For some reason I end up being at the wrong place at the right time to end up as a witness to a variety of events. Last Sunday was a crazy night where I ended up witnessing a traffic accident. Because I want to have a record of what I saw, thus I can data dump the majority of the events and fill my head with important information like the exact time the attacks on Pearl Harbor started.
My mother in law and I were headed back from Panda Express and I was in the process of taking her home. We were headed south bound on a main thoroughfare and were watching intently for people driving recklessly. The rain was just pouring and it was at that right temperature where everything kind of turned to a mist.
A sheriff deputy had someone pulled over so I moved to the inside lane, slowed down and prepared to stop for the stale light at the cross street that we were approaching. Once stopped I began my normal scan of our surroundings.
As a reminder, we were facing south and were stopped in the inside lane. No cars were stopped in front of me and I had a clear, unobstructed view of the intersection. There were two vehicles stopped in the east bound turn lane of the cross street waiting for the light to change. From the east and heading west bound there was a four door Honda. For ease I have numbered these cars 1-3 as such:
* Car 1: East bound, 4 door late 1990’s style Honda Civic with 2 younger males in the car.
* Car 2: East bound, 4 door white CRV that seemed to be fairly new and in really nice condition. The driver was a younger girl that appeared to be messing around with her phone.
* Car 3: West bound, 4 door Honda with 4 passengers.
So here is what happened. The east bound vehicles (Cars 1 and 2) were preparing to turn left to head north on the street I was parked on. Their light turned to a flashing yellow arrow and they went ahead and started turning.
Car 3 was headed west bound on the cross street and had a green light. This car had the right of way and had not reached the intersection before it had turned green for them. To rephrase: this car was travelling in a straight line, the light that they were approaching turned green before they reached the intersection, and they had the right of way.
Cars 1 and 2 ignored this oncoming vehicle and Car 1 accelerated to beat Car 3 to the intersection. Again, Car 3 had the right of way and was travelling straight through the intersection. Car 1 slipped by Car 3 by just a slight margin and Car 2 was slowly rolling into the intersection as if they were preparing to turn, but yielding to the oncoming Car 3.
This was not the case for Car 2 turned into the path of Car 3 and thus caused a head on collision where the cars hit almost driver’s side headlight to driver’s side headlight.
The instant I saw the collision I looked to verify the signals since I was witness to the accident. The driver of Car 2 appeared to have been doing something with her cell phone at the time of the collision. When I saw Cars 1 and 2 pull into the intersection I quickly looked at the drivers to see if and what they might be paying attention to. The driver of Car 2 had what appeared to have an object near her head that was lighting up her face.
I also was able to physically watch the air bag in Car 2 deploy into the face of the young girl. I did not see the air bags deploy in Car 3 because my attention had been drawn to the driver of Car 2 when I noticed that she seemed to be operating a cell phone while driving.
Once the cars settled and the light turned green for me I pulled through the intersection, parked and went back to check on the passengers. The driver of Car 2 was getting out of her vehicle crying with a cell phone next to her head in an attempt to talk to someone. The occupants of Car 3 had just exited the vehicle and there was a female adult that was checking the welfare of the younger occupants. When I asked how everyone was the female adult said, “My 9 year old’s stomach hurts.” The sheriff deputy has just pulled up from the traffic stop he had made and took control of the accident scene. He asked me to go sit in my vehicle until he had a chance to come take my statement regarding the accident.
Once I gave my statement I proceeded with taking my mother in law back to her apartment. When I got home I mentioned to my neighbor that I had witnessed the accident and told the story of what had transpired.
Now let’s fast forward a day to Monday night. While watching a DVR’ed episode of Blue Bloods I received a call from a guy I know that lives in my neighborhood. Come to find out, the occupants of Car 3 were actually his wife and children. Due to the nasty weather, darkness and no real point of reference I had not recognized them when I stopped to check if everyone was okay. Interestingly enough he said that the sheriff was less than cordial to his wife during the “investigation” even though I had already given my statement, he repeated and confirmed understanding that the drivers of both Cars 1 and 2 had not yielded right of way to the oncoming vehicle. He also asked me to explain why I thought the driver of Car 2 had been on a cell phone.
I guess things do happen for a reason. My neighbor is a hard working, roofer and his wife works while trying to complete her degree. They have several kids and truly live paycheck to paycheck. The total loss of this vehicle and any possible loss of work really will hurt them particularly right before the holidays. If my witnessing this accident helps this family through the insurance headache to come, I will be happy.
The fact that the carelessness of this over privileged (kid was driving a very new Rav4), young driver can possibly make this a very lean Christmas for these young children really upsets me a bit. My fingers are crossed that insurance will fix everything in a timely manner and get this hard working family back on their feet before their Christmas is as totalled as their Honda.