Yesterday evening, about 7:30, I was driving home from a weekend show that was full of rain, cloudy days, lots of mud, and not many buying customers. Needless to say I was not in my usual happy-go-lucky state of mind, but I was trying to work through my frustrations and move on. As is my habit when driving on a long stretch of highway, I put my truck on cruise control, turn on some music, and relax.
Suddenly there appeared behind me a vehicle going at least 15 miles per hour faster than I, with no apparent awareness that I was even there. At the last nanosecond, the driver decided that he should go around me on the right. Unfortunately, his decision came about two nanoseconds too late. Yes, he hit me with a glancing blow to my back bumper.
There is not a great deal of damage to my truck, even though the back bumper will have to be replaced. And, thankfully, I was not injured. So, the whole incident could have been a lot worse. At the time, however, I was not considering how fortunate I was.
Now for the good part. As we pulled off the busy highway, this twenty-something lad got out of his vehicle and said, “Sorry, man, I didn’t see you. I was talking to my woman.” Yes folks, that is a direct quote. I looked toward his vehicle in total disbelief to discover that his “woman” was actually another twenty-something, or maybe less.
Obviously, I made a few choice comments summarizing the fact that if he is going to drive 15 miles over the speed limit, he really should pay close attention to where he is going, and what vehicles are around him. I don’t think I said it that nicely, but I won’t go into the exact words right now.
It gets better. When he got out of his vehicle, he had in his hand what I hoped was current liability insurance information. I was wrong. He handed me a piece of paper that indicated insurance that had expired almost a year ago, but said he was sure his father had the correct insurance information. He gave me his father’s phone number.
Meanwhile, due to the “squirley” nature of the situation, I began to collect all the information I could – license plate number, make of vehicle, driver’s license number, etc. As I perused the names I was given, it became apparent that the father’s last name and the “boy’s” last name were not the same.
I then got back into my truck to call his father for the insurance information. Not only was the insurance expired, the father told me that he had switched insurance companies, and he would have to call me back in about 45 minutes with the current information, but assured me that everything would be covered. The delay was due to the fact that his wife was gone in the Mercedes where the insurance information was kept. Oh, this was just getting better and better.
I decided, at that point, I might need some legal proof of this accident, so I called 911 and requested a police officer. Before the police arrived, the “boy” informed me he had to be somewhere in 20 minutes. I said, “You can’t leave, the cops are on the way to verify this accident.” He informed me his father had told him he didn’t have to talk to anyone else. I said, “If you leave, I will send the cops after you.” He left, saying, “Sorry, buddy, I gotta go.”
But here is the best part. When the police arrived minutes later, I gave them all the information I had gathered, with the expectation that they would pursue him and punish him for being stupid. The officer said to me, “Accidents happen all the time. It’s not like he was purposely trying to kill you.” Yes folks, another direct quote.
And that is what is wrong with our system. No punishment. This kid broke the law on several levels, and was able to drive off without any consequences, and I am left to deal with insurance claims and repair work, having committed no offense whatsoever. Father never called me back, and will not return my calls. Luckily, he divulged the current insurer, and I have been able to establish a claim for repairs, but that doesn’t seem to abate my anger.
It’s a good thing I believe in karma.