Our house sits almost on the corner of a relatively quiet three-way intersection. Our neighbor’s house facing the main drag is actually on the corner, but we are separated from the corner only by her driveway and a sliver of her backyard. From our house, it is easy to see the traffic going by on the main road. Since this is a residential area and there are no sidewalks, the speed limit is posted at 25mph. Every day, I cuss at someone under my breath when I see them not only flying through the intersection, but completely ignoring the stop signs posted both ways on the main drag.
Almost two weeks ago, after coming home from my nephew’s birthday party, I completely crashed out on the loveseat before 10pm. When I awoke, I saw Big Daddy and Middle Son J with their sweatshirts on, looking all breathless and smelling like the outdoors.
“Didn’t you hear anything?” they asked me, as I blinked my eyes into focus. They proceeded to tell me what I had just slept through.
Although the room I was sleeping in is closest to the intersection, Big Daddy was in the front living room turning off the computer for the night. He could see, from the front window, headlights speeding through the stop sign. Almost instantly, he heard a loud crash. J heard it too and went running downstairs. He and Big Daddy took off up the street to see if they could help.
We’ve seen and heard a few crashes at this intersection before. Usually they’re coming from the other direction, heading away from the neighborhood bar/restaurant in the plaza a few streets away. This time, my guys were confronted with a small car that had smashed into a telephone pole. The car was bent up like an accordion, with the driver’s side door too bent up to open. Blasting from the radio was Nicleback’s “Rockstar”, which they so wanted to turn off but couldn’t get to. In the driver’s seat they could see an obviously young man, his hair glistening in the moonlight from what they thought was blood. He wasn’t moving.
While they tried to get the boy’s attention, another man at the scene dialed 911 for the ambulance. They kept calling out to the kid. They said it was a good 10 minutes before they saw him stir, right before the ambulance got there. J said he felt kind of sick, thinking for sure the kid was dead. When he finally started to wake up, J recognized him. He was the brother of a kid J had graduated with, and he was only about a year older than J. He lives in our housing plan, and was only a few streets from his house on the way home.
The kid was completely out of it, but realized he was probably in a heap of trouble. They tried to get him to turn off the radio, but he kept hitting some other button. He insisted he was okay and could drive home. Umm, no. The car was totaled and they let him know that he couldn’t even open his door. He started picking at the glistening shards of glass in his hair as both the ambulance and the police arrived.
They got the boy to exit the car through the passenger side. He told the ambulance drivers he was fine, but Big Daddy let them know that he’d been completely knocked out a good 10 minutes. Because there was a smell of alcohol, the police ended up cuffing him, which is when my guys turned away to come home.
We all felt bad for the kid because he was really having a very bad night. Like this boy, my own boys drive around blasting the radio. Middle Son J, who thinks he’s invincible, also sometimes drives too fast and like this boy, doesn’t usually wear his seat belt. J has also walked away from a telephone pole crash with luckily nothing worse than a bad concussion.
At the same time, Big Daddy and I were ticked off at the kid, too. Not only could he have really been dead, he could have easily taken out some innocent pedestrian. The woman across the street walks her dog several times a day on these streets. My oldest son often strolls home from the Spee-D Mart on this very street after picking up some ciggies or snacks. This kid had NO BUSINESS speeding through these streets drunk, and blowing off stop signs that he should know were there.
J mentioned that the whole scene was an eye-opener. I hope it opened up his eyes enough to start wearing his seat belt, but I wouldn’t bet on it.