One afternoon I was driving west on Cox Creek Parkway and was stopped by the light at Helton Drive. Soon the light turned green, and the cars ahead of me started to move. I let my foot off the brake, then suddenly, BAM! I was rear-ended hard. So hard, in fact, I was driven forward enough to read-end the car in front of me. It was a three car pileup, if you will. I was jolted about enough to be disoriented for a few minutes. You might say I was sent for a ride on the Disorient Express.
Before I had totally come to myself there was a knock at my window. I rolled the window down. Some guy was there asking me if I was okay. I said I thought I was. When he apologized, I just assumed he was the guy who had hit me. But then he went on to say, “I was following my handicapped friend and he lost control of his vehicle.” I acknowledged his statement, but I was still not comprehending everything very well. The guy left. I looked back and saw a customized van behind me with a strange looking man sitting in the driver’s seat with his eyes wide. The man who had checked on me went to a car behind the van. Given the friend’s comments, I just assumed that the man driving the van did not get out because he was handicapped in some way.
When I came to myself, I looked at myself and said, “Why don’t you call the police?”
I responded to myself, “Good idea!”
However, that was easier said than done as I could not find my cell phone. After a bit of looking I found it on the floor bed near the pedals. It had apparently been slung down there when my car was double whammied rear and front. I grabbed it up and dialed 911, although technically I didn’t dial, I pushed some buttons. Ah, those outmoded terms!
As I was talking to the responder, I looked up and saw my wife, Kathy, passing me in her vehicle. When she saw me, she made her way to the side of the road so she could come over to check on me. I had intended to go back and check on the handicapped driver who hit me, but by the time I finished with the phone call, Kathy was there checking on me. When she saw I was okay, she went back to check on the man in the van. She said he seemed scared, but was otherwise okay. Soon afterwards a man and a woman from the car in front of me came back to talk to Kathy and me.
By this time I was able to get out and stand. I found out that the couple from the car I had rear-ended in front of me were from Tennessee and had just gotten married and were in Florence as part of their honeymoon. The couple appeared to be in their late 30’s or early 40’s. The lady kept going on and on about all the troubles she had seen in her life. Have you ever noticed how some people seem to enjoy talking about the lack of joy in their lives? This was one of those people. Maybe if she had talked about the times she had talked to others about her lack of joy that would have cheered her up. Oh, well. As we continued to talk, I looked back and realized that the customized van that had hit me was no longer behind me. I looked around and saw that he had pulled off to the side of the road. For an accident of this magnitude I knew he shouldn’t have done that, but I guessed it would be okay.
The couple, my wife, and I continued to talk. We found out they had State Farm insurance, which was good since that was what I had. That would make it easier when sorting out the repair costs. A little later I looked over and realized that the van was now totally gone. That wascally wabbit had snuck off right under our noses and was nowhere to be found. What should have been a simple rear-ending had now turned into a hit-and-run.
Soon afterwards the police arrived. I explained exactly what had happened and described the van as best I could while Kathy described the driver. Since the van was customized, I thought that would make it easier for the police to find, but I was actually informed that without the tag number it would be difficult to locate. Basically, it would take too much manpower to search out the van given the lack of human suffering that had resulted from the accident.
Well, anyway, the police officer completed taking our reports, the couple and I exchanged information, and we went on our not-so-merry way. The front of my car was not damaged too badly, but the rear end was crunched up a lot. But it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t drive it. I took it over to the dealership where I had bought it so they could determine the cost of repairs.
I would dearly love to tell you that the customized van and its driver was caught and brought to justice. Actually, I could tell you that, but I’d be lying. The good news, however, is that our insurance covered everything and all remained well in the hood. Or should I say under the hood. Well, actually, more so in the trunk. State Farm took care of the couple’s car also. But neither I nor my car could foresee what was going to happen just two weeks after the repairs were complete. Tune in to my next post to find out.