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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

My Car Says "Ouchie"....

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

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"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

My Car Says "Ouchie"....

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There's no sense in trying to come up with a clever opening line. So here's the nitty-gritty: I was in a car accident. It was not my fault. I am fine. But I think my car might be totaled.

Yesterday was a beautiful day, Daylight Savings Time, so I woke up at 7:30-trying-to-decieve-me-into-believing-it-was-8:30, put on my (skimpy) skating practice clothes, and headed out for my Sunday morning lesson.

The lesson and subsequent practice went as great as it could, considering that I'd been up since 7:30 on a Sunday. I practiced my solo a couple of times, but it's hardcore, and I'm not a morning person, so I did a cool-down and headed out into the beautiful late morning sunlight, put my iPod on my "Skating" playlist, opened the windows, and actually looked forward to the half-hour drive home.

I turned onto Belair Road. About a block down the road from the rink is a 7-11, and as I approached in the righthand lane, a guy started to pull out of the driveway. My thought: "Dude, don't." He didn't listen; my osanwe must not have been working well. As I passed in front of him, he pulled out on me. He hit the right side of the car at my front tire and kept coming; he scraped down the entire right side of my car. I was going about 25 mph when he hit me and accelerating. My foot slammed down on the gas when he hit me, and I lost control of the car, fishtailing back and forth across Belair Road. Human reaction time is about .7 seconds; after my .7 seconds, my foot moved to the brake and slowed me down, luckily before hitting the cars waiting at the intersection literally a few yards ahead of me. I pulled the car into the nearest driveway, which was a Merchant's Tire Center.

I proceeded to wubble for two seconds and want my husband to appear beside me badly.

After two seconds of permitted wubbling, I breathed and thought of what to do. I was not hurt. I shut off the car. I shut off my iPod, unplugged it from the tape deck, and put it in my purse. I got out of the car, walked around to the side, saw how fucked up it was and mentally screamed. But...the car was not important at that point. I was worried that the guy who hit me might be hurt, so I hoofed it back up the road to the 7-11 where he'd hit me, about a block.

He was gone.

I circled the parking lot in a sort of dazed shock, checking every car, but none were smashed on the front. (It happened so quickly that I didn't know--still don't know--even the color of the car.) The street was full of glass and people were swerving around it but the guy who hit me was gone.

I walked back down to Merchant's. I had enough battery left in my cell phone for one call, so I called Bobby to tell him what had happened. I used some pretty colorful language. I would walk across the street and back to the rink to use Ms. Jackie's phone to call the police. But my forward-thinking husband called my inlaws, who live about ten minutes away from the rink, and had my father-in-law--who has had police training--meet me.

Now picture the scene: It is a beautiful April morning, and here I am, walking up the road to the 7-11 to check one more time for the guy who hit me (no dice), then over to the rink, in my tight skating trousers and my tighter, low-cut tank top...guys were honking at me; I felt mildly ridiculous. When I used to drive back and forth to dress rehearsals, I was dismally amused at the possibility of breaking down and having to walk to a phone in my sequined costume, stage makeup, and shimmer tights. No sequins here...but it was nearly as bad anyway.

So I hung out at the rink until my father-in-law arrived, about ten minutes later, and we rode back across the street in his police car to Merchant's. He called the police for me and had me wait with my car for the officer to arrive. He wanted to walk up to 7-11, flash his badge around a bit, and ask if anyone had seen anything.

So I sat on the hood of my car, watched the traffic go by, and worked on my suntan. (As if.)

A few minutes later, my f-i-l came walking back from 7-11 with a big grin on his face. "Dawn," he said, "we got him."

And from behind his back, he pulled out a license plate.

When the fool hit me, he scraped off his license plate and left it in the gutter. I was ecstatic. Later, f-i-l would say, "If you could have seen your face...." I must have looked like a kid on Christmas. A kid on Christmas who just got a pony.

