The morning was so nice that sitting at the computer all day would have been a criminal act. In an attempt to burn off another pound my leisurely trek through Salem took me up Highland Avenue, just past North Shore Medical Center where I actually witnessed a car accident.
How I wish I could tell you that I knew for certain that the truck driver came to a full stop and the driver of the car crashed into it, unable to slow down in time. Or that the truck gave plenty of warning and the car driver wasn’t paying attention. But honestly it all moved so fast that my brain was pretty much on autopilot, only noticing the car totaled at the front, with the airbag deployed. I did, however, watch as the truck driver drove up the road more and pulled into a parking lot to turn around.
He’s doing the right thing, oh, guess not.
The driver turned down a road into a residential area and took the first left and I didn’t see him again. So there was this driver sitting behind the wheel, stunned and I’m standing on the sidewalk as the busy morning traffic continues going around the wrecked car as if this weren’t anything unusual, which it really isn’t. I think on a day when there isn’t a car crash of some sort on the road from Salem to Lynn is the day when lottery ticket sales are at their peak.
“Sir, are you okay?” I asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” The driver replied, still obviously reeling from the impact. But he wasn’t getting out of the car and my mind was blank again.
I wasn’t panicking. There was no adrenaline in my system. I just knew there things I was supposed to be doing and I had no frame of reference for this situation. So in an attempt to provide something other than eye candy for the passing motorists, I asked the driver again, “Sir, are you okay?”
Same response, but still he wasn’t getting out of the car. That’s when I noticed the smoke rising from the car and the liquid pouring onto the road. So I negotiated the busy traffic, trying to safely cross over to the guy. I am in the worst physical shape and no other person is stopping to help at this point, so I really didn’t have much of a plan and I was more than aware of the fact that this car could possibly go up in flames. But again there was no adrenaline.
“Sir, are you able to move?” I asked.
“Yeah, I can move,” The guy said.
It’s possible his brain was on autopilot as well, so I just said, “Okay, lets get you out of the car, because I’m not feeling this.” I gestured to the smoke that seemed to be coming from all directions at this point.”
As I was walking with the guy to the sidewalk, I finally remembered that I had a cellphone and I called 911. Two police officers responded within minutes as well as a fire truck and an ambulance soon thereafter. This is where I ceased to be of any real assistance. Because the officer asked me to describe the truck that fled the scene.
“It was a pick up truck like the kind those scrap metal places use, with the large cage thing in the back to keep stuff from falling out.” I shit you not, this is exactly how I described it and I felt even worse when I couldn’t recall anything like the color of the vehicle or the license plate number. Again, things moved so quickly that the only thing I could focus on was getting the driver of the car to safety and even that was a by the numbers action. Finally, I had to point out another vehicle that was very similar but not as dingy and from officer’s expression I got the feeling that my input was about useful as a life preserver in the desert.
They were able to convince the guy to go to the hospital and I noticed he dropped some change. Yeah. I noticed two pennies fall to the ground but I couldn’t remember a license plate number.
The other driver is probably going to get away Scott free and I feel terrible, knowing what this poor driver is going to have to go through with the medical bills and his insurance company and trying to get his car replaced. I’m not looking for a pat on the head or the keys to the city, but I just wish I could have been a teensy bit more useful in that scenario.