Minor Fender Bender, 1/5/2012

Poor Fats had a minor fender bender this past Thursday morning. Nothing too serious, certainly not as serious as the orbital fracture and broken nose he had back in 2010. But still enough to warrant a visit to the body repair shop this coming Monday.

Google Map of the location of the accident.

I was heading north on North Lynn Street and made a left to get onto the George Washington Memorial Expressway when the van in front of me stopped suddenly, right at the intersection of the on-ramp with North Fort Myers Drive, thus preventing me from proceeding onto the expressway. A young woman walking her dog was at the corner, and I assumed that the driver had stopped to allow the pedestrian to cross even though it was his right of way. The van backed up some and stopped, and I was wondering what was going on; was the driver trying to be REALLY polite and give the pedestrian more room to cross the road? Meanwhile, I’m stuck behind the van, and I’m worrying that when the traffic light changes I’ll be blocking the traffic going south on North Fort Myers Drive.

Then the van backed up and hit me. I immediately got out of Fats with my gas mileage notebook and a pen. The driver (an older Asian man) and his three passengers (young women, all) get out of the van; I assume from their looks that they’re Korean. The pedestrian said something to me like “What a nice way to start your morning, huh?” and apologized even though it wasn’t her fault, saying that she should have waved the van on more insistently. I told her that I saw the accident about to happen but was not able to back up out of the way in time. The pedestrian volunteers her information as a witness, and writes her contact information in my notebook; I give her my own, tearing a sheet out of the notebook. Similarly, the front seat passenger gives me her contact information, and I give her mine. I notice that her last name sounds Chinese rather than Korean. I ask the pedestrian whether her dog is a Shih tzu, and she says yes.

We then went our separate ways. The two passengers from the rear seat removed luggage from the back of the van and started walking south on North Fort Myers drive, perhaps to the Key Bridge Marriott. The van proceeded onto the GW Memorial Expressway, and I follow.

Later that day, I got a call from the front seat passenger’s insurance company, who will cover my damages. We arranged for me to meet their adjuster at an automobile repair shop this coming Monday morning. I’ll pick up a car from a nearby rental company, and will drive the rental car while Fats is being repaired. Also that same day, I went out to lunch with my co-worker and lunch buddy, A.B., and told him about the car accident. He noted with some amusement that I had come away from the accident with the contact information of two young women.

In thinking it over, I now realize that the driver wasn’t trying to be overly chivalrous to the woman walking her dog. Instead, I think that he was driving the two passengers in the rear seat to the Key Bridge Marriott, and was heading north on North Lynn Street. But instead of making a U-turn just before the Key Bridge to get to the Marriott, he went straight to the ramp leading to the GW Memorial Expressway. His passengers must have said, “No! No! Don’t go onto the Expressway! Turn left to go to the Marriott!”, causing him to stop. But unfortunately it was too late, he was too far onto the ramp, and I was behind him, preventing him from backing up and making the U-turn that he should have made. And I think that he knew I was behind him, but backed up into me anyway out of sheer frustration and anger!