Sunday, February 14, 2010

Things that Go Bump in the Night

At about 2:45 AM today (yes, I was still awake!), the strangest thing happened. As a car drove by the house, I heard the engine roar, and then I heard a "Bump-Bumpity-Bump THUD." I scrambled to the window, and I saw that a car had stopped in front of our house. I had to stare at it for a few seconds and wrap my brain around what I saw: The two rear break lights were on top of the other. Yep, the car had flipped onto its side, right in front of our house.

Chesterley, our home, is in a suburban-like subdivision (even though we're within the LSC city limits), and we're on the one through through street in the entire neighborhood, just about a mile long. There are no stop signs, and the road has numerous twists and turns. Tonight the road was extremely icy, as the private company that takes care of the roads in the winter apparently has yet to invest in salt and/or sand. Normally the speed limit is 30 MPH, but typically in the winter I keep it around 20 to prevent from sliding into one of my neighbor's mailboxes on all the ice.

I immediately wondered if the person inside was injured or dead. The Wife was awakened by the "Bump-Bumpity-Bump THUD" sound. She asked, "What was that?" My mind and heart were racing. All I could say was, "Car on side. Car on its side." Wife said, "Our car is on its side?" I finally took a deep breath and said, "A car has flipped over onto its side in front of our house." I hear a "holy SHIT," so I know she's then comprehended what I said.

I called 9-1-1:
"9-1-1 may I help you?" said a tired yet friendly, female voice who had probably been at work for a while on a busy Saturday night.
"Hi," I said, making my voice stay calm. "There is a car that has flipped onto its side in front of my house." I really couldn't believe what I was saying. I mean this kind of thing could happen on an Interstate during a snowstorm, but on our little windy street??
"What's your address?!" said her then excited voice, almost with the appearance of saying, Ooh...this'll be a fun one!

Wife and I both threw on heavier clothing, and I ventured outside toward the car. The neighborhood was completely quiet. I think we were the only ones who heard the crash. I walked toward the car, which I then realized was a little red Jeep Wrangler, and I tried to see if there was any movement. The weirdest thing was that there was no movement, and no sound at all, except for a bent windshield wiper that was slowly wiping the air, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth...

Way too eerie. Way too quiet. Way too little movement from the driver. I hoped she wasn't dead. I hope she hadn't just died right there in front of us. I hope the car wasn't going to explode in front of my house. Man it was cold. Ran inside.

By the time I shut the front door, two police cars had already pulled up from the north. Then another pulled up from the south. So Wife and I both went outside this time to watch, even though it was under 15 degrees. We heard the officers saying to the person inside, "OK honey, we're working on getting you out." and "Can you reach up and crank open the window?" They had to repeat the question several times. It was as if she didn't understand that the passenger seat was actually above her now instead of next to her, because she didn't appear to quite get that the car was flipped on its side. Maybe she was drunk, intoxicated, pissed, hosed, and wasted.

Once Wife and I realized the driver wasn't dead, and once a police officer thought she may have been drunk, intoxicated, pissed, hosed or wasted, we decided to go inside the house. My sympathy for the driver waned at this point, I will admit. At least she wasn't dead. At least she hadn't killed anyone else. We watched the whole extraction and towing experience from our living room window. Around 3:00 AM. A total of FIVE firetrucks proceeded to the scene, flashing lights and all, at least one ambulance, along with like three more police cars. Seemed like a bit much, but hey I'll admit it was good to see the quick reaction .

Bottom line: they sawed her out of the car through the passenger side (the side up in the air), and took her away in a stretcher. We watched a tow-truck driver upright the car and get it on his tow-truck. He even swept up the broken glass from the street. In just under one hour, the entire scene was cleaned up, and Chesterley is back to its regular state of quiet and not the eerie quiet.

A police officer called me a few minutes later to follow up with a couple of questions. He informed me the driver was "extremely intoxicated." And, she took out my neighbor's mailbox in the process.

No. Sympathy. Relieved no one died. Don't drink and drive.

1 comment:

witchcat said...

WOW! I doubt that anyone else can boast a similar experience to mark Valentine's Day. A far cry from chocolates and flowers...

Just leaving a note to invite you to check the family blog. I'm a day late and a dollar short with my comments but they're filled with admiration. And I'm thrilled that he's so "normal" and that he received the same treatment a "normal" kid would get.

If one of you would send me an address or tell someone to send it to me, I'd not be leaving notes on a public blog. Actually, you might be able to find me on "Buzz"