POLITICS/WINTER  2002                                                                                                                                                                            ISSUE 4

Photos by Chad

                                                                                BBy Dreama
     The force was so hard I thought a train had hit me.  I heard an explosion behind me then the sound of glass hitting metal.  I was confused and stunned as I looked at Jim, who was in the driver’s seat.  “Are you okay?” he asked as I felt the front of my mouth for blood. 

     My hand was shaking and I looked around the floor for the taco that used to be in it.  There was sour cream all over my Zandi super bell bottom blue jeans and lettuce on the toe of my black boot. 

     “Yes, “ I answered, trying not to get upset.  “Are you?” 
     “My door won’t open, we have to get out on your side.”

     The railroad gate went up and the cars moved on, but the on-coming traffic was at a stop.  I tried to get control of my shaking body because I knew people would be watching, but the effort was of no avail and I felt the tremors building up inside. Soon the tears rose and fell from my eyes and I shook from cold and shock. Disoriented from the blow, I staggered out of the car and turned to look at the damage.  The back end was noticeably smashed and glass had spewed everywhere. 

     The car was totaled. 

I cried harder.
   The metal of the back corner is twisted into the 
back wheel, making the car immobile. The car had
to be towed backwards home.

     The Ford F-150 hit us going close to 35 miles an hour.  We were at a complete stop, waiting for a train.  The impact was so strong that it pushed our car 4ft into the truck in front of us, causing the hood of our car to buckle in as well.  The roof was rippled and the back seat shoved forward into itself.  I was thankful that we had no passengers in the back.

     A woman approached us, announcing that she had called the police and ambulance then asked if I was okay.  My state looked bad, but I assured her I was just shaken up, my neck hurt and I had a headache, but no bumps or bruises or blood.  We both were wearing our seatbelt and had our headrests in the proper position.  According to the woman, the man who struck us claimed to have trouble breathing. 

     When the ambulance arrived, I watched the man in the Ford F-150 step out.  He stumbled and I wondered if he had an injured leg.  They helped him into the back and shut the doors.  I shivered in the cool autumn night but felt calmer as I watched the traffic efficiently merge into a parking lot to bypass our wreck. 
Jim chitchatted with the owner of the truck in front of us, who bragged about his “farm bumper” and assured us there was no damage to the fender.  Our car had bounced right off, he said, and there was no evidence of a hit. 

     The EMTs opened the doors of the ambulance and helped the man down the back step.  I watched closely as the policeman approached him, gesturing.  The man turned to walk a straight line and almost fell backward.

     I saw RED.

   He was wasted

     All the while I had been thinking I would not be angry with this man if he had just miscalculated the distance, if he had not realized till the last moment that the cars ahead were stopped.  It was dark, who knows what tricks your eyes might play?  I would not even be angry if he had been talking on a cell phone, which is a careless and incognizant thing to do, but forgivable in its own right. 

     But it was not an accident.  He deliberately and knowingly drank from the bottle of hard liquor that the policeman pulled from his truck.  He got into the truck and drove toward us at full speed.  He destroyed our car and doesn’t even have the insurance to pay for it.  He pleaded “not guilty” and didn’t even have the bravery to show up in court.

     We are raised from birth that to drink and drive is a dangerous thing to do.  We know when we drink that our body changes; our judgment changes.  We know this.  He knew this.  And he still got into the truck.  The police report stated that his blood alcohol test result was .255%; the legal blood alcohol level for Ohio is 0.10 %.

     I am thankful that we were not hurt.  I am thankful that he was not hurt. 

     I am thankful that he hit us.

     And not a pedestrian.



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