May 21, 2013 Near Fatal Accident
On March first 2013 I was in a one car accident. My car was considered by my insurance company to be a total loss. I was unharmed and so was my tiny, four pound teacup sized chocolate colored poodle. She was in a dog seat and that had protected her.
I was driving home from my hairdresser at a reasonable speed at about 3:30 P.M. and was in no hurry to get home. My husband had made plans to take our friend and neighbor, Fran, and me out to dinner.
Light snow turned into a hail-like substance and was falling as my car seemed to slide and then took off and spun in the air as I hit an electric pole, speed sign pole and nearly a house. I assumed that I hit ‘black ice’.
I must have blacked out during the spin and the first thing I remember was hearing a female voice asking, “Are you okay mam?”
I turned to my window and saw a teenage girl looking at my window. I put the window down and said, “I’m not sure.”
I looked at my dog, Lady Godiva, and she was moving. I took her out of the dog car seat and held her. She seemed fine.
Instantly, I realized I was on grass and part of a walkway to a house and not on a road. My car was facing north, the direction that I had been coming from. I had been traveling south to go home.
It felt like the house spinning in “The Wizard of Oz” except I was in a car that nearly hit a house!
The girl was still asking me if I was okay. I still did not know. I did, however, say, “I think we should call 911 and my husband.”
The girl said she would call 911 and I tried to call my husband, Sonny’s cell phone. I left a message because he did not answer. He was playing racquetball.
Sirens were getting closer as police and an ambulance arrived. The emergency technician asked if I wanted to be transported to the hospital. I replied that I would stand up outside the car and see if I was alright. I stood in the crunchy snow and felt I had no serious injuries. I told the technician that I did not require an ambulance. Police were shooting questions and so was this female technician who finally shoved a clipboard at me with a paper for me to sign. I signed a release form.
The girl, who was the first on the scene, witnessed a police officer, asking if I had been drinking, to which I replied, “No.”
He then said, “It looks like there’s a beer cooler on the seat.”
I replied, “That is my ‘dog seat’, do you want to have a closer look?”
The officer walked away as the young girl cried out, “Oh my God, that’s her dog seat! I saw her little dog in it!”
There were many police cars at the scene by now and I could see that the whole street was blocked off from traffic coming from north and south.
A police officer told me that my car was not drivable and that I should get myself transportation. One of the officer’s gave me a piece of paper with the number to the gym that my husband was playing racquetball in.
I was told that there were three ways that I could/should have died. Number one was that I should have been electrocuted by the live wire that was less than an inch from touching my car. Number two was that it was a miracle my car did not flip on the roof. I had a moon roof so my head would have been smashed in. Thirdly, the speed limit sign was inches away from spitting my body in half.
While waiting for the tow-truck, the teenage girl invited me into her home. As I sat there, a furnace repair man came in and fixed the furnace to the house. Another man came into the house and I was told he was the boy-friend of the girl’s mother. The mother was the last to arrive. It had taken them a while to get to the house because they had to leave their cars on other people’s property and walk to the house.
I called the gym that my husband was at and told the person who answered the phone to please send someone up to the racquetball courts and have my husband, Sonny, call me. I said that I was not injured but had been in a bad accident and my car was not drivable.
Sonny called me back. I told him what had happened and gave him the address of where I was. He told me that he would be there soon.
A large towing truck arrived and I went back outside to talk to the men. My dog happily stayed with the teenage girl. I asked them to bring my car to a certain body shop. No confirmation was given to me. My car was being pulled along through the grass and onto the back of the very large truck with one man steering it. Finally, I was given the keys to my house and mailbox without the key to the car.
I went back into the house. I was freezing. My hands felt ice cold. I sat and chatted. I was told that the year before, around that same date, another car had ‘landed’ in their front lawn and so; I was not the first car that this had happened to. The fact that I write books came up and I promised to bring a few of them to the house after the incident was cleared up.
Sonny finally arrived. He never asked how I was. He later said that he did not bother to ask because I looked fine. My body was fine but my head sure was in a whirl.
We went home in Sonny’s car and Fran came over right away. Sonny called the restaurant and asked to move the reservation ahead because we had been in an accident.
I immediately responded by stating, “I was in an accident, not us!”
He said, “They’ll never believe that.”
I did not understand that logic. We relaxed for about a half hour and then all three of us went to dinner.
At the restaurant, the hostess looked at me and asked, “Are you the lady who was in that big accident that held me and many others up in the traffic hold?”
I have long blond hair and I guess I could be seen around the accident scene by some of the drivers of some of the cars that were held up by police.
