Monday, February 13, 2012

Good Lessons

This weekend was full of mild adventure and goings-on. The most interesting event by far was the car wreck I witnessed. My, “Do-Gooder”, persona was revealed and I felt pretty good about it.

It was very early in the morning on Saturday, perhaps around 5:15 in the morning. I was driving a friend home after spending a nice evening together discussing the various things we knew about YouTube.

As I said, I was driving a friend home and we were stuck behind a seriously swerving and unsteady driver headed east on Irving Park. The driver of the other vehicle may have fallen asleep behind the wheel at one red light and I had to give the horn a brief toot to wake them up. My friend said she thought the other driver was a woman. I said that was good, but we had to get away from her because she was a serious hazard on the road.

I managed to get into the right lane and get away from her swerving. I was glad to be away from her and I could concentrate on getting my friend home. I looked up into my rear view mirror just in time to see the other vehicle hit the concrete median on Irving Park Road and fly up into the air. It crashed down very hard onto all four wheels, thankfully, and came to hard stop in the road.

“She crashed it”, I said to my traveling companion.

I pulled over and said I’d be right back. I hopped out of my vehicle and ran down toward the scene of the accident. There was one girl out of the car with dark hair. She was clearly dazed and I asked her if she was okay. She seemed to be very unsteady. I asked if there was anyone hurt and she said she didn’t know. There was a second girl that appeared from the wrecked car who quickly sat on the freezing cold sidewalk. I looked at her face and she had a nice red knot forming on the center of her forehead.  A third girl emerged and she was clearly in shock, snot running down from her nose and shivering. I did what I could for them and asked the dark hair driver if she had called an ambulance or anything. She said she had not.

I said it was probably best to call an ambulance. She said she couldn’t get a DUI. I said that was the least of her worries right now. She started looking through her purse and said almost comically, “That’s the trouble with these big purses, you can never find anything”.

At that point I called 911. This dark hair girl was clearly not aware of the seriousness of the accident. The little blonde that was sitting on the sidewalk got up and spoke in a different language to the dark hair girl. I thought it sounded Serbian, but I couldn’t be sure. The dark hair girl asked me if I could get the keys out of the ignition since they were stuck.  I tried to pull them out but they were completely jammed into the steering column. When I emerged from the wreck the dark hair driver was nowhere to be seen.

I asked the remaining two where the driver went and neither was able to provide me with an answer. She had just disappeared and I had fallen for her rouse of getting the keys while she ducked out.

Just then the ambulance and fire truck pulled up and I explained what I saw. They started asking where the driver was and I said I didn’t know where she vanished to. The ambulance crew was very aggressive with the two young girls though and I felt bad for them. They were just the passengers and were now left with a pretty huge mess.

I walked back with my friend to my car and we drove off. I had a little adrenaline pumping through me now and was quite wide eyed. I couldn’t believe I saw that car careen through the air over the median and crash to the ground. The front end was demolished and every air bag inside the car had deployed. I marveled at the fact that all three girls in the car had survived such a violent and hard impact. I had to give it up to the safety measures in the car. But it was totaled.

It’s those kinds of moments, and I’ve had several, which make me feel better about the person I’ve become. I could have just kept driving or called to report the accident from a distance, but it was my first instinct to stop and go help. I thank my mother for that; for teaching me to do the right thing no matter what.  

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