But these were my thoughts up until that point: I am an exceptionally careful driver. I recognize that I can be spacey; that I "dissociate" a lot. And so I am extra-vigilant; it is a nightmare that I should cause an accident while writing the next chapter of my novel or listening to my muses chat. I'd been minding my own business, simply driving in the road, not breaking any laws--not even speeding (and, in Maryland, that's pretty notable)--and this asshole wasn't paying attention and hit me and now I'd have to pay a $500 deductible. Because of his negligence and irresponsibility, not to mention his inability to own up to what he'd done.

F-i-l returned to 7-11 to put the plate where he'd found it and told me to wait for the officer. He arrived a few minutes later. The first thing he said after looking at the side of my car: "You're clearly not going to be at fault here."

I recounted to him what had happened and discovered that the guy who hit me had driven home and called in the accident from there. So he was on his way back now; in the meantime, the officer would take down my information.

He assured me that when the guy arrived, he would not let him leave until checking him out and making sure that he was fully insured. F-i-l reappeared in the meantime, license plate in hand. He and the officer started talking and discovered that they knew a lot of the same police officers in the city. F-i-l pointed at me and said, "She's in law enforcement too. She's our statistician."

That was the point where the other guy--no matter what--officially lost any chance he had. Law enforcement takes care of law enforcement.

Finally, the other guy arrived, driving a car different from the one in which he'd hit me, claiming it was not driveable. (He'd had no problem hightailing it out of 7-11 after hitting me, however.) He was an older guy, about 60, and dressed in pajamas and bedroom slippers. His hair was tousled. He'd clearly just rolled out of bed.

The officer greeted him with "Before we begin, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: You are at fault here. Do you understand that?"

The guy started stammering about how he didn't understand how that could be the case. He hadn't seen me. (Okay, so I need to drive now on the contingency that someone can't see my car-sized car when it's ten feet away?) But the officer patiently explained that I was on the main thoroughfare, and that gave me right-of-way. By crashing into my side while pulling out of a driveway, my right-of-way had been taken. That put the other guy at fault.

Finally, he agreed.

The officer turned to me then and said, "Should I arrest him now or are you going to give him a chance?"

I didn't want anyone arrested. I wanted whoever hit me to own up to the deed; I wanted their insurance to pay. So I said that I didn't want him arrested, and the guy started, "Oh, thank you! Thank you!"

The officer also asked why he left the scene. "Well, I waited for a couple of minutes," the guy said, "and she never showed up. So I drove around but I couldn't find her."

7-11 is less than a block from Merchants. It probably took me a minute to pull over my car, shut it off, look at the damage, and mentally scream. It probably took another minute to walk to 7-11. There was no sign of the guy, after only two minutes.

The officer started taking down the guy's information, and the guy took my f-i-l to the side. (Mind you, he had no idea that we were related. He thought he was just another cop on the scene.) I could overhear what they were saying, even though it was pretty clear that he was trying to keep it from me. (I can hear pretty well...when I want to!) The guy said to my f-i-l, "She must have been really flying down the road to come up on me that fast. I really didn't see her!"

Okay, so first you try to pawn off blame on me because you didn't see me? Now I was speeding, so it's my fault?

But f-i-l had my back. He looked at the guy and said, "That's impossible. She was coming from her skating class. She'd turned onto the street less than a block up that way, out of the skating rink. There was no way that she could have gotten that kind of speed in such short time."

The guy looked at him, alarmed, and said, "Who are you?"

"Her father."

Oops. *evil cackle*

(For the record, I drive a four-cylinder Suzuki Esteem, not a Lamborghini. I believe that it is actually impossible for me to accelerate beyond twenty-five miles per hour over less than a block.)

After the officer finished copying all the information, he gave me a copy with instructions on what to do and left. The guy who hit me was asking which car was mine (because it was across the parking lot), and so f-i-l said, "Come look at it. See what happened to it" (since the guy claimed he couldn't really remember hitting me).

My car is ripped down the entire right side. The scratches start at my right tire and deepen all the way to the rear tire. My doors are crumpled and won't close properly; the whole side of the car will have to be replaced. It looks nasty. When we walked up to the car, the guy stopped and stared at it. He said, "Who hit you? They sure did a number on you!"

