Sunday, November 26, 2006

More Things to Be Thankful For: Dodge Ram 1, Honda Accord 0

We spent this weekend in Kansas City to meet up with family and friends, and during the weekend, we discovered how thankful (and fortunate) Lauren and I are.

We'd spent yesterday afternoon at City Market in KC for lunch and browse shopping. We'd hoped to get on the road by 1:00, to make it over to the Larcoms (Teresa and Cindy), where we were going to meet my family and they could meet Lauren.

At about 1:30, we had stopped at the intersection of 59th and Ward Parkway, about to cross Ward Parkway. We had a green light, and we had just pulled out into the intersection when we were partially broadsided (driver's side) by another out of town driver who went through the intersection with his pickup, hitting our left side and rear.

The resulting impact spun the car around so that we ended up against the opposite corner curb, with the left quarter panel and most of the trunk crumpled in and fiberglass and shattered auto glass flying. Shaken and a little sore from seatbelt strain, we climbed out of the car. I had to exit out of the passenger side because the impact had buckled the quarter panel into the driver's side door.

It was one of those cases where the wreck itself was pretty unavoidable; we didn't see the vehicle coming because our line of sight was blocked off by the vehicle in the right lane ... although I do recall trying to crank the wheel at the last moment to avoid the worst of the accident, which in retrospect might have saved us from a worse fate.

After making sure that Lauren was okay, I reached back inside, shutting the engine off. I started to collect items that had fallen to the floorboard, realizing belatedly that the claims adjuster would probably factor in the car's age, the shredded quarter panel and trunk, the broken rear windshield and glass, the buckled left axle (the left rear wheel was pushed in), and the (probable) frame warping, and total the car. Then I looked over at the other driver's pickup: some left fender and bumper damage, and popped airbags ... about $1,000 in body work, and a few hundred more for refilling and resetting the airbags, and he'll be back on the road again.

Fortunately, KCMO police and fire (and two tow trucks) responded immediately, and short of sweeping up the broken auto glass and parts, all that was left was exchanging drivers info and plate and insurance information. The officer (who did an incredible job of keeping things orderly), made sure everyone was okay, and, after talking with the witnesses to the wreck as well as both parties, we found out what had happened:

The other driver was from out of town, and he had gotten distracted because shortly past the intersection the road narrowed down to one lane because of road work. We think that he got tunnel vision about the merge, and for all we know, may have dodged into the left lane to try to get around the cars ahead before the lanes merged. (We base that assumption on the skid marks, which ran to 3-4 car lengths going into the intersection). He also might have panicked, suddenly realizing that a)he was at an intersection, b) didn't see the red light (or maybe he saw it but he was too late to stop at that point), and c) that there was a car in the intersection.

The officer cited him for failure to yield. He finally admitted that it was his fault to the officer, but only after two witnesses first told her that he had run the light. He'll likely have a court date down in KC in the future, and his insurance rates will likely climb.

Lauren and I agreed that it was very stupid driving on his part.