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my big book of little catastrophes
I ate WHAT?
blood is too red on the pavement 
11th-Oct-2006 10:28 pm
tiny basil
This morning was pretty fucked up. I was driving to work and witnessed a van hit an old man crossing the street. It was almost me that hit the guy too. Very upsetting morning.

I was turning left at a light, and there was this guy on the corner just stepping into the crosswalk as I passed him. I stayed left (2-lane street) to give him plenty of room. As I passed I saw him start to run forward. I looked up in my rear-view mirror because his running seemed weird. And I saw the van behind me hit him. It was so weird, the old guy was bent over and running really fast, right into the path of the van. I guess he was freaked out by the traffic and panicked and ran. He bounced really hard off the van and flew about 10 feet.

I stopped and watched in the mirror to see if he was ok, but he clearly wasn't. The van stopped and the driver got out so I didn't have to chase him or anything stupid like that. But I called 911 and walked back to give the dispatcher more info than I could from where I stopped my car. The guy was breathing and moving a bit, which was a huge relief cause I thought he might be dead at first. And there was a lot of blood flowing down the pavement from his head, dark red against the dull grey of the pavement.

The ambulance showed up pretty fast, and a fire truck, and a few patrol cars. The paramedic shouted questions to me about what happened, and I shouted my answers back from where the police made me stand on the curb. They cut off his shirts to see how bad he was hurt. He was Asian so they asked him if he spoke English, and he did. He was conscious, which was a good thing. I talked to an officer and gave him my statement. The driver of the van was really upset - he barely saw the guy and had no way to avoid him. But I don't know if he was paying attention or driving too fast or what.

I got pretty upset too. Seeing the blood, thinking about how if he had run a few seconds earlier it could have been me that hit him, wondering if I should have been paying more attention and stopped when he was on the street corner. Thinking back, I don't think I did anything wrong. While I can drive like a maniac at times, I'm pretty observant and very respectful of pedestrians - it would be totally unlike me to endanger a pedestrian. I just think the old guy freaked out and rushed the crosswalk instead of being careful of the traffic.

It still made for an upsetting day. I couldn't get the images out of my head and kept seeing them in the middle of meetings and conversations. I hope I don't have bad dreams tonight.

Stay safe out there.
Comments 
12th-Oct-2006 09:32 am (UTC)
Hey, that's awful. I'm truly sorry to hear you witnessed that. For what it's worth, I witnessed a very similar situation in DC. I did not see the car strike the pedestrian, but I saw the immediate aftermath. I won't describe it. You've been through enough. Suffice to say she did not survive. I was really not okay afterward, either. If you don't mind the suggestion, do some things that are particularly nice: watch a couple of funny videos, take a long hot bath, get together with friends, eat something decadent, get a massage, get spectacularly laid, have a good workout, or all of the above. I doubt you'll forget what you've seen. However, the images will lose their potency in time. What you saw was awful, and you're right to be shocked and upset... now let yourself begin to recover.
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