JUST ANOTHER HIT AND RUN

Posted: 7th March 2014 by Sean Harris in Editorials

First off, major apologies for the near three month delay from any updates. A few weeks before Christmas, just as I was preparing to grace this beloved website with several new articles all at once, my eMac of four years bought the farm when a circuit breaker was flipped to restore power to a faulty bedroom. It was also, as chance would have it, the day before I was going to back the past few years of writing/pictures/music and whatnot on to a flash drive, so you can probably imagine that I was not a very happy clam with the black turn of events. Finances were also very tight, more so because it was the blasted holidays, so it took some juggling to come up with the funds to get something in quick as a replacement.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I would then go almost two months without any form of access to the world, except the outdated method of walking out the door and physically engaging with it. My immediate plan was to speed the process through as fast as possible, so I didn’t have to listen to KOZT as my single form of entertainment (who, I’m sorry, can only manage a decent song every five hours or so) and stare at my wall, drooling and dwelling on things I didn’t particularly want to dwell on. Like all good plans, however, the end game just kept right on eluding me. The initial computer that was ordered was stolen (a long story in itself, so we’ll save that tale for another day), and getting reimbursement to remedy this second debacle became a very long and painful process.

So venture out is what I did to keep sane, more often than not. Some of it was nice…therapeutic, good for the soul and such. Some of it was not…like spending more money: food isn’t cheap these days, especially if you aren’t cooking it. It added up quickly, and my bank account, a file which doesn’t contain nearly enough credits for my ultimate satisfaction, was depleted fast. I was caught between that classic rock and hard place, needing the mental stimulation since my normal outlet was cut off, but not being able to change the situation with my cash spending filling the void (of which I was already in the hole a few hundred bucks).

And then, on January 5th of what was supposed to be the start of a better year, even more bad luck struck out. Literally, this time. In the early dark evening, nearing Safeway on a very cold trek, yours truly stood at the precipice of parking lot adjoined crosswalk, preparing to make the final dash in toward the heated consumer cathedral. A woman passed in front of me first–I could see her hair up in a overly large scrunchy–and as she proceeded across the four way intersection, my line of sight followed her and caught the flare of oncoming headlights. The approaching vehicle was not even up to the furthest pedestrian yellow zone yet, and appeared to be slowing slightly. Standing under a bright mercury vapor streetlight, wearing a gray colored tee, I was highly visible, so fully confident that I had been spotted, I began a quick stride to get across.

Mind you, I was moving briskly, because it was freezing. My breath crept on frosty tendrils while I pumped chilled air through my lungs, the thought of indoor central heating luring me into a slightly quickened pace. At just past the halfway mark in the road, the legal boundaries of my destination a mere ten feet away, a sudden discrepancy was detected in my peripheral vision. The alert system sounded and went off as I processed the horror that was about to unfold; it appeared the south-bound car that I had discerned as a non-threat had sped up again and NOT stopped at the opposite crosswalk at all, and was moving at an unpleasant velocity toward me.

Time does that weird bendy/twisted thing in a tense moment like this, and it’s amazing at what strange lines of inner dialogue zap through the wires. My first thought was “oh, he’s going to hit me” which was followed by a question of frustration, as my brain became puzzled as to how I had miscalculated the timing of it all. This thought broke quickly then as well, because mortal fear kicked in, and I tried to get the pistons moving faster to get the hell out of harms way. Let me say that it’s a damned good thing I did, and that I saw this disaster impending at just the right moment, because if it weren’t for my burst of adrenaline to move I would have been splatted all over this car’s windshield. As it was, even with the heads up, I still wasn’t going to quite clear the collision, so I mentally prepared for impact and the last thing I remember thinking, oddly, as the left side of the machine struck my legs, was that the color of the auto body was dark, just like my adorned jeans.

My right leg was plowed first, the exterior of the passenger side shearing the backside of my calf. It was mercifully a medium graze, but my left leg, being just a tad further back in stance, took the bigger bite. The force of the direct bludgeoning spun my entire body around, knocking me off my feet entirely and throwing me, very hard, shoulder and neck first, into the nearby pavement.

The first words out of my mouth were something close to: “OW…FUCK…ARE YOU KIDDING?!” and, even in shock, I had the wits enough about me to be appalled that the vehicle that had just bounced me like a bowling pin just kept right on driving, not even so much as a brake light flashing. Vaguely aware that another person was on the sidewalk, just a little further up from where I lay in the road, I shouted “CAN YOU GET THAT LICENSE PLATE?” and then, watching the back end of my runaway assailant recede into darkness, realized I was still vulnerable as a target for additional passing motorists.

Thankfully, I was able to get up, and shambled over to safety off the tarmac. The woman on foot I had called out to, twenty feet ahead, had turned around now and was standing there staring in disbelief.

“Did that car just HIT YOU?”

I put my hand up to my neck, which felt a little more than numb like the rest of me, and began rubbing what I thought might be a minor injury.

“Yeah, did you see that plate?”

