Buckle Your Seatbelt And Button Your Lip

, , , , , | Friendly | December 29, 2020

A friend of mine needs a ride to her hometown to pick up some papers from the county courthouse she needs for her ongoing divorce. I take her up there and we get the papers. She wants to leave them at her parents’ house a few blocks from the courthouse for safe-keeping. This is a small town with narrow streets, and halfway there, I come to a two-way stop sign where I encounter a problem.

The house on the corner to my immediate left is some kind of business, and they have a HUGE advertisement sign in the yard on the corner so it can be seen by anyone on that section of road. But it creates the BIGGEST blind spot I’ve personally ever encountered. I cannot see oncoming traffic from my left at ALL. I try to lean forward, but it’s no good. My friend leans as far forward as she can.

Friend: “I can’t see anything. I think it’s fine; you should be able to go.”

The very next thing I remember is white smoke and the smell of oil smoke. I’m finding it a little hard to breathe as something is tight across my chest, and my friend is shaking me and shouting my name. I’m suddenly facing the way I came from and my head is throbbing.

It turns out that when I tried to go, an SUV slammed into my driver’s side door with enough force to turn my heavy car a complete 180, damaging the frame beyond repair. I can see kids on the corner on their phones, probably calling 911. The woman driving the SUV is beside herself with worry for me and her children who are shaken up, and is apologizing profusely.

The police arrive quickly and I’m given some kind of paperwork to fill out. My friend has to point things out and explain them to me because I’m so loopy from the wreck that I’m having a hard time reading and writing. I’ve not left the vehicle yet.

The only clear thing in my head is the story of a horrible wreck my mother was in when I was a child, and her telling me about how she’d been in shock and was able to walk up a steep incline with EMT while both of her legs were broken. I can understand that I’m in shock, so I decide to use it productively and fill out the paperwork while I’m still somewhat lucid.

Then, the tow truck driver arrives on the scene and begins to slam his hand on my window, frantically.

Driver: “MISS! MISS! Oh, my God, you’re okay! Can you move?! Do you need me to cut you out?!”

I hold up the paperwork.

Me: “I need to fill this out.”

Yeah, that is my biggest concern right now. I’m removed from the car, very dizzy, and my friend asks for us to be taken back to the courthouse because her mother is the county clerk. I exchange numbers and information with the lady who hit me and tell her to let me know if her kids are okay later. I call for my mother to come to get me once we get there to take me to the doctor.

They tell me I have a bad concussion and some internal injuries. I’m sent home after being patched up and am told to have someone keep an eye on me for a couple of days. As I’m being driven back to my house, I get a text message.

Driver: “Hey, is this [My Name]?”

Me: “Yeah. You must be [Driver]. Are your kids okay?”

Driver: “Yes. We just left the hospital, and we’re all okay. Are you okay?”

Me: “I have a concussion and a lot of bruising. I should be good later.”

Driver: “That’s good. I’m so sorry for what happened.”

And that is the end of it, I think, beyond maybe some insurance agent. The next morning, I’m woken up by my phone ringing, and it’s [Driver]’s number.

Me: “[Driver]? Hello?”

Man: “Is this the b**** that hit my girlfriend’s SUV?!”

Me: “What? Who are you?”

Man: “My kids are in ICU because of you, you b****! I’m going to f****** sue you for everything you’ve got!”

My concussion has completely stripped me of my verbal filter, so I just don’t have the capacity to try to diffuse the situation or calm him down.

Me: “Dude, I don’t know who the f*** you are, but I have text messages from [Driver] that I have screenshots of where she told me last night that she left the doctor with the kids, and that they were all okay.”

He hung up on me. When I finally got a copy of the report, [Driver] was faulted for the wreck. She admitted she had been breaking the speed limit, she’d had her eyes off the road to turn and yell at her kids for not sitting down, and none of her three children — all under seven — were in car seats or buckled up. 

And that business was forced to take their f****** sign down for good.

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