Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I'll be your witness

I'll be your witness 2/7/2006
Yesterday I was driving home from the "snag Skip an early dinner/ pick up carpool kids/drive boys to Ragazzi/meet Ken/switch kids/pick up extra theory homework/snag some groceries/talk about dinner on the fly" errand, with Kelly in the back seat.

We were driving behind Ken, as we'd stopped all together at the big Safeway, to choose supper fixin's, and Ken had taken the groceries (and Nate).

We were about two miles from home. Driving up the hill on the major road before our subdivision. It's a 4-lane road, pretty busy. There's a few crosswalks in the middle of it. Ill-placed crosswalks, but otherwise, there'd be no way to get to the grocery store, so I guess you stick a crosswalk where you can, and hope for the best.

Ken was about 4 cars ahead of us, and as I came up the hill, I noticed a man walking a dog on the far side of the road. He was waiting at the edge of the crosswalk, and, um, I think it's the law to stop for pedestrians, so I slowed down, and stopped about a half carlength from the crosswalk. There was no traffic coming down the hill, so the man started walking across. I was in the fast lane, so he walked to the median, and then watched through my windows until a car beside me in the slow lane stopped. I counted, and there were 4 cars that just blew through the crosswalk before a woman in a pale blue compact car stopped beside me.

If I had to guess, I'd say she was maybe not going to stop, but thought better of it at the last minute. She was nearly in the crosswalk, but far enough back that the pedestrian could go around her. He waved to us, and walked in front of me.

JUST as he was getting out of the protection of my front bumper, I heard an incredibly loud screech.


And before our eyes, the little blue car jerked forward suddenly. All the way through the crosswalk. All the way through the intersection. UPHILL.

The guy that hit her had to be going 30 when he hit her. The entire back end of her car crumpled right up.

And they came within about three inches of hitting the man and his dog.

We were all startled, and the dog was cowering. Traffic was piling up behind us, and Kelly started to cry, thinking that the dog had been hurt. I saw someone pull out a phone, so I kept going up the hill, called Ken on the cell, and told him I'd be dropping Kelly off, and going back to see if they needed witnesses.

Five minutes later, I was driving back to the scene. Now there were 2 police cars, and a fire truck, and a backlog of cars, all trying to squeeze past in the one open lane. I drove down the hill past the accident, and pulled into the grocery store parking lot. It was about a 2 block walk uphill to the scene.

When I got to the scene, the pedestrian was just giving his report to the police officer. Paramedics were examining the woman in the little blue car. She was out of the car, which was good to see, but she looked really badly shaken. The policeman waved me past, thinking I was a pedestrian, just walking up the hill, so I cleared my throat.

"I was in the fast lane." I began.

"Oh! Are you the White Pilot?" he asked. He looked surprised. The pedestrian looked at me, and smiled. "Yes! You were the one who stopped."

The officer turned a page in his book. "It's so unusual for people to come foward, or to come back to accidents. Usually, they're just in a hurry to get somewhere."

I preened a little bit on the inside.

So we talked to the police, and I petted the dog, who was still looking a little spooked. And it looks like all will be well. Everyone stuck around, and the woman should be fine, and on the second Tuesday of the month, we may be going to City Council meeting, and petitioning for in-ground Pavement Flashers for that crosswalk.

Apparently, it's not the first time someone's been hit there.

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