I’m wondering if there is a new law out there that says it’s okay to cause an accident as long as you don’t stick around to acknowledge the fact. Every day I check the local news, on the internet or in the paper, and lately disproportionate numbers of headlines seem to include “hit-and-run” or “driver flees” as the main topic. In the last week, several drivers have smashed cars, killed pedestrians, downed power poles (including a resulting fatal fire) and calmly–or maybe not so calmly–taken themselves out of the picture.
I’m happy to say that most of these have been caught by one means or another. You never know when someone with a camera/phone is handy and ready to shoot a picture of your license plate. Occasionally, though, a guilty motorist leaves his vehicle on the scene. I’m always amazed when the headline (or the news anchor) says, “The driver fled on foot.”
That’s actually what happened around here a couple of months ago. About 10:30 on a Friday night, a driver whacked a power pole, jumped the curb and ran over a manicured lawn (causing the demise of several shrubs) and finally tracked back into the street to hit a parked truck. At that point, all the neighbors popped out of their houses to investigate, only to find that the miscreant had disappeared. He was no doubt aided by the fact that the downed power pole caused all the lights to go out over a several mile wide swath. Within a few minutes we had over a hundred people milling about outside. The police were there, of course, cordoning off the area. Several fire trucks showed up, and the hazmat team, along with the cable company, Southern California Edison and a whole lot of interested bystanders. We even got helicopters.
We never found out if they caught the guy. Was the car stolen and he didn’t give a damn (this was my opinion) or was he too drunk or doped to realize that his car would be traced? I’d like to get my hands on him because, with the possible exception of the truck he demolished, we got the worse of the incident, or at least our insurance company did.
We don’t really live near the actual accident. Safe, right? Wrong!
When the power pole he hit took a tumble, it yanked the wires hard enough to down the one across the street and then snap the next pole (behind my garage) into two pieces. Hot wires flew, and the resulting power surge took out (ready for this?) dishwasher, Keurig, microwave, printer, HVAC, lamps, stereo components, and various and sundry outlets, surge suppressors (!), and wires. An emergency light plugged into the hall outlet blew off the wall, in pieces. The electricity was out for 24 hours, but when it finally was restored after SCE completely replaced the pole and all its attachments, we found that the fridge still worked, as well as the washer and dryer. We were back in business! Except, of course, for the loss inventory, lots and lots of telephone calls, and a whole lot of inconvenience.
The insurance company was great–thank you, AAA–and most of the destroyed appliances and things got replaced quickly.There was only that one morning that I had to make coffee on the charcoal grill…
All in all, we got by rather well. At least our house didn’t catch on fire from the hot wire, as allegedly happened in the San Bernardino area the other day. Tragically, someone died in that fire. In my opinion, the driver who caused the chaos should be held accountable for the death as well as the property damage. I might temper my feelings if he’d had the good grace to stick around.
I’ll see you again, after the commercial.
By the way,when you get a chance check out my other blog. I call it “Stories Without End” because it’s blurbs I’ve written to prompts, most of which will never get finished. Some of them are kind of fun, though. It’s a work in progress…