I was hit by a drunk driver over the weekend.
My two passengers and I are OK and the damage to my car appears to be relatively minor -- $1650 in repairs and a check to see if the crash damaged my car’s alignment, as the steering wheel vibrates fiercely when I apply the brakes at highway speeds.
I may not be injured but I am annoyed. I’m annoyed because I never saw the other car coming at us. I never had the chance to at least try to avoid the collision. She hit us in my blind spot – on my right rear bumper-fender area where there are no windows. While I was checking my mirrors every few seconds, I had no reason to turn my head and check my blind spot because I had no intent to make a lane change.
I’m also annoyed because I never got to meet the person who hit me, get her information and see if she had any remorse for what she had done. The responding officer kept us away from her location and did not provide any information about her.
Lastly, I’m annoyed that I have to take time out of my day to make special arrangements to repair my injured vehicle and to get a rental, which I’m still trying to figure out how to drive. I’m five foot two inches tall. To reach the gas pedal, I had to push the seat up so far that I feel like I’m kissing the windshield. Yet, it takes just the power of my toenail to comfortably activate the brakes. Any more pressure than that makes the car buck almost to a stop when all I’m trying to do is slow down. By the time I figure this car out, mine will be fixed, hopefully.
It was about 3:45 a.m. (after the time change) Sunday morning when my two friends and I were headed home from our weekly girls’ night out. That night, we went dancing in San Francisco and had a late, 1:30 a.m. dinner at a nearby all night Indian restaurant.
I was driving down southbound 101 about ¼-mile before the Ralston Avenue exit in San Mateo when there was a screeching sound. My car’s cabin suddenly lit up. Then, boom.
The impact sent my car jolting forward and to the left. We were in the second lane from the median divide and the collision sent my car barreling toward the concrete barrier. I corrected our heading, steered into the center emergency lane, turned on my hazard lights and dialed 911.
Somehow, between the collision and the phone call, I watched as the other driver spun around 180 degrees in a clockwise motion to a north facing position in the southbound lanes. Without braking, the car then drove off the road, down the embankment and into the sound wall.
Blinded by Darkness
Darkness followed. No movement that we could see on the dark freeway lit only by the steady stream of cars passing us by.
I told the dispatcher everything that happened. But I could not answer her question about the type of car that hit us. We never saw it, just a silhouette with two lights in the front and rear careening into the wall, causing a cloud of dust and smoke to fly into the air.
She told us to stay put with our seatbelts on until the California Highway Patrol came to escort us off the median.
The wait seemed like an eternity as vehicles passed us by. Our curiosity mounted about the condition of the occupant(s) in the other vehicle. Suddenly, I saw flashing red lights in my rear view mirror. Our knight in black and white armor had arrived and began zigzagging across the freeway to stop traffic, allowing me to move my car to the right side of the road.
Once we were across, the officer stopped zigzagging and came toward us but stopped short. He was at the other car.
Curiosity was killing this cat. I and one of my two friends did what I know, as Miss Street Smarts, we should not have done. We got out of the car and walked down the side of the freeway toward the CHP car and the crash site. My other friend stayed in my car with her seatbelt buckled.
But the officer stopped us short of the crash site. He told us the driver of the car, the sole occupant in the other car, was sitting on the guardrail when he arrived on scene. She told him she had been hit by a phantom car, too. He then asked for our information and accounts of the collision before he left us and returned to the dark crash site blocked by bushes. Later, the officer returned and told us the woman lied. She’s the one who hit us and was arrested for DUI.
It’s going to take a couple weeks to get the police report. In it will be her name and address, whether she had insurance and what happened from her point of view.
I'm eager to read that report. Mostly, my mind's eye and driving ego hopes statements from her and any witnesses who also called 911 to report the crash will clear up the events that occurred in my blind spot.