Monday, May 16, 2011

Time and Attention

We finally received the police report on the crash that has left my wide bedridden for the last 10 days.  I must say it's a disappointment.  These days police reports are mostly a form with little ovals darkened to indicate specifics about a collision.  Here's a synopsis.: The driver was making a left hand turn in broad daylight on a dry road. There were no skid marks on the road. The right front corner of the vehicle made impact with my wife.  All these observations are apparently true.

The report says that the vehicle was traveling at 10 miles per hour at time of impact. This is balderdash. There is no way the SUV was going only 10 miles per hour.  If so, my wife could have side-stepped it with ease.  So where did the police officer get this tidbit of information?  I suspect he asked the driver who had every reason to understate the speed. Of course, the officer could have simply made it up to get on with the rest of the form.  What the officer neglected to do - obviously because he is busy fighting crime and scraping other people's spouses off the pavement - was to ask my wife in the days after the crash.  (Digression: this is a chronic problem with pedestrian and bicycle crashes. The victims injuries are often so severe that the only person at the scene who can explain what happened was the vehicle operator.)  In any case, asking the victim to verify the information would have been easy. we're in the phone book.. My wide would have told the police officer that not only was the SUV going faster than 10 miles per hour, but also that it was accelerating.  It was the sound of the revving engine that told my wife the SUV wasn't stopping.  (I have heard her explain the particulars of the accident to several doctors and nurses; she is certain of this detail.)

The report also fails to mention that the driver drive his SUV around a car that was waiting at the stop sign.  Rather than waiting his turn, the driver accelerated into the intersection in a straight, diagonal line.  I have driven, walked, and ridden my bike through this intersection hundreds of times over the past 20-odd years.  The view to the left at this intersection is obstructed by a fence. So the driver accelerated into the intersection without a clear view of what was to his left.  He was either looking elsewhere or was otherwise distracted.  His behavior by any reasonable use of the term was reckless. One possible cause of the driver's inattentiveness was not investigated. The officer apparently neglected to check the driver's cell phone to see if it had been used during the collision. (There is no mention of cell phone use in the report.)

The brief narrative in the report says the driver failed "to pay full time and attention" to the pedestrian.  I realize this is police jargon but it truly understates the driver's negligence. I don't know what kind of fine one gets for failing to pay attention but I bet will be it is a lot less than we (and our insurance companies) have already spent.  My wife and I have missed 6 days of work so far. We've had three doctor visits and two ER visits.  And we are just getting started.  My wife's orthopedist said that healing from this, if she's lucky, could take 2-3 months.   

At some point, I'll get this blog back to bicycling.  Maybe in a couple of months.


  1. The police officer talked to the big E after she was run over.

    Regardless, the level of inattention that is considered "ordinary" and therefore fails to warrant further investigation borders on insane by my judgement.

  2. Gosh!!! Thinking of you and your wife, Rootchopper. This stinks!

  3. Oh Dear. I saw your comment on my blog, but unfortunately it seems to have been gobbled up by the Great Blogger Hiccup of 2011. What an awful thing to have happened. You have my deepest sympathies.