You know how when someone tells a story you recall so many things that may or may not go along with that story? A blogger friend of mine (if you regularly read someone’s blog, they are like a friend of yours because you know about their family, their celebrations and their hard times, right?) had a rough week because of an incident with her daughter having to ID someone who was a very bad man. This made my memory recall several things. Luckily for me, there was no assault involved but it was scary just the same!
When I was 18, my brother was killed in a horrific car accident. For a while, I wouldn’t ride in the car when someone else was driving, I just drove myself, even if it meant being by myself and paying extra for gas and parking. Several months later I finally decided to ride as a passenger in the vehicle of an experienced, safe, adult driver. After youth group, the two of us decided to go see a movie 3 blocks away. This was a GIANT baby step for me. We left the church parking lot, made a left turn at a light onto another street. We were talking and laughing. Ahead of us I saw an oncoming car swerve into our lane. We were on a two lane each direction road and we were in the left lane.
The oncoming car was heading down the road pretty fast and he entered our lane one more time but only a little. The third time he entered it, he hit us head on. I guess it made a very, very loud noise because several kids and adults from the youth group came running around the corner and up the street to see what happened. Later, they told us that they just had a feeling it was us. The rest of this happened in such slow motion but this is how I remember it.
I jumped out of the car because I had a feeling that this guy was going to take off. It was dusk and kind of hard to see. My door still could open and I wasn’t hurt. I jumped out and looked around. Traffic was sparse. This man had hit us head on and the front of his car was totaled and all of the glass was broken yet his car kept going. He ended up turning around and going around our stopped car and taking off in the direction WE were heading. He looked right at me as he drove by. I obtained 6 of the 7 numbers on his plates but I didn’t know which one was missing. We called the police and they told us to move the car out of the road. This puzzled me because A. maybe the car wouldn’t move and B. I thought you don’t move it until there is an investigation.
The police arrived and we had to call my parents (good God that took me forever. How do you call your parents who just lost a child and tell them you’ve been in a car accident and not expect them to freak out?) and our friends moved the car. All I remember about this part is the police coming, taking measurements with their little rolly thingy, asking me questions and then making up a scenario for me that did not match up with my story. NO! He was not attempting to make a left turn into the driveway on our side of the road! Well, according to their measurements, the car HADN’T been hit where I said it had. If they hadn’t made us MOVE THE CAR, they could have seen that the car WAS where I said it had been, plus glass flies and spreads out a bit, particularly when both cars are moving and one runs away!
I told the police that the car was a stick shift car; they argued with me and asked how I could possibly know that. I told them I had jumped from the car and seen the man and heard the car shift gears several times as he zoomed away. “IMPOSSIBLE” they balked. Well, what do ya know. A car matching the description that I had given was found in a neighborhood not to far away with a drunk man in it. The police separated my friend and me into different police cars and drove us to the scene. They asked us separately to identify the man in the middle of the street. She said that she could not because she hadn’t seen him. I asked if I could see the car because that would help me, I had seen more of the car than the man. They refused. They shinned lights on the man so that he could be seen and I could not. They gave me paper work for a citizen’s arrest and said that if I was wrong about the identity of the man, I could go to jail or be fined. If I was correct, I might have to testify in court. Way to make a girl feel confident. After telling me I was so wrong about how and where the accident happened and then telling me that I MIGHT be wrong about this man, I was ready to pee my pants!
I looked at the man and he looked like he could be the same guy but I wasn’t sure. He was standing shirtless in the middle of the street with two officers, screaming. I said that the man in the car had a whitish shirt on. The police men went over to the car and pulled out a white shirt and told him to put it on. Grrr, how could I be sure! If I could see the car, I would know! I told them he had on a white hat. They pulled a white hat out of the car (the car was there but unlit and I couldn’t see it at all by this time of night). They made the man put the hat on. YES! It was him. I confidently signed the paper work and we returned to the scene of the crime. After we got a look at the car of course. This view cemented my confidence that this was the man but it also made me amazed that he was able to still drive. It was all kinds of messed up!
Later that night while we were still at the scene, we learned that the plates were stolen, he was uninsured, the man was drunk, he was a suspect in the case of a robbery at Arby’s AND he hit-and-ran us! Not bad for a day’s work in the line of criminal catching. Oh, and the police had to retake their little measurements and tell me that I was correct about the placement of the vehicles and the crash. Apparently, measurements are different when someone is drunk. OR, maybe it’s just that he REALLY WAS swerving into our lane since he was drunk.
Yes, I did eventually ride in other people’s cars. This big bump put me back in the driver’s seat for a while but I think it also demonstrated that I will survive, even if someone does happen to get into an accident while I’m in the car. I never had to testify or see this guy again.