Monday, May 26, 2008

Cars really are dangerous things.

I mean, we all know that, but I think many of us take it for granted most of the time. We wear seat belts, we drive the speed limit (cough mostofthetime cough), we don't run lights or stop signs, we look both ways before proceeding. But really, how often do you think of how truly dangerous your vehicle is, to you or to others around you?

I had first hand experience in that thought today:

I hit a girl with my minivan.

Yes, you read that right, I hit someone with my van. Now I don't mean I hit another car and had a "car accident"...that would be too easy for me. I literally HIT a girl crossing the street - her body to my van.

Now before everyone freaks out on me, we're all okay, including the girl (or at least she refused medical attention, at least until her mother, who picked her up from the parking lot we were pulled over in, realizes the pedestrian ALWAYS has the right of way). I had the boys with me, and they're fine too. Bottom line is, girl ran out in front of my van, thinking I had a red light at the intersection - I didn't. I slammed on the breaks, but was not able to stop before hitting her. She got right up and picked up her flip flop off the street, and started walking away. By the time I pulled over and got out, she was halfway down the street, ignoring my yells to her.

Everyone had stopped by then, most being at red lights anyway, and they were yelling to me that "she kept saying she was fine, don't worry about it...she ran right out in front of you!". I had no idea what to do. I'm not sure I was even thinking at that point. I turned to walk back to my van and just started bawling. I was sure I was going to throw up, but it never came. I sat down and dialed Big Boss Man's cell number (he was at work and I'd just seen him about 15 minutes earlier), and through sobs and gulps, told him what happened. While we were talking, a woman walked up to my window. She'd been on the bus that had been behind me when driving, but had stopped at the bus stop up ahead of where I pulled over. She said she'd seen the whole thing, and I should probably call the police just in case. So BBM agreed and said he'd call them, and I should just sit and take a couple deep breaths.

As I waited, a couple police cars pulled up, one in each direction - I think they just happened to be passing by, since this was only about a minute after I got off the phone with BBM. One stopped in front of me and asked if I was okay. I told him (also through gulps and sobs) what happened, and he described a girl and asked if that was her. I said yes (odd, the things you remember as someone's hitting your windshield), and he motioned for the other cop (who was sitting in the turn lane at a red light) to go around and pick her up. By the time, the witness was back too (she'd gone to get ice cream from 31 Flavors), and the girl and the witness told exactly the same story...she'd run out right in front of me as I drove through the intersection.

The cops took names, insurance info, etc...all the good stuff. She had a scratch on her hip, blood on her foot from "a blister completely unrelated to this incident", and no other injuries. There is, however, damage to the van, so he still filed a report. They girl left with her mother and godfather, before getting the report number or anything, and she was laughing with a friend (I guess who'd been across the street? I didn't see where she came from) and talking on her cell phone while the police spoke with me and got my info.

I was instructed by BBM to come home and lay down for awhile, which I did. Except I first called the police station to give them my insurance policy number (couldn't find my card in the van), and then insurance to let them know what happened. I'm still shaken, and my stomach is churning. But I don't think any serious damage was done. I will call my OB tomorrow morning and let him know what happened, just in case he needs to do anything. However, if anything changes tonight, I will just go in to the ER. But I figure if it doesn't warrant an ER trip, then I'm okay until tomorrow morning. Here's hoping the scene doesn't keep replaying in my head for too long...I've seen it over and over since I left the accident.

So, the moral of the story is please, PLEASE realize on a daily basis that cars are ginormous weapons, and that accidents can and WILL happen, no matter how proactive of a driver you are. This actually turned out okay, but it could have been so very much worse. I'm thankful that the Lord was with everyone involved today.


Ness said...

I'm so glad that all involved was OK. And yes, definitely check in with your OB. Before my kids drove, I lectured them that they had the power to kill and be killed when they were driving a car and to always expect the unexpected. Even if you don't have a stop sign, look carefully at the cross street before you go across. In other words, defensive driving. Sounds like the girl knew she was in the wrong and just wanted to get away from the scene. I'm glad you did call the police because in our society, there are those who are "sue happy" and would have gone home to Mom and said the big, bad van hit them and ran away and it would have been a nightmare for you. Let me know what the OB says and take care. What an experience for your boys!

Lisa said...

OMG!!! You poor thing! I can only imagine the replay in your head! (I had one of those replays after I wrecked my motorcycle.)

You take it absolutely easy for a while! Know that you did all the right things, from calling the police to calling the doctor. There was nothing else to be done.

You are in everyone's prayers and you will get through this okay!!

barefoot gardener said...

OMG! Oh, hon (((((((HUGS))))))

How terribly scary. I agree that it was the right thing to do to call the cops even though she said she was fine. And you take care of yourself. I can't even imagine how horrible this whole thing is for you. I freaked when I hit a stinking squirrel a couple of months ago (my first animal fatality in 12 years), so all I can do is sit in awe that you were brave enough to get back into the van and go home after all this.

Just remember that you did everything right, that accidents happen, and that we are all thinking of you.

Shelle said...

Okay that is so crazy and scary...I think about that all the in one mili second your life can change forever...that by some stupid mistake by whomever is involved everyone's life in in an upheaval!

You did all the right things and reacted in all the right ways...Here's hoping for a better day!


Elizabeth said...

This is one of those moments that was touched by God. I totally believe that. I had my own "God moment" once...remind me to tell you about it.

I grew up in Vacaville, almost right between Sacramento & San Francisco. Where do you hail from?

Patty said...

Oh my goodness. That had to be a horrible expeience for everyone. I am glad it turned out ok.

White Hot Magik said...

OMG. I am so glad all were okay, that had to scare the pee out of you.