Sunday, September 27, 2009


It was Friday afternoon, and I stopped to run a few errands on the way home from work. I sat in the idling jeep at a traffic light, listening to “All Things Considered” on NPR. The sun shone brightly as it prepared to set in the west, directly in front of me.

Then my car lurched forward, and a loud crunching noise filled my ears. It took a moment to realize what had happened. I’d been hit from behind. I firmly braced my foot on the brake pedal to avoid hitting the car in front of me, but the force was too great and I nudged the car in front of me as well.

I glanced into the rearview mirror and saw a sedan with a demolished windshield and two spent air bags. “What the hell??” I howled as I shifted into park and turned off the ignition.

“Are you OK?” the teenager from the car behind me stammered as he raced toward me. “OhmyGodI’msosorryareyouOK?” he fumbled.

“First of all,” I began, “Let’s get you out of the street. We’re OK, let’s not make it worse.” He looked down and realized he’d been standing in the middle of the road.

“Oh yeah, good idea,” he muttered. “OhmyGod! I have to call my mom!” he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket.

“No, you need to call the police, and then call your mom,” I instructed.

“Oh yeah! Good idea!” He dialed the phone and tried to explain where we were. “I don’t know what street I’m on…”

“We’re on Cowesett Road, at the intersection with route 2. We’re near the Stop and Shop plaza,” I calmly instructed. Then I saw that the interior of his car was smoking. It looked like the passenger side air bag was smoldering. I feared it was a lit cigarette, forgotten in the excitement.

“Um, dude? Your car’s on fire. You really need to go put that out, OK?”

“Aaah!” he scrambled into the car. He fidgeted with the air bag with one hand while holding the cell phone with the other.

“I need your proof of insurance,” commanded the little old lady from the car in front. I don’t recall hitting her at all, really. She insists that her car is scratched from where mine hit her. I inwardly rolled my eyes.

The police came, followed by an ambulance and a fire truck—apparently the dispatcher at the Warwick PD overheard me say “Dude, your car is on fire.”

The teenager then groaned into the phone, “Mom, then can you send someone to pick me up? I’ve just been in a car accident. I need help!”

We moved the cars into a nearby parking lot, to get out of traffic, where we filled in our police reports.

“Can I have my license and registration back?” the old lady asked the policeman.

“Ma’am, you can have them back when I am finished with them. How’s that?”

The teenager’s mom pulled into the parking lot, “I have to work tonight, and I’m not even dressed yet!” she growled at her son.

“Mom, can’t you call work and tell them that your son’s been in a car accident? I’m sure they’ll understand.”

Pretend Me asked the mom, “What the hell is wrong with you? You haven’t even asked him if he’s OK, you stupid cow!” Real Me shut the hell up and sat in her car.

I filled in my police report as the teenager asked “OK, now what did the cop say to write about what happened?”

“Dude, you were there! You know what happened,” I joked. He laughed. He was too nervous to write his report and he paced in the parking lot trying to collect his thoughts. “Crap! I’m gonna get a huge ticket!”

“Well, that’s what happens when you hit someone with your car,” the mom chimed in, supportively.

We stood around while the cop did his thing with the police reports, then said “OK, I am not going to cite you. I believe that the sun blinded you.” The mom took off, obviously freaked out about getting to work on time. Seemingly unconcerned, she left him with a car that had more crack than windshield.

I walked back to our cars with the teenager, “You got lucky, punk” I joked.



Anonymous Taoist Biker said...

That was a NICE cop.

September 28, 2009 at 7:42 AM  
Blogger BJ Knapp said...

I know, right, TB? I mean, he was going fast enough to deploy his air bags and hit not 1 but 2 cars.

I remember Warwick PD giving me a ticket for going 35 in a 25, and they didn't ticket this joker??

September 28, 2009 at 8:13 AM  

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