I guess my accident was much more believable than Sonny thought. In my life, situations kind of turn out like this; I was right again.
While we were having drinks and being served, many people I did not know, asked if I was alright.
I felt scared and felt a need to talk. Sonny was talking up a storm about politics. I actually interrupted and inquired, “Can I say how I feel?”
Sonny replied, “Okay say it!”
I told Sonny and Fran that I did not know if I could ever drive on that road again. I was in a crazy mind-set. This was the first accident that I was ever in. When I finished talking, Sonny asked, “Finished?”
I replied, “Well, yes, I guess so.”
During the next week, after the accident, I found out that my car was considered to be a total wreck by the insurance adjuster. At least he told me that after inspecting my car that he came to a conclusion. Because of such low mileage and ‘all the bells and whistles’ my car had including a navigation system built in that I would be getting top dollar for my vehicle.
Now, I had to find a car. Being savvy on the Internet, I found the same year car with ‘heated seats’ that my other Lexus had, in white. My other car had been black. The white one had slightly higher mileage but it had a superior sound system. I had done well. I bought the car. It would be shipped to me.
One day I went through my mail and found something that was not familiar looking. I opened the envelope and found a ticket. It was for ‘driving too fast for conditions’. I was fuming angry. I had been driving slowly the day of the accident. How could they give me a ticket? No one had even seen the accident happen.
The first person on the scene, the teenager, had heard a big bang and then saw my car on her front lawn. I was the only person who was a witness to this accident.
I checked the ‘not guilty’ box and wrote out a check for the amount requested as collateral for me appearing in court.
My court appearance date came in the mail and it made me angry all over again. I started to write a list as to the points that I would bring up in front of the judge.
1. I had never had a ticket for anything except a parking ticket for an expired parking-meter. My license was in perfect standing.
2. The license plate on my car was ‘DAVEDA’. Yes, my name. Who in their right mind would drive a Lexus with their name on the license plate and drive irresponsibly? I was visible to anyone.
3. My address is on my ‘Driver’s License’. It reflects a gated community where the speed limit is clearly marked as 10 MPH. I am used to maintaining that speed and driving from the front gatehouse to my home, way in the back, on a regular basis. It results in 15 MPH to 20 MPH seeming fast to me.
4. My dog was in a ‘dog car-seat’ which represents that I am a person who is cautious of injury in a car.
5. No one saw the accident. I was the only witness.
My day in court came. I dressed appropriately for a court appearance. My neighbor came for moral support. My husband did not go with me because he was playing racquetball again. He plays every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
I was summoned into the court room. The judge greeted me and told me I looked very nice. A police officer was finishing up making a drawing of the way the accident had seemed to happen on a big white board.
Firstly, I asked the judge if this police officer was the one who had written the ticket and if he was on the scene that day. I was told yes it was. My reasoning for asking was that if the officer who wrote the ticket was not present, my case should be dismissed.
Then I asked the judge if I should stand or sit. He replied, “Sit down Mrs. Gruber. I want you to be comfortable.”
The judge read me the law. I was driving too fast for conditions of the road. I was intent on making myself heard. The young police officer was nervous. I could see that without doubt. He may have been worried that the judge was being very polite and courteous to me or it could have been due to the fact that he was young and not highly experienced.
One by one, I stated my points. One at a time I was told by the judge that my points were irrelevant to the law. I was undaunted and kept talking.
Finally the judge asked, “Are you finished yet, Mrs. Gruber?”
Hesitantly, I said, “Yes.”
The judge found me guilty and told me that even if was going 10 MPH, it would have been too fast for conditions of the road. That was the law.
He added that there would be no additional court costs and the check for the ticket was sufficient payment. The check had been made by me in the amount of $126.00. He then told me, “Mrs. Gruber, this is no big deal. You are making it into a bigger deal than it actually is.”
I am a person of virtue. I do not like injustice and I made those words clear to the judge. Certainly, my bantering on and on in courtroom should have cost me a great deal of money. It did not.
I left the courtroom and told my elderly friend that I had lost.
She asked me where I had to go to pay and I said that there were no additional costs. She looked at me and asked, “Really?”
So, what did I learn? I learned that my vocalization in a courtroom could have been very expensive. My people skills were good. I had realized that the young officer had gone to a lot of trouble to come to court. He had to listen to me talking for a great deal of time and he had to sit quietly. He had obviously done his schooling well and wrote my ticket with the correct word usage according to the law.
I also learned that no matter how right you think you are, the law is the law. You cannot talk your way out of it, no matter, if you believe you did not break a law. The old saying stands, “You can’t fight City Hall!”