F-i-l and I stood in stunned silence for a good two seconds before he retorted, "You hit her! You did that!"

F-i-l has a theory on the guy: He doesn't think he was the driver. He showed up in pajamas. He showed up in a different car. He knew nothing about the accident; he knew nothing about me. Now, after he hit me, I did not simply disappear. It took several seconds to get control of my car and pull to the side of the road. Yet he didn't even know the color of the car I was driving.

It was fairly obvious where I had gone, and it took me two minutes to walk back to the accident scene. But whoever hit me was gone. No sign of him.

If the guy did hit me, then he doesn't belong driving. He claims never to have seen my car, even after he sent me spinning across the road. He claims to have waited for me, but clearly, he did not. If he was driving, then he lacks the eyesight and mental capacities to operate a car. We showed him a damaged car, and he didn't know that he'd done it. After sending me skidding across the road and tearing off his own bumper.

We think that whoever hit me sent him to take the rap--maybe the person didn't have insurance or was driving on a suspended license already--and only owned up when it became fairly clear that we would find him, since we had his license plate.

Anyway, because whoever hit both of my right-side tires, f-i-l didn't trust me driving home on the Beltway. Neither did I; the last thing I needed was a blowout and another accident on the way home. So I followed him back to my inlaws' house and Bobby met us there. We took care of the calls to the insurance companies and everything. (I had to get nasty with the guy's claims adjustor; the bitch had the nerve to cop an attitude with me after her client hit me! I am becoming a Not-So-Nice Person, I fear.) My car was towed from my inlaws' house to a shop this morning, and I am picking up a rental car this afternoon.

I haven't had any pain...yet. These things can take a few days to show up, but I think I'll be okay. (Given what I've been putting my body through at skating, this is nothing.)

I fear that my car is totaled. The way Esteems are built, the back quarter panel wraps all the way to the front of the car. All of that will have to be replaced. Both doors will have to be replaced. I need a whole new right side.

Bobby had to have a quarter panel replaced on his Esteem once, after a woman hit him in a parking lot, and it cost $2500. I don't think my car is worth much more than $5000.

I could be wrong...but my instincts are telling me that I drove my little Esteem for the last time yesterday.

Still...cars can be replaced. I am fine; the other guy is fine; that is what is important. (Although I must admit to being pissed: My first thought was to walk up to 7-11 to make sure that he was okay. I didn't even bother rooting for insurance information; I wanted to be sure that he was okay. And he didn't even have the decency to stick around and do the same for me. I could have been really injured...but he didn't stick around to see.)

Also, had I skidded into the cars waiting at the intersection at Rossville Boulevard like I feared, I probably would not be fine. Or someone else wouldn't be fine. And it would be a typical instance of the asshole who caused the accident walking away while the person who only wanted to go home, have lunch with her husband, and listen to her Skating Songs playlist with the wind in her hair would be in the hospital.

After the whole incident, the only things wrong with me: My hip hurts. (Nothing new.) And while hoofing it up and down the street, I got a bit of a sunburn. It could be much worse.
  • *hands you more of that nasty stuff to chuck at the car-hitting idiot*

    Glad you're okay. That sounded massively scary O_o
    • *gladly accepts nasty stuff*

      It was...especially in retrospect, when I think of how much worse it could have been if things had been a split second different. If I hadn't reacted in time to stop before hitting the other cars or if there'd been someone in the other lane or if he'd pulled out in front of me rather than into me....

  • Eeeeeep! That sounds altogether very scary and stressful...and bizarre! The guy who turned up sounds either totally on another planet or, as you say, like he was taking the rap for someone else's accident. Very weird. Disturbing thought if your guy isn't the one responsible: the jerk who really did it is still out there, still being irresponsible, and still being unable to own up when he causes accidents that are clearly his fault! Eek...

    OMG I am SO glad you're OK. Your FIL sounds like a really really good guy to have around when something like that happens. Hopefully insurance and stuff will take care of the car soon...

    *crosses fingers* I hope you don't get any unexpected whiplash or anything from this. *hugs lots*
    • *hugs lots back* :)

      F-i-l is great to have around in such situations. Anytime you can get the cop on your side, you're usually good to go. ;) Also, he is much meaner than me, even though I find myself becoming quite the bitch as I get older!

