Bang! What was that?
At 7:10 Thursday evening, just as we were about to sit down to dinner, Barbara and I heard a loud bang that appeared to come from our driveway!
Whatever it was, it couldn’t be good.
So we turned off the burners and rushed outside. Two minutes earlier our 2019 Subaru had been the only car in our one-car driveway. But now there were two cars in the driveway!
As the sidewalks filled with neighbors coming from east and west on our own street, and from north and south on nearby streets, we saw that a woman was clearly trapped in the unexpected vehicle. We called 911, as did a lot of other witnesses. People kept telling the victim not to move—not that she could move much between seatbelt and airbag, but at least she was clearly conscious.
Within minutes all remaining street space was taken up with police, firefighters, ambulances, and so forth.
Pause for a second now. How did someone manage to crash into our car when our short driveway is perpendicular to our narrow one-way street? Think about the geometry and the physics of the situation. Eyewitness accounts are always confusing and confused, but here’s what we finally pieced together: the victim had been backing out from her own driveway, which was across the street and two houses down; a large white van came barreling down the street at excessive speed and smashed into her car as it was backing up. The laws of physics took over, the van slewed sideways, and the car spun around 180°. The linear combination of the vector forces took it into our driveway, where it smashed into our car, which moved forward four feet or so. Pix of the consequences below.
The first-responders were great. They checked out all three vehicles, searched for the driver of the white van (who had apparently abandoned it while running off who-knows-where), gently carried off the injured driver on a stretcher into the waiting ambulance, and called for a tow truck, which first removed the car-in-the-middle (not so easy, because of its angle, as you can see in the third photo below) and then returned to remove the errant van so that traffic could get by.
On Friday it was time to have a long chat with Commerce Insurance Co.—sorry, I mean Mapfre, as it is now called—and arrange for a rental car. The timing was perfect: we have just one payment left on our car loan. What else would you expect?
Haven’t heard yet about the injured driver.
Three photos below: the first shows the point of impact, the second the driver’s side of the vehicle that crashed into us, and the third the difficult (but successful!) attempt to tow away that car despite the odd angle.
Better than an airplane crash two houses down, anyway.