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Saturday, September 27, 2014

I don’t know how this one ended

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.


  1. Amazing how today instead of slinking under the rock where they belong, people use things like this to profit!

    Insurance companies cave because it is cheaper in the long run and you never know how juries will rule. My experience with jusies is that many jurors are idiots.

    1. I take offense to that, LOL. I sat on a jury, it didn't go to deliberations as the defendant took a plea bargain rather than possibly spend the rest of his life in jail (complicated case of a felony murder charge here in California; he actually didn't commit the murder, but was with the person that did and since it was in an act of a crime, roberry, the law says he could get charged with felony murder). I don't think I'm an idiot :) (Had it gone to the jury and not taken the plea bargain, I would have had to vote guilty based on what I heard in the evidence so far). I have to say though that after that experience of serving as a juror, I consider it a honor to actually be called to jury duty, I know weird. I think a lot of other people avoid it like the plaque, but afterwards when we were released and we got to meet with the attorneys to ask questions and find out about the other defendants and got to hug the mother of the victim who thanked us for serving, I'd do it in a heartbeat again.

      Might be harder in a case like this; I don't think I would get picked for it because I have a very low opinion about insurance companies, even though insurance is a necessary root of evil in our society.


  2. We are an entitled litigious lot here in this country. Makes you wonder which came first, the lawyer or the law suit.

  3. Hari OM
    There are those who will argue blue is black and then turn it gold... YAM xx

  4. As to the lawyers role in this, I don't know. That's a toughie, there are a lot of people out there who'll swear they would not be compensated for wrong things without them, and an equal number on the other end of the issue.

    In 1976 I stopped at an accident in alaska, did cpr for an hour there, and another on a helicopter to Elmendorf AFT. Two years later I got a subpoena to testify about it, and was surprised to find my car insurance rates increased the next year. All because I was involved. No involvement in the accident, but I stopped and helped.
    I've never complained about taxes, I feel it's a duty those who can pay should do. I happily pay school taxes after my kids have move on from school. That's just fine.
    But seemingly telling people stop and help an accident, and we're upping your rates? Seems counter-productive.
    I paid, and later it went back down.

  5. Sigh. I suspect you are right on all counts. And the officer who bounced down the road was lucky it was no worse - which doesn't take away one iota of his pain.

  6. I so hope the driver of the jeep lost the lawsuit, and even that he was counter-sued by the officer, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if your assessment was the way it ended up. Bah!

  7. I'm not at all surprised you came forward as a witness. I am surprised no one else did though.
    You make me proud to know you.
    I used my new tea towel yesterday, I love how soft it feels and how well it dries.

  8. It would be interesting to hear the rest of the story on how it happened. It is interesting you were the only one that called and said you had witnessed what had happened. I bet a lot of other people thought enough people would step up and be a witness that they didn't bother reporting what they saw. Had more stepped up, it would have been interesting what their accounts of the accident would have been.


  9. unbelievable how some things turn out, curious that 'should fish more's' insurance went up after helping at an accident, oh the insurance companies don't call them accidents any more because that implies no fault and someone is always at fault and sure to have their rates increased.

    when we got insurance for out motorhome last year (since sold) we were sent a letter saying we were a higher risk because we had just bought two vehicles recently (cars) , now what other reasons can they think up to increase our rates = we have no accidents or tickets at all, I argued with them but to no avail

  10. It is much the same here Joanne, and then folk wonder why people turn away and don't come forward as witnesses.

  11. Gee, how awful.
    This is why I hate to drive.

  12. I once saw a young girl run through four lanes of traffic in the dark. She bounced off of a slow moving car who of course didn't see her. She was heading for the movies. I told the cops it was the girl's fault. She had no reason to be dodging cars on a major dark road. She was OK. She didn't want her parents called. Months later I showed up as a witness. No one else did. I went back to work.

  13. I understand you would not want to know.

  14. It's a wonder they can get anyone to be a policeman. That was good of you to come forward as a witness.

  15. It's better not to know I think....

  16. Interesting. You're such an observant person. My towels are here. Woo-hoo! I shall photograph them and put them on my blog.


  17. Weaver of Grass is right. I commend you highly for coming forward and I hope your witness made a difference in a good way but often justice is overruled by power and money.

  18. Not everyone would have had your sense of right and wrong. "“Wait, wait!” I finally was able to say. “You haven’t asked what I heard!” What a powerful statement..