Sunday, December 16, 2007

Things that go boom…

In the middle of the night

Here’s a chain of e-mails I sent out late last night:

1:22 am - > You still around?

I just had to call 911

1:27 am - > But I am ok ... there was a drunk that tired to do a hit and run. He hit a car parked in front of my house (obviously not my car) then turned the corner - and hit? something else - and he/his car wouldn't/couldn't move.

1:31 am - > and the cops just came to my door ...

> I think it might be a long night.

2:12 am - > and now the tow truck is here to move the car blocking my driveway.

> And I still don't think the person who owns the car, knows the car has been hit. (it's not a familiar car to me)

2:25 am - > Okay - two tow trucks, two cars towed - and now the police have left and I'm going back to sleep.

> See ya in the AM ...

> thanks for virtually holding my hand through this ... even though you WERE SNORING through the whole thing!! :)

This afternoon, after church I sent this update:

12:25 pm - > I have broken glass ... at least 10-15 feet from the final resting place of the hit vehicle. My tree has a scar and there is part of a grill by the telephone pole.

12:30 pm - > Damn... Now that's an eventful night. You should have an Arborist come check the tree.”

1:15 pm - > Yeah, I am more worried about them taking down the tree that I know is dead in front, than the damage to this one. It’s pretty healthy. That's what I thought the sound was last night. I thought there'd been an ice-storm while I slept, and it had fallen over. I almost didn't get out of bed to look. I'm glad I did - I would have freaked to have the police knocking on my door - and assumed something bad had happened in California.

Here’s a little more detail to the story.

Clearly when I got out of bed to find out what the sound was, I was still not processing information very well. I noticed immediately that the unknown mini-van that had been parked in front of my house, by the telephone pole at the west end of my property, was now resting across my driveway, abutting a tree at the east end of my property line.

My first thought was – “Hmm – It must be really slippery out there. I guess they didn’t put on their emergency break. I wonder how long before the neighborhood congregates outside?”

As I stood there as stared a little longer, I realized the hood was buckled. I was also puzzled about why it would just suddenly decide to slide down the street. Then a movement in the street at the back-end of the mini-van caught my attention. It was a figure, and it suddenly turned and ran east, turned the corner – and went north. Moving from my from living room window, which faces south, to my dining room window that faces east, I saw a red Yukon or Tahoe with lights pointed up the hill, behind the house on the corner. I saw the figure get in the SUV, put it in reverse, heard the engine rev, but it did not go anywhere. I decided he must have messed up the transmission. Which kind of relieved me, because now I didn't have to worry about him driving off. I stood there and watched – to see if my neighbor on that corner would step out onto her deck. No movement. Next, I saw the figure exit the car and walk toward the front, and then the back, looking at the vehicle. Actually, walk was the wrong term. He was staggering and holding onto the vehicle for support. I saw him fumble with something in his hands (I assume a cell phone) – and then he got back in the vehicle. And tried reverse again. That’s when I decided I better call 911. I was on the phone with them for a good 15 minutes before the police arrived.

When they finally showed up, they cruised past the mini-van, then turned the corner. I thought for sure when the driver saw the flashing lights he’d try to take off again. But there was no movement within the vehicle. The two officers approached – with flashlights shining – one on each side of the SUV. I could see them knocking on the windows. It was a while before there was any movement inside.

When the driver finally exited the vehicle, it was clear he couldn’t stand up straight. Leaning against the SVU, he dug out his wallet. Shortly after, they put handcuffs on him. Then one of the officers got in the vehicle and backed it down the hill (the drunk guy hadn't made it up that road very far) and out of the street. The officer parallel parked it on the grass, which runs the length of the park, that boarders that street. The vehicle wasn’t very straight, and I remember thinking, “Gee that officer must be rolling it back into that position, since the transmission isn’t working. It’ll get hit hanging out like that.” Of course, all along I assumed the reason the guy hadn’t gone up the hill, or reversed and driven away, was because there was something screwed up on the SUV, besides being dented. I was shocked when the officer put the car in drive and straightened it out! It was at that moment, circumstances proved just how drunk the driver was to me.

About this time, the second cop car drove back around the corner to my street and parked. As they were making notes about the condition of the mini-van, I turned on my front porch light. The officer immediately headed up the driveway towards my front door. I opened it and stepped outside. In the course of our conversation, he confirmed the guy was “drunk out of his mind”. He asked me if I saw the accident, or how much I’d witnessed. Next he wanted to know if I thought I could ID the guy.

I looked at the policeman and said, “In the dark, from 70 yards away? You want to know if I could pick him out in a line up? Not likely. Unless you have him in the same clothes, standing next to the car, and everyone else standing in the lineup are midgets.”

He wanted to know, if I knew, who the mini-van belonged to. I said I didn’t – and so he left to knock on neighbors’ doors. (STILL no one had made an appearance outside their homes, or in their windows. I was very shocked.)

Two tow trucks arrived. They loaded up the SUV around the corner, and one removed the car from my tree. As the guys in front of my house shined lights on the vehicle and messed with the cables, I could see that all three rear-end windows had blown out from the force of the impact.

The two tow-truck operators left, the cops left, and I went to bed.

This morning is when the WHOLE neighborhood showed up. (The dog walkers, don’t you know?) When the pot-head house-painter stopped to examine my tree, I came outside and yelled, “Where the hell were you last night when all this was happening?” (He's always out late at night and hears EVERYTHING. He is always the best source of neighborhood news.)

“I didn’t hear a thing or know anything had happened, until my Mom called me this morning, and told me the mini-van was gone,” he said. (His Mom is my new next-door neighbor and lives in the house on the corner.)

Walking down the porch steps, I met him in the middle of my driveway, “That's you Mom’s car? Why was it parked in front of MY house?”

“She had a piano delivered yesterday afternoon, and I moved it out of the driveway, and parked it on this street, so they’d have more room to get it in the back door. When they were done, it was raining. Mom told me to just leave the mini-van parked in front of your house. I could move it in the morning. I jokingly told her some drunk from the bar (at the west end of my street), would probably take this corner too fast, or come barreling down our street, and hit it,” he said with a laugh.

“Well, they didn’t come around the corner – they hit it head on. Hard too! Look how far it was pushed.”

Moral of the story?

If you come to visit Mit – and are staying overnight – ALWAYS park in the driveway!


I H8 24 said...

Oh My God!!! Were you the least bit un-nerved over the whole situation? You sound as calm as a cucumber!!!! You may just find yourself on an episode of COPS Little Lady!!

mamie said...

you know my friend the painter? he's your neighbor?? there's a few less than six degrees between us...and the wreck story? fodder, very good fodder.

CG said...

Remember when we went to Memphis and left my itty bitty car in your driveway? After much discussion about it not mattering if it was in the street or not while we were gone for a week? ;)

BTW - over a foot of snow here so far and the winds are picking up. It blows so hard sometimes I can't see the apartment building that is a whole...50 feet? away from our building. IT WONT STOP SNOWING!!!

Anonymous said...

Are you a magnet for trouble, or what ???
Can't believe you dodge all these incidences !!!!