      So far so good on the injuries...I've got my fingers crossed too.
  • I'm glad you are okay. I'm so EFFING glad you are okay!!!!!!!!!


    And what a weird guy! That story stinks so much.

    *makes gagging noises*

    But I must say, you have a brilliant father-in-law.
    • *huggles muchly back*

      I will have to tell my f-i-l that my LJ friends think that he's great. He'll get a kick out of that. ;)

      I was certainly glad that he was there...and not panicked/observant enough to find the license plate in the gutter.
  • Idiot. (Not you, the one who hit you) Feel officially entitled to become a not-so-nice person. I'm glad you're okay, though. *hugs* :)

    Unfortunately those kind of idiots are more than common. When I drove to watch a movie with my sister in February it began to snow suddenly and soon there were about 2 inches of snow on the street (or so I guess), so I drove really slow and careful. And we still got overtook. And on a bend in the road where I bet the other driver saw nothing. Nothing happened, but if it had, it would have been nasty. And that's only one of many examples I experienced. Bah.
    • I said to Bobby, on our way home last night, that I don't understand how people think. Here, they're operating a vehicle weighing upwards of a ton in such a careless, reckless manner...it's literally like Russian roulette. How can people take such chances with human lives? To save five minutes?

      As for snow in Maryland....o.O The world stops...except for a few idiots in SUVs who think that four-wheel drive makes them invinsible. Of course, when they crash into my tiny compact car, guess who's walking away unscathed?

      We had the same experience in Western Maryland on New Years as you and your sister had in the snow, only it was fog, and it was so thick that you couldn't see three feet in front of the car. Couple that with driving along mountain passes...but the SUV idiots were speeding along, honking at Bobby because he dared drive beneath the speed limit (and he was pulling to the side of the road to let them pass...but that wasn't good enough, no!)

      I second your notion: Idiots.
  • Wow, I'm really just glad that you're okay. I mean it's great that everything else is figured out, but I don't know what I'd do if anything happened to you!You're family to me. I'm as careful as I can be when I'm out, I mean my car is a family car, but it's also sporty so it has a lot of horsepower so it's easy to speed, but I do come across a lot of crazies on the road. anyway,I'm glad you're okay hon,I'm sorry to hear about this.
    • Thanks. :) *hugs* I know you're careful...and I'm glad! I can't take having anything happened to my niece and nephew...or to you. But yes, people around here certainly drive like morons. I don't understand how they can take such chances. It irritates me when you see some dumb woman in a giant SUV, sucking on a coffee and chatting on a cell phone and zipping in and out of traffic...and with her kids in the backseat. How can a person take such a chance?
  • Thank goodness you're alright! It's all very strange, though. I've never understood how that sort of accident can happen unless the person coming out of the side road is drunk or stoned.
  • I'm so glad that you're all right! I hope there won't be any belated injury...

    Augh, what an idiot, though. I hate people who cause an accident and then disappear. Especially when it could easily have ended much worse than it did. Bastard. I can imagine your glee at learning that he'd left his license plate...
    A shame about your car, too. With the whole side ruined, it's indeed very likely that there's little point in repairing... but you're all right, and that's the most important thing. As you said, cars can be replaced.
    • For all the idiot knew, I fell unconscious and was bleeding out as he drove away. *fumes* And my first thought was for his safety!

      As I told my f-i-l: Just further proof that no good deed goes unpunished.

      I wish I could have seen my grin when I saw that license plate too! :^D
  • Oh my God. How scary is that?! I am so thankful that you are okay and that this wasn't much worse. I shake my head every day at the stupid things that people do on the road. There's no point in going into it again. If it was indeed the guy in the pjs who was driving, then he was quite obviously still asleep. Maybe Sunday morning isn't the safest time to be out there. Thank God there were no pedestrians, and oh gods! Your poor car! Will you have to get a new one do you think?
    • I'm pretty sure that the car is totaled. I could be wrong--I know next to nothing about cars--but I do know that the whole right side has to be replaced and that doesn't even begin to consider the possibility of frame damage.

