I had a bit of an accident this evening, and despite the relatively mild consequences, I can’t slow my brain down enough to stay in bed yet.
I left work five minutes early to get a jump on the evening. I’m usually in at least ten minutes early, but try to not be visible cutting out before the whistle blows. Only I had things to do tonight, and while I wasn’t looking forward to the evening, I figured I needed to make some time to grab a bite first. I got to the intersection at 21st South and 13th East fairly quickly. Traffic wasn’t too bad and the snow was just dusting down. I pulled into the intersection to turn West onto 21st South and waited for the inevitable turning of the light to red to finally allow me to proceed. Traffic, you know. The light went yellow and I took my foot off the brake pedal. I watched the oncoming car slow and stop and I hit the gas to get through the light that had turned red, only out from the occultation of the car I watched come to a halt shot a little silver meteor of a car. In a brief second I thought, “I hope they’re not planning on turning into my lane”, thinking that it was going to turn right onto the two lane street I was aiming for. Only it didn’t turn at all, but plowed directly into the front passenger side wheel, grinding clear across the grill of my truck and ending up coming to rest lamely in front of me. It was one of those slow moment things where I had time to think of so many things.
“Where did she come from?”
“What did she think she was doing?”
“Why didn’t I stop at Taco Bell?”
I sat there for a minute trying to remember where I had my last save point. I got out only to discover that there was a car rammed into the back of my pickup.
The girl in the car that hit me from behind was pretty shaken, as was the one that came through the red light. The red-light-runner had a baby in the car. My heart sank. I got out my phone but my hands were shaking so bad I had a lot of trouble dialing the police. An unmarked police SUV pulled into the intersection and an off duty officer from Park City got out to check on everyone and said he’d called the Salt Lake Dispatch. After talking for a minute to the driver behind I walked around to the front. A guy who had been waiting to cross the street was making sure everyone was ok. He came and gave me his phone number, saying he wasn’t watching the lights, he was just focused on the crosswalk fixing to change, but would tell what he could. I picked up the large chunk of my front bumper that had my license plate still attached from the ground and tossed it in the bed of my truck. Another woman gave me her name and phone number. I paced back and forth in the snow a bit, painfully aware that we were impeding traffic across almost every lane.
I was glad nobody was hurt. I was amazed that no airbags had deployed. But my heart began to sink, because I’m a pessimist. I figured that it was probably going to work out that I was going to get the ticket for failing to yield. Ironically I had priced out new and used trucks earlier in the day and came to the conclusion that I couldn’t afford one, although I wasn’t sure if my ol’ beast would make it through the winter. Coincidentally, I had found the night before when clearing my desk, that I hadn’t put my new insurance card in my truck and had taken it out before I went to bed. Debbie had said I could just wait until morning, but I thought I would forget.
Time dragged on. Cars fought for position, attempting to merge or turn around the wreck against traffic to get on their way, beeping at each other, or maybe us. The temperature dropped. A fire engine showed up and purposefully blocked the intersection allowing fewer yahoo’s to skirt by on the wrong side of the wrecks. I had to sign a primitive digital tablet to the effect that I was ok to keep walking around in the frigid snowy drizzle and not be taken to a hospital. The firemen rode off to their next adventure as the police pulled up. I handed over my info and gave my side of the story. The officer seemed to not buy my (and the third party in the accident’s) story that the light was really red. I gave them the witnesses phone numbers. Another officer had the girl behind pull her car back and into the car wash parking lot. The tow truck drivers began to appear. I grabbed a couple items out of my vehicle. The officer that took my license brought it back and said that the woman who had given me her number was the woman who had stopped at the light. She said as she stopped (while the light was still yellow) the woman who hit me honked at her from behind, wheeled out from behind her and screeched into the intersection as it went red. The officer said he was giving the impatient woman the ticket due to her corroboration.
I was relieved that it wasn’t going to be my fault. And relieved that her and her husband who had shown up and given me several withering looks were not around. The officer dismissed me and I began to walk down the hill. I figured I’d have Debbie come get me, but I’d walk a bit so she didn’t have to get in the snarl of traffic. I dialed her up, and to my surprise she was just across the street from me coming to my rescue.
I’m in one of those places where I know there’s nothing I can do right now. I’m not worried, I have friends and family that are always right there to take care of me. They’re all the best. I’m not sure I let them know that enough, but I try. I’ll work something out with the car. I have to talk to the insurance first and look at the options, but I’m fairly sure the truck is totaled. It’s been in zombie mode for 4 or 5 years anyway. Avenues always seem to open up for me. I just saw the other day that with our last house payment we should be eligible to get the mortgage insurance dropped. That’s at least a third of a car payment there. Funny how my silver linings always seem to be a couple yards short of a first down, but it’s better than nothing.