Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Yes, I had a car accident on my way home from work tonight.  I'm okay, and the car's almost certainly not totaled. A youngish guy turned left in his white pickup truck, across three lanes of traffic.  The lead drivers in the left and middle lanes could see him (one waved him through); but he was invisible to me in the right lane until he was 20 feet away. I couldn't tell that they were stopped for someone, because the traffic there was pretty stop and go anyway, about a block short of the traffic light at Craycroft. My lane was moving, though, and I was moving with it.

Fun fact: there is no way to go from 30 to 0 in 20 feet, except by crashing into something.  But I tried.  I promise you, I tried. Then I crashed into the white pickup.

Look at my poor, beloved, abused Saturn! Fortunately, the frame seems to be fine.  The bumper, the grill and the hood took all the damage--those, and my knee, somehow.  It's black and blue, and I'll be sore tomorrow.  The paramedics offered to take me to the hospital, but heck, I hurt my knee worse than this in the bathroom on Christmas Eve.  I didn't go to the hospital then, either.

The piece on the ground is one of my headlights.  Luckily, it fell off in the Mexican restaurant parking lot / driveway, not in the right lane of 22nd St.  I found it lying behind my back bumper when I got out of the car.

John was upset, of course, but he handled the news reasonably well.  He called me back to suggest that I take these pictures.  "You may as well blog about it," he said.

A very nice inspector with the Tucson Fire Department saw the whole thing.  He called it in, talked to the paramedics, stayed with me until the motorcycle cop arrived and told him what happened.  I was cited for not having my current insurance card with me and not wearing a seat belt.  The other driver was cited for making an unsafe left turn and not having his driver's license with him.

As you can (sort of) see below, the truck didn't sustain much damage.  The cop explained to the truck's driver that even if someone waves him in, it doesn't absolve him from  responsibility to yield to all three lanes of oncoming traffic, and to make sure it's safe to proceed. I think the guy tried to tell the officer that I was speeding, but the cop knew that wasn't true, not just because of the fire department guy's description, but because of the pattern of skid marks in the street, and the amount of damage sustained.  "If she had been speeding," the cop told the truck's driver, "You'd both be in the hospital now."  He also said that he personally had written up "ten or eleven" accidents at that very spot on 22nd St. over the years. 

It's not that I never speed, but I could not have done 40 (the speed limit) in the heavy 6 PM traffic.  I estimated that I was going thirty at the moment I saw the truck.  The cop thought I probably wasn't even going that fast.

The driver's boss or dad or something, who wore what looked like a mechanic's uniform from a local brake company, came by to bring the other driver his insurance and driver's license, or possibly one but not the other. Once he saw my car, this older guy very nicely offered to bungee my bumper to the Saturn's engine block.  I accepted, gratefully. He also told the younger guy that he'd had a truck totaled years ago when someone did to him what the driver did to me tonight. 

The same thing happened to me once before, too, twenty years ago in Columbus.  I was driving an 80cc Honda scooter at the time.  The bike was totaled, and I needed stitches in my heel.

I'll have to take the morning off to have Allstate look at the car, drive it to Big Sky Collision, and get either a loaner or a rental.  John's car, a 1984 New Yorker that used to belong to Mom, is getting to be unsafe to drive (flooring it either does nothing or puts in in neutral), but working on that will have to wait.

My taking the morning off will be a hardship for Mal and David at work.  We're short-handed already, because Eleanor's dad, who lived with her, died last night.  I was going to write about that here, all the reflections that come from watching someone else go through a death of a parent; but I haven't the heart for it tonight.


P.S.  I've going to postpone the back yard wildlife pictures until tomorrow night. I'm sure you all understand.


floralilia said...

ooh...sorry to hear about your fenderbender....glad you're okay...

jeanno43 said...

Oh dear!  The main thing is that you are o.k.  Take care of that knee.

ondinemonet said...


First, I am so glad to hear you are ok. :) Whew! Still, I will be thinking of you. Second, we have something in common...I also own a Saturn. Her name is Angelica and she is a 99 SL1 Blk/Wt. It is so strange, I have been thinking about you all day, and I actually took a photo of my car while on a photo shoot this evening at Land's End. Weird. Or maybe we are good friends, and I knew something was up. :) Be well hon, one of the nicest things about owning a Saturn is their safety record. :)

Always, Carly :)

ryanagi said...

I'm glad to hear that you're ok! But pay attention to that knee, see a doctor if it still hurts in a few days. I bashed mine HARD on the Buzz Lightyear ride at Disney and it STILL hurts. I'm starting to wonder if I chipped the bone or something. Hope you get your car back FAST!

jabarett said...

I'm glad you're okay. That could have been so much worse.

Do get that knee looked at. Chronic knee pain ain't fun.

plittle said...

I had a similar accident years ago. A man was trying to pull out of a parking lot, and make a left turn across two lanes of traffic. A city bus had stopped and the driver had waved him out. He assumed the driver was telling him it was safe to come right out, and he suddenly appeared directly in front of me as I was passing the bus. I had no idea he was there, and traffic in my lane was not stopped. I was doing 50. I remember that I slammed on the brakes, and it seemed like it took about twenty minutes to plow into his car. It was probably about three quarters of a second. My car was written off. Luckily, no one was hurt there either. Of course, I was wearing my seatbelt. So there!

deabvt said...

I`m so sorry, Karen. At least he has insurance!