      Luckily, my parents made me an offer before the accident of taking my mom's SUV, since my dad is getting a new car and giving his car to my mom. (I won't say what kind of car my dad is getting! It's so embarassing!) If they total the car, I'll just have to figure something out for the few months until my dad gets his new car.

      Or maybe it won't be totaled and I won't have to worry about it at all. :)
  • (no subject) -
    • He drove back to the scene in a different car, claiming that the bumper was off of the first and it was not driveable. It was sure driveable for him to leave the scene though!

      Luckily, it was unequivocally his fault. There's no way--under Maryland law--for him to contest that. So now my only worry is that the insurance company is going to scrimp on fixing my car...if they don't total it, of course.

      I'm hoping for wholeness and okayness too. :)
  • Aside from the damage to the car, sounds like you came out of that one fantastically. You weren't injured, and plus. . . you and your f-i-l completely pwned the guy who hit you. Whoever he may be. And it sounds like it''s not this guy. But, dude, you got the license plate! Pwned!

    There are places in the world where leaving the scene of an accident is against the law. Is that the case in Maryland?
    • Totally pwned! I think that my expression when I saw that plate must have been one of pure, rabid glee!

      It is illegal to leave the scene in Maryland too...which is why the officer asked if I wanted the guy arrested. As long as I get what I need from his insurance company, though, I don't want to go through that headache. And he did call it in and come back...even if I suspect that was because he got home and discovered a little something missing....
  • Wow. So glad you're all right!
  • Only because I know you're okay and because I've already talked to you...


    Now picture the scene: It is a beautiful April morning, and here I am, walking up the road to the 7-11 to check one more time for the guy who hit me (no dice), then over to the rink, in my tight skating trousers and my tighter, low-cut tank top...guys were honking at me; I felt mildly ridiculous. When I used to drive back and forth to dress rehearsals, I was dismally amused at the possibility of breaking down and having to walk to a phone in my sequined costume, stage makeup, and shimmer tights. No sequins here...but it was nearly as bad anyway.

    Also ROFLMFAO @ the idiocy of that guy's story, and everything else because, well, WTF?!!?!111?!!1

    I chuckled many times whilst reading your recap, but seriously, only because you are okay and I can be happy and carefree about that, at least. *Big hugs*
  • Yes, but the really important question is, are your KNEES okay?

    You poor darling. How nice that you have law enforcement, um, inforcement...As for the guy that hit you, bad karma, man. You are so on the universe's shit list.

    Chiropractic really helped me after a pickup broadsided me 2 years ago...

    (((((hugs Dawn)))))
    • *giggles* My knees seem fine, yes. ;) The stoopid hip still hurts, but I'm expecting that to continue until after my skating show, at least.

      And no other pains so far yet *knocks wood* and it's been two days now so.... *knocks wood again just to be safe*

      I thought of karma too, when I realized that he'd left the scene. Divine intervention or not, these things have a way of righting themselves, at least in my experience. :)
  • Wow, that sucks! What an asshole that other guy is! Definitely feel free to be a "not-so-nice" person, especially at bitchy insurance people. Gotta love when people whine "You want me to do my job? Wtf?"

    Very glad you're okay though! :)
    • Hey, I whine that sometimes! "WTF?? You want me to put aside this very important piece of Silmfic to run a tag for you? WTF??" ;)

      The audacity of those people simply amazes me. Here, their client hit me; my only guilt was having the nerve to attempt to drive home. And they're going to hem and haw about giving me what I need to get over their client's profound stupidity.

      If they want to take up with someone the amount of money they have to spend to make things right, they might start with the asshole who can't even look before making a turn out of a 7-11.

      Sorry for the wee rant. Nrgh! That's just so frustrating!

      Meanwhile, my insurance people were very nice. They didn't even have to be involved, but we called them to let them know what happened. And they were very nice.

      (For the record, we have Geico. He has Nationwide. ;^D)
  • Cars can be replaced. What matters is that YOU are OK!
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