She turned, squinting, and though his taillights were only dots now, tried to make something out. The giant Canclini truck that was parked near us had obstructed her initial scanning, and now it was too far away to get any clear reading. Turning back to me, she nodded a defeated “no”, and withdrew a cell phone to dial 9-1-1.

“Are you ok?”

“I…think so.” she was already talking to dispatch as I answered distantly.

“Yes, a guy just got hit by a car. We’re at…by Safeway. Which street?” She turned to me. “Which cross street?

“Uh Franklin…and…” I turned and couldn’t see the sign, since it was on the other side of the lane. “Let’s see if I can NOT get hit this time.” I joked weakly, skimping across the way again, being especially wary this time over. From afar: “Walnut, going across Franklin toward Safeway.”

It took roughly three minutes at this location for response, which was good. One cop came out of Starbucks (guffaw), right across the street, and the ambulance pulled up from around the corner, with the conveniently positioned hospital on the opposite side. A second officer joined the first within a few more moments. They took my description of “small and sporty, dark color–possibly spoilers” and even better detailed account of the asphalt patterns on the south side of the crosswalk (officer #1 even marked the place where I got creamed with a red circle, the nice man). The ambulance moved my leg and arm around, looked at my scraped up arm, and then asked if I wanted to go to the clinic while a few photos were snapped for report purposes. I declined, entirely for neurotic reasons, honestly, and the fact that despite I was still nursing my neck and shoulders with my hand, couldn’t feel much but cold and numbness. They told me if things got worse, which often happens with internal damage, to come right in. I agreed and that was that.

Safeway offered up its warmth, where I calmed down a bit and got the blood going and then bought a pack of gum. Standing in line, I noticed my neck, shoulder, and head were beginning to now really hurt, the adrenaline leaving my system and allowing me to experience sensations, so with reluctance I left and headed my way up to the emergency room.

My shoulder and arm weren’t broken, according to X-rays, and the nurses cleaned and disinfected my road rash before sending me home with a prescription for generic Percocet. I figured I was lucky to be alive, and hoped that my wound was simply bruising that would be better in a week. The mysterious driver was long gone, and my hazy account of his or her vehicle was likely not enough to warrant an arrest, so I left things as they were and tried to move forward from the incident as best I could.

Now this is where the story gets truly odd. Over the next few days, rumors got back to me from people around town and (dear God) FACEBOOK that a suspect was apprehended not very long after I was hit. My step brother’s girlfriend even said he had heard it on the radio driving to work. I had made the initial crime report to the police, who had taken my phone number, obviously, but I hadn’t heard a peep from law enforcement so I was colored rather curious that such news was floating around the grapevine. Twenty four hours later, I took initiative and phoned up the p.d. to inquire about the circumstances of the open investigation.

I introduced myself to the officer on the line and told him that there was talk in the community about a suspect having been caught. Slowly, he responded: “a suspect was IDENTIFIED, yes.”

Further prodding, a name was given out before I was then informed that the case was now being referred to the district attorney’s office. I asked what I had for options as far as prosecuting went, and he said I had a few and would have to contact a lawyer.

I left that conversation, relieved that the rumors had been true, but puzzled as to why wasn’t I notified of anything by the department. Further still, as I would come to find out after the Advocate posted their article on the whole ordeal, was that this 63 year old man driving a GOD DAMNED PORSCHE was not arrested after mowing down a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Instead, it turned out, a relative had been called to come pick him up after he was taken in (keep in to account that he was caught just a little while after our encounter because he was driving around with his headlights off in another area of town). Call me a conspiracy theorist nutjob, but isn’t this usually the telltale sign of someone who’s inebriated?

The press release said that “he MAY have POSSIBLY had a MEDICAL CONDITION that contributed to the accident”–which is about the most vague twisting of word evasion I can think of. Why was he driving at all if he had such a condition? What was the condition? What kind of such variable makes it ok to leave the scene of a crime, even if you are unaware of it, and not face anything but a slight slap on the wrists and a ride home from your family?

I’m still in the dark on all these details. Nothing more has been added or said, and the incident has slipped away as a momentary footnote of local gossip. My left side, from the center of my shoulder blade down to the middle of my ribs, now has chronic pain along with decreased mobility in that entire area. My OCD has notably also worsened, since stress and trauma will extend that courtesy toward an anxiety disorder, and I now find myself in some bizarre unknown territory of legal recourse that is beyond my experience or understanding. Something should be done, I feel, if only to serve some form of justice. The whole situation is sideways, and makes my head spin. I want my neck and side to stop hurting, and I don’t want to be on the verge of a panic attack when I cross streets for the rest of my life. At the same time, I have this very grim feeling that this is an uphill battle I can’t possibly win, in a society that caters to the Almighty Dollar and against a person with far greater monetary clout.

I guess only time will tell on all these things, so I’m trying to keep my fingers crossed that something positive comes about. In the meantime, this is your humbled editor, advising you and your kids to always look both ways, and then wait until nothing is moving on the road at all to go.