Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Well you can't outwit fate....

I knew it was bound to happen...the law of averages would catch up to me, and so it did today.

About noon in the parking lot of a grocery store, no less. I was sure it was going to be somewhere else, and be much more spectacular, but nope, as mundane as they come....

I am driving into the parking lot from the highway. Its been melting for a few days and there is a meltwater puddle approaching pond size in one section of the parking lot. Only a few pickup trucks whose drivers were obviously wearing the right foot gear, were parked there on the right. On the left, the usual line of parking spaces. I am idling along behind a minivan when it halts about halfway down. I figure the driver is scouting out a parking spot and is eyeing the pond, debating. After about fifteen seconds, I tapped the horn to remind the driver to move along. By this time I had a vehicle behind me, after all.

Minivan moves ahead and I follow along behind, a couple car lengths back. There is slush, but it's not what I would call icy. From my vantage point, I can see a spot ahead and on the left, and the minivan drives right on by it. I engage the clutch and prepare to move into the spot. I check rear view mirror and see another vehicle turning in from the highway, hooking right as they do. Look to spot, it's clear, no on coming vehicles, and I am about to make the last 30 foot and into the space when I look up and see the minivan come sailing back towards me in reverse.

There was no time to do anything but stop. Which I did. A fraction of a second later, BANG!, the minivan hits the front of me SUV, then rockets forward into the parking space on the left. Rattled, cursing, and upset I jump out of the car, and head towards the minivan. The first words out of my mouth aren't for mixed company let's say ;) Whereupon ensues the most rediculous exchange....the young driver in what I am sure is broken Russian/English, and me insisting yes he hit me, yes I know you didn't look back, no I don't want your phone number, you will give me your license and insurance information. Whereupon he wants me to NOT call anyone (yeah right) and hops back into the van.

I run for my car, flip on the hazard flashers, and grab my cell phone to dial 911. I am not too far from the van, maybe 15 feet, when the driver sees me talking on the phone, and they exit the van and head for the store. I am rattling off what happened as quick as I can, plus license plate and whatnot.....the driver and passenger come back, get in van and I think-oh crap, they are going to back over me to get away!

But, they bailed out again and headed off around the corner of the store and on out of view. I wait patiently for patrol response-and bless them, they are there within a few minutes. I quickly recite what happened to the first officer, and he takes off to find the two who are now on foot. A Trooper arrives and we go over what happened, and he does the usual: License, registration, insurance information, etc. Goes through the van (which they left open) and apparantly discovers the owner. I manage to get the Trooper to impound the van (yay!) and I am finally able to get some lunch, after assuring the officer that yes I could identify who hit me, and yes I would be more than happy to do so with a lineup-whatever kind they want ;)

Keep in mind I have never been hit before-although I have had a number of close calls. I driver regularly all over this Valley, very carefully and prudently, as my CDL requires. I am a cautious, defensive driver and have been carefully avoiding the bumper car style driving in that parking lot for 25 years now. But.......

Who in their right mind does a hit and run and leaves the vehicle behind?

1 comment:

horse snob said...

Russians! omg I live about 5 miles from two of the old believer's villages. I can testify to the driving skills of many of them. They will run you off the road if their vehicle is bigger then yours.
(Hence my 1 ton duel cab 4WD truck) I regularly see them in the ditch if the roads are the least bit slippery. They drive like there asses are on fire. They also have quite a reputation for swerving to hit a dog near the road. WTF?
Your probably lucky they didn't pull a gun on you.