On the way to the bank in Hudson not too many years back I saw an accident. I was in the left lane, as the right lane was a turn only one block later. I stopped for the red light at the highway and the freeway exit. I was four or five cars back. A motorcycle policeman was stopped for the red light at the end of the expressway.
My eastbound light turned green and at the same time the policeman was lights and sirens; a westbound car sped through the red light I had stopped for. In my lane brake lights went off, then on again as the policeman started into the intersection. Suddenly there was the screech of brakes from a high speed, a Jeep in the curb lane failed to stop, hit the policeman.
The officer and the bike went down in slow motion. An old biker myself, I knew the strength holding that bike as long as possible. Unbelievably, the policeman rose, began walking toward the Jeep and talking into his shoulder radio simultaneously.
There were enough able bodied adults around, I decided, they did not need a grandmother with a cane on the road too, so I followed my line of traffic on into Hudson and went to the bank. But when I got home I did call the police to say I’d seen the accident. Of the ten to fifteen drivers who saw it, except for the driver of the Jeep, I was the only witness who came forward.
I was interviewed by the State Highway Patrol, which investigates accidents between police and civilians. The questions were excellent; well presented. I believe everything I saw and answered was in the officer’s favor, except my statement about the officer stopping before he entered the intersection. I had no difficulty answering that one; I saw him pause long enough to be sure those of us in line did not start up. I could not swear his feet were on the ground, but to me it made no difference. I saw him pause and assess, and I was mighty fine myself at balancing my bike at a light, back in the day.
I asked an officer friend the outcome some time later, and learned both the officer and the Jeep driver were cited, the officer for not stopping in the intersection! Completely unfair in my estimation, but I don’t make the rules.
I assumed it was the end of the story, until several months later an insurance company called me, and began reviewing the transcript of my interview with the State Highway Patrol. It was the officer’s insurance company; the Jeep driver was suing him for pulling out in front, causing great bodily injury and damage to his Jeep.
Another business like interview, I was unable to interject any personal opinion. The insurance attorney was quickly wrapping it up, thanking me for confirming what I had seen.
“Wait, wait!” I finally was able to say. “You haven’t asked what I heard!” I explained in conjunction with watching the officer I had heard a car accelerating rapidly, behind me. Twenty odd years experience on this road, I knew the unseen driver turned the corner onto the road, saw the line of traffic stopped at the light and floored it, intent on reaching the head of the line and moving into the through lane in the two block run before the right lane ran out. The next thing I heard after the revving engine was the screech of brakes from high speed, and then I saw the crash as the Jeep moved into my line of vision, one block before its lane ended.
I've never asked how this ended, because I just don’t want to know. There probably was a settlement, the insurance company probably paid out, the officer probably wakes up stiff and sore from his injuries and the lying piece of entitlement driving the Jeep probably is not rotting in prison.