street.

She cried a lot once the police came. The police officers were on bikes. It was a hot day, but they were pretty dry. They got the facts. They didn't empathize that much. With me. The guy driving the German car. My cell phone didn't work, but I had to practically beg for a cell phone from them.

The cops took the info down and prepared a report. Cristy was allowed to drive off with her busted car. I was left waiting for my tow truck that was going to come in any where from 15 minutes to three hours.

"Be safe," one office said.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Well, this is a really bad neighborhood. In fact, if you can move your car, move it closer to Benning Road (main road 100 feet from accident.). Normally, we'd stay, but we have to continue our patrol."

"I understand, but my cell phone doesn't work. So, if it is as bad as you say, I hope you guys will be close in case something happens."

"Ha ha. Right, sir," one of the officers said.

"I'm being serious," I said.

"Hey man," some random dude who appeared on the scene said. "You need a tow?"

"No, man," I replied. "I got it covered."

"Ok." he left. Sort of. He was lingering.

"I can't believe it," one cop said,"It's illegal to solicit tow services at an accident scene unless called by us or the driver. These shady guys will hook your car and steal it or charge you insane rates. Well, like I said, be safe."

Then, they were gone. And, I was left there waiting for the tow truck.

5 Comments:

Anonymous tequilita said...

glad you are ok. i just went through something very similar. i lost my temper at the repair shop worse than i ever have in my life. they deserved it, but i'm still ashamed of myself.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Sharfa said...

What ever happened to "Protect & Serve"????? I'm sure they'd be back....to tag the body!
Sheesh.

And, Cristy managed to turn on the water works when the Cops showed up but she wasn't even going to stop?!, with her kids in the car? Way to go Mom. Great thing to teach your kids. Of course, the crying probably masked whatever mind altering influence she was under.

Just glad you are OK.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Henry Baum said...

A Mastheadian cliffhanger. Glad you're all right. My daughter almost ran into the street the other day and got hit by a car. It could have been a total tragedy but she was caught just in time. Later it felt like we were living in an alternate universe where nothing terrible happened to her. Makes you grateful sometimes.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Magazine Man said...

Now I know how people feel when I do this.

I assume because you're blogging this that things turned out okay, but still.

Very glad you made it out of the frying pan, but hope the cops didn't leave you in the fire...

8:30 PM  
Blogger Joseph K said...

MM: Your cliffhangers are bookended by tight, phenomenonally (sp?) well written, gripping tales. This is just me milking some events for a few posts.

The people I've been worried is about the parents. One kid dodges some sick terrorist attack. Another misses severe injury by feet. A lot for them to deal with. But, they are doing well.

10:47 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home