Thou Shalt Not Hit & Run

I picked up supper after work tonight.  While I was stopped at a stoplight I called Jason to let him know I was headed home.  I'm telling him about my day when I realize that the little blue Chevy Sonic in front of me--the one with the temporary tags--is rolling backwards toward me. 

I do a quick beep-beep of my horn to get the driver's attention.

And a moment later, another beep-beep as he continues to roll backwards.

And a third beep-beep as I tell Jason that the car in front of me is rolling backwards toward me.  I check my mirrors to see if I have room to back up, but there's not time and the car behind me is too close and the car in front of me is within 24" of contact, so I pushed the horn steadily trying to get the driver's attention.

Regardless, he rolls into the front of my car.  I tell Jason what happened and hang up with him so I can pull over and check things out.

The guy driving the red Chevy Truck in the lane next to us looks back at me and gestures like "What the heck?"

I motion to him asking if my car is okay and he leans out looking at my front bumper and shrugs his shoulders telling me that he can't tell.

Meanwhile, the light turns green and the Sonic moves over into the right lane as if he's going to pull into the parking lot of the gas station.

Except he keeps going.  So I assume he's trying to get to a bigger parking lot, such as the hospital parking lot just a short distance ahead.  Except at this point he starts rapidly accelerating away from me.

Fortunately one of us was intelligent enough to realize he wasn't going to get too far in 5:00 traffic, so I picked up the phone, dialed 911 and continued on behind him.

I was on the phone with the 911 operator when he passed a car in the turn lane while trying to get away from me.

The dispatcher told me that I'd need to pull over somewhere to give a statement and I told her that he was turning into the Arby's, so I'd park there--whether the guy stopped or not.

He did stop when he saw I was going to continue to follow him, though.

And he got out yelling at me saying that I ran into him and that I was on the phone and I wasn't paying any attention and I rear-ended him.  I tried being calm and explained to him that I saw him rolling backwards so I honked my horn at him several times, trying to get his attention.  I also followed him trying to get him to pull over to check for damage but he left the scene of the accident.

Mr. Aggressive became Mr. Hostile in telling me that he just left the dealership in his brand new car and I rear-ended him and it was my fault because I was on my cell phone.  I told him that I wanted a report made for information sake and he said that I could make a report but he wasn't sticking around so I nonchalantly took a picture of his car and temporary tags and then took a picture of him.

(I know...not smart given that he was already hostile...)

Anyway, so he continues yelling at me and still blaming me--coming back repeatedly to the fact that I was on my cell phone.  "That's against the law."

Me:  "No sir.  Texting while driving is against the law, talking on the phone is not.  However, leaving the scene of an accident and passing in a no-passing zone are both against the law."

Him:  "What are you, a cop?"

Me:  "Actually, I worked with Law Enforcement for 7 years." 

Can we say game-changer?

He'd wait on the police, but he was going to wait inside. 

Me:  "Oh look!  They're here."  (insert fake sorority girl smiley face)

He didn't even let the officer get off his bike before he was racing up to him.  I stood back.  I know what it's like to work with stupid people, I wasn't going to be that person when he was doing a fine job himself.

The officer ignored him and came to me.

Officer:  "Is everyone okay?"

Me:  "Yes, sir.  And there doesn't seem to be any damage but I wanted an officer here for a report."

Officer:  "Okay (he takes out his tape recorder and turns it on) what's going on?"

This is where Mr. Hostile tries to jump in.  The officer quiets him and says he'll get to him in a moment, he's going to let the lady talk first.

So I explained that we'd had a very minor accident and there wasn't any apparent damage but we seemed to be in a disagreement in what happened.  

He asked me to continue so I explained the whole story of what happened (we had to stop several times for Mr. (at this point) Belligerent.  The officer stopped him, again, and explained that I couldn't get a word in because of him and he would get a chance to give his statement.

Back to me, I explained to him what happened after the contact between the vehicles and the officer then turned to get the now Mr. Trying-to-be-Reasonable's statement.  My what a different story he was suddenly telling!

He just bought the car and it was a manual and he supposes that it might have been possible that he rolled into my car, but he knew that it wasn't hard enough for there to be damage so he didn't pull over and he thought that I had rear-ended him.

The officer pointed out that he'd just left the car lot in a new car...surely he'd want to make sure there was no damage.

I sat quietly while he gave his statement and answered all the questions that I was hoping the officer would ask.  The officer told him that he completely understood why I was upset.  I interjected, politely, that I wasn't at all upset about the accident but his leaving the scene and his driving afterward concerned me (and then I turned to the man) but what upset me was how he got out of his car yelling at me, being aggressive and trying to bully me about it.

And then Mr. Begging-for-Forgiveness appeared.  He was sorry, would I forgive him, did I want his insurance information, did I want his license, he even offered to mow my yard to make it up to me.

Long story short, the officer had a talk with him about what constituted an accident, what the follow-up procedure was for an accident, and what those yellow lines on the road meant.  I was given his insurance and driver information (not that I think I need it, I just have this principle of not wanting someone to think they got away with doing something wrong).

And because you know me and you know I can't pass up an opportunity, I had a little talk with the man about attitudes and how none of this needed to be unpleasant or aggressive, a good attitude would have gone a long way in settling the whole thing more quickly and with less fuss.

So that's my drive home tonight.

But on the good side, I got to meet a really nice officer that stood up for me when the guy wouldn't let me talk (major cool points there) and I found out that he and his wife are foster parents, too, and adopted their first child last year.  Even more cool points there.  Very awesome to meet someone willing to give his time, his home, his family and--if the job required it--his life for others.

Never a dull moment, I tell ya!

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