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Saturday, June 12, 2004

Hit and run

About 6:35 eastern time Friday night, I was driving home from the office, thinking about the pizza and beer I was about to enjoy with my family. Suddenly a large tan car ('80s Buick maybe?) appeared in my lane -- heading straight at me.

The driver had apparently been driving too fast to make a right turn and was swerving a great deal. His traffic light was red, so I suspect he was making this turn in a last-ditch effort to avoid hitting the large SUV that was in front of me and about to enter the intersection.

Basically, there really wasn't much I could do except slam on the brake.

I was in a '92 Mazda Protege, which doesn't have airbags. Though my seatbelt restrained me (the cop said otherwise the steering column would have collapsed), I walked away with serious bruising and pain from hitting the steering wheel. The EMTs, who arrived very fast, quickly took me to the emergency room where I had four different chest X-rays to make sure that I didn't have internal injuries.

The police officer on the scene arrived about 8 pm to take my statement. He told me that the other driver had fled (on foot), but that the car was apparently not stolen. I forgot to ask the name of the owner of the vehicle -- or even what kind of car it was.

For a few seconds, the other driver and I were "eyeball-to-eyeball," separated by perhaps 8 feet of newly compressed automobiles. He looked a lot like the character "Chase" on the TV program "24."

For a few days, I'll be recovering from these bruises. Meanwhile, we have to figure out how to replace this "exceptional" car (that's how Kelly's Blue Book put it). It only had about 67,000 miles, so I was planning to use it for several more years, driving 6 miles each way to work. It was only worth 2 or 3 grand on the market, but it was worth a great deal to us.


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