Friday, August 08, 2008

Accidental Domino

Today started out so well too.

The sun was out, I and my kids were going to get hair cuts and from there we were going to bring a buddy home for my eldest to have his very first Sleep Over at our house.

Yep, all was going our way. I love my new shorter hair cut, even my hairdresser was surprised how good it came out. I looked at one of those glamour books and pointed to what I wanted. I do love it.

Off we went to McDonald's for a quick lunch and then to home.
We had a slight delay going home.

I was at one of the THREE intersections with lights in our town, (yep, 3), there was a brightly painted yellow crosswalk directly in front of me. There was a young woman waiting and waiting to cross. I had the red light. Both sides had the red light.
Mine turned green first and I took my foot off of the brake and then put it back on again because I remembered that a pedestrian in an official crosswalk has right of way. If I rolled at all from taking my foot off of the brake, it was maybe 2 inches.

I checked my rear view mirror, the guy stopped, and all was OK. She stepped out, because the other line of traffic was still stopped. She was halfway across the road when my car lurched forward.

At first I wasn't sure what happened. It was so fast.

In my rear view mirror, there was an older man, maybe in his 60's, in a pickup truck full of cut limbs and tree debris. He was holding his head and his neck and his face mirrored the pain he must have been in. You see, he didn't drive into me. He was rammed into me because someone slammed in HIM from behind.


I stayed in my car. The kids were fine, thank goodness, and that is the most important thing.

Kids are resilient. They were like, "Cool! We're part of a crime scene!" and "Are we going to be on TV?", and they proceeded to eat their McDonald's lunch.

They were agog at the police cars and the ambulance and all the people milling around. I never got out of my car. I was not leaving the kids. I had no idea how much damage my car endured but this is the second time our car has been hit in 2 years. Oy.

This is also the first time I've used my cell phone to call 911. And I guess it went pretty quick. I was transferred to my local police department and when asked if I was hurt, I said no, but I said the guy behind me looked like he was in a lot of pain, he was holding his head. They said they'd dispatch an ambulance right away.

I would say the response time was five minutes. I am impressed.

While waiting for the police to come, the young woman who I stopped for and let cross the street came back over to me an apologized. She was so sweet too. She gave me her name and phone number as well as her cell. She couldn't stay because she was heading off to babysit someone. I figured just her info would be enough if needed. She felt so bad; I think she felt that if I hadn't stopped for her, it never would have happened.
Who's to say?

The police officer wasn't interested in taking the info even though I offered it.
He said that even if I wasn't letting a pedestrian cross the crosswalk, even if I stopped for an ant in the road, ( his words) drivers of cars are supposed to keep plenty of distance between them so if the car in front stops, they retain control of the car at all times. He also told me that the truck sustained heavy damage and the gentleman received injury whereas I and the kids were fine.

I only had to provide my drivers licence, my registration and I had to provide him with the names and birth dates of my kids and their friend. I didn't know they would need that type of stuff.

As to why or how it all happened, the only thing I can think of is the third driver didn't see break lights on, saw the light was green and assumed traffic was rolling and slammed into the guy behind me. Why else?

Just think though. If she was slow stepping into the crosswalk after I stopped -- the momentum of the push sent me into and over the crosswalk -- I would have hit her. THAT would have given me nightmares for months!

Thank GOD for many things. My kids and my eldest's friend was not hurt, the girl was not hurt and I was not hurt. Right now, my back is a little sore, but if that's all I have, I'm not going to bother with an MD visit. I should be fine.

Now my bumper has a gash in it and my trunk handle is pushed in. I bet you it's going to cost a couple of grand to fix this. I have to go to the police station tomorrow to pick up the report and on Monday, go to the insurance company.

Because I didn't get out of my car, I did not get any of the usual information; the names, insurance numbers and all that. And lets face it, the poor guy behind me was in no condition to look for insurance and registration papers.

So now my worry is, was I ever at fault? No. Because it wasn't the guy behind me that hit me by driving into me, it was the guy behind HIM.
And it is a state law for cars to stop when pedestrians are at an official crosswalk.

I was within my rights to stop.
The traffic on the other side was still stopped.
I was already stopped.

She was IN the middle of the crosswalk so it didn't happen because I had made a sudden stop.

Enough seconds of time had lapsed for it to be entirely the third drivers fault.

But shit, you know? I have a leaky roof, and now I have car repairs to deal with.
This sucks.

And as I type this, the kids are playing Wii and are shouting and having tons of fun.

Ah, the innocence of youth.


Dru said...

oh my gosh. Please take care of your back. It may not hurt badly now, but in a few days it may.

As a non-driver, I don't think you were at fault.

Again, make sure you take care of yourself and I'm doubly glad that you and the kids were not hurt.

Michele said...

Thanks, Dru!
My lower back had some twinges afer I did my post, but I can't say for certain if it was because of the incident. I'll wait a few days.

And thank you. I dont' think I was at fault...I remember more and more now that I've calmed down and I could have sworn I heard the police officer say that the guy came out of the side street ...if so, then it had Nothing to do with me or my decisions.
He just came whipping out of a side street...soooo...I'll know more, I think, went I go and get the police report tomorrow.

And the kids are still fine.
Thank goodness.

Brandy said...

You weren't at fault. Someone wasn't paying attention and it wasn't you. Keep a "Feel" out for the back. If it continues to bother you, SEE A DOCTOR.
I'm glad y'all weren't hurt and that the kids are safe.
I hope your weekend goes well!

Liz Maverick said...

Gah. Scary story. Glad you're okay :)


Michele said...

Thanks Brandy.
This morning, my back doesn't twinge, so maybe it was tense because of stress?
Like I said, I'll make my decision on Monday as to whether or not I'm 100% or not.
And the kids are just fine today too. No complaints of soreness or stiffness. I am VERY grateful for that.

So, my weekend HAS to go well, because everything else gets put into perspective when things like this happen. You know?
Thanks again, Brandy!

Michele said...

Thanks, Liz!
I appreciate the concern.
It was scary. Not at the time it was happening exactly. I was too busy dealing with things, but after, when I had to time to think about it all, that is when all the 'what-if's' hit.

And like I said to Brandy, everyone seems to not be suffering any after affects and for that I am incredibly grateful.
Thanks for reading this,Liz!

Judy Thomas said...

Glad y'all were all okay. Things could have easily been so much worse. Take care of yourself... Hugs.

Michele said...

Thanks, Judy.
And you are so very right, it could have been. I probably will never know how bad the gentleman behind me was hurt, and I feel bad for him.

Thanks for the hugs too.