The Left Turn

I just saw the most disturbing scene of my whole life, and I hope never to repeat it.

It was shopping day. I went to a repair shop and got my “dress up” Mickey Mouse watch I’ve been meaning to fix for three years patched up. I got my old glasses fixed at the place where I got my new glasses that won’t be ready for two weeks so I’m not blind my whole “vacation.” I went to Dollar Tree and got enough food to last me a few days, including mini chocolate bars and bubble gum for the plane… disappointed they didn’t have the smoothie packs I use every morning… If I’m not allowed through security with mini chocolate bars, TSA can have some fun on me.

So, after this incredible feeling of “I’m gettin’ shit handled,” I’m driving home, cruising down University and slowing down for a red light. All of the sudden, a young Indian woman starts running across the street between cars, about 100 feet behind the crosswalk- against the green turn light- and is bulldozed over by a car that was going toward the left turn lane.

Luckily, she was just hit by the front of the car and the tires did not run over her body. She was able to get up and walk to the median, as people start running from the far side of the street to help her. Someone runs up to the car that hit her to make sure he doesn’t get away, and my light was green before I got to see whether he just rolled up his window and drove off, or whether he actually turned around to call the police.

I’ve heard of people getting hit by cars my whole life, but this is the first time I’ve actually seen it happen. In the state of Maryland, the driver has, at best, only partial responsibility for the accident because he hit a jaywalker. The law says that the driver only need pay medical bills, etc., if he or she was the cause of the accident. I just hope the driver was a good Samaritan and waited until the police and ambulance arrived.

I was terrified for the girl, because whether it was her fault or not, it was excruciating to watch. She was carrying lots of stuff, and, on impact, dropped all of it. In skiing, we call that a “yard sale,” and the description was apt in this case as well. Hair ties, her hat, and her shopping bags all crashed to the ground, and the contents spilled into several lanes.

Possibly for the first time in my life, I got intense road rage, because all these people are picking up stuff in front of my car and the cars behind me are honking at me to go. I suppose I can’t really be mad- they weren’t aware of what had just happened and couldn’t see the pedestrians in front of me. Wait, that’s not true at all. The car behind me must have seen what happened, and was still just a giant dickhead to me.

Surely they could’ve seen that a full-size sedan did not have enough feet in front of him to brake to a full stop as the girl was running, trying to make it before my light turned green.

In the nanosecond after the accident, I wondered if she was dead. It took her a minute to get up, and I audibly sighed with relief. I’ve never been hit by that many pounds of metal, so it was shocking in a good way to see that she didn’t seem permanently injured…. although it’s probably too early to tell. She may have been walking on adrenaline and imagination, and could conceivably have a brain bleed as well.

It’s hard when you see something like that and say to yourself, “she should have known better,” because you know you’ve let your judgment impede your compassion, at least for a second…. It was hard to tell how old she was, though. She could have been anywhere from 15-30. Perhaps she was just naive, and perhaps she was distracted by seeing people she knew on the other side of the street. Whatever it was, I am sure that we will both be mindful of properly using crosswalks from now on.