By Queen Ramirez
I was in a hit-and-run car accident on Friday, Feb. 16.
Four years ago, I was in a car accident with my mom, but this time I was alone.
I was driving home on Broadway when someone made an illegal U-turn from the wrong lane and stopped perpendicular to me. The four seconds he didn’t move was enough time for me to hit the brakes and the horn, but not enough for me to stop.
My car hit his driver’s side. We made eye contact. I read three letters off his plates. And he sped away as I felt the shock set in.
There I was, stuck in the middle of the street, cars passing me by, and I did not know what happened. Then I thought, “I should go to the side of the road, but wait, how do I use this?”
For a solid 10 to 15 seconds, I stared at the wheel, buttons and gear shift with no idea how to use any of it. After those 10 to 15 seconds I remembered how to drive and pulled to the side. I could not understand why I was crying.
After getting out of the car my hands stopped shaking and I called my mom. That is when I noticed I was speaking slowly and only one syllable at a time. She told me to call the police. I don’t remember dialing 911, but I do remember talking to them. But I was not clearly understanding what the operator said, just that I kept asking, “What?”
Eventually the police came, but as far as I know, they never found the person who sped away.
I played it out over and over again in my mind, and tried to think if I did anything wrong. But no matter how many times I think about those few seconds, I get the same answer.
There was nothing else I could have done. He shouldn’t have made that U-turn, but had he kept going I would not have hit him. If I braked too fast then I would have gotten hit from behind, and if I braked too hard I could have spun out of control. I cannot think of a scenario in which I could have done something to make it better or safer for anyone.
I hope nothing like that happens again, but the future has a funny way of surprising me.
E-mail Ramirez at firstname.lastname@example.org