Thursday, July 12, 2012

Good Bye Old Friend!

On June 16 at about 2:00 AM there was a crash outside of our bedroom window.  I heard it, but it did not register with me yet, not until there was a loud banging on our front door.  A gentleman who frequently drives past our house was knocking to make me aware that an unfamiliar white pickup was parked oddly in my driveway.  He stopped to let me know out of concern.  He said that he had never seen that truck in the driveway before and suspected that it was not mine, especially since there was a man walking to and fro in the street.  When I looked, the man was no longer walking but was lying in the street on his back.  I thanked the gentleman for his kindness and put on more clothing and grabbed by cell phone and camera and went to investigate.

A white Dodge Dakota Sport pickup truck was mingled with my poor old F-150.  The man was lying on his back in the street with his feet toward the curb and his head toward the center line.

While the damage to my truck was a concern, the man in the street was my priority.

When I approached him to ask if he was OK he responded, “No, I don’t know where the hell I am.”  When I asked whether he needed some help he said, “You can help me by telling me where the hell I am.”

I informed him that he was lying in the street.  He said that He knew that but did not know where he was.  I informed him that he had an accident with his truck and that he was lying in the street.  He replied saying that he knew that but did not know where he was.  I told him that he needed to move out of the street so that he would not be run over by passing cars but he did not want to move.  He eventually said that he had a few drinks.

Uh huh.

When other vehicles came, I stood waving them away from the fallen man.  Two of the passers by, two ladies, parked their vehicles and approached to try to be of assistance.  I finally persuaded the man that he needed to move to the lawn where he would be safe, and he extended his hand upward for help rising.  But as he rose to about a 30 degree angle he softly said, “Ow, ow.”  Then I noticed the blood on the pavement and felt the back of his head and received a handful of blood.  I said, “O.K.  You need to stay right there until an ambulance arrives.  I’ll get a flashlight to direct traffic so you don’t get run over.”

Apparently he was unaware of being injured.  It seems that he must have begun to step onto the curb, lost his balance, and fell backward onto the roadway, hitting his head and splitting his scalp somewhat.

After easing him back to his lying position, he then reached for his cigarettes and lit one up to smoke while he lay awaiting whatever would come next.  I moved his glasses so that they would not be stepped upon.  He said that he did not want me to call an ambulance.  I informed him that I had to as he was injured.

911 is absurd.  When I called the questions asked of me were ludicrous.  I informed the lady that she needed to get an ambulance to the scene now and that I was done talking with her as I needed to keep the man from being run over.

When the police officers arrived, they seemed to be more concerned about gathering evidence for a DUI conviction than they were about the man’s safety.  They repeatedly referred to me as a victim, which I did not fully realize until later.  The first officer was really very rude.

When the paramedics arrived, they checked the man briefly and loaded him onto a gurney and secured his neck and head and loaded him into the ambulance and transported him to a hospital.

Now it was safe to take pictures of the accident scene, now that the man was safer, no longer in danger of being run over.

Police and emergency vehicles filled the streets with pretty colored lights flashing everywhere.  My little camera and my knowledge of its functions limited the clarity of the photos. Nevertheless, this was the scene.

Here is my part of the police report minus the signature.

I asked the police officer to let me scan it after he gave his part but he said that this was not allowed because of the insurance companies.  I later learned what this means.  I do not know whether or not he knew the real reason but the insurance company did.  The City of Wichita delays the publishing of the report so as to be able to charge the insurance company a fee of $16.00.

Because of this, the man’s insurance company could not assist me immediately.  They were unable to obtain the official report from the City of Wichita and they could not contact their client.  Presumably he was unavailable to return their calls while in jail and then was afraid to answer his phone.

By the way, it turns out that the man lives one block from our house.  In fact, I had to ride my bicycle for transportation to and from the bank, and on my way I saw his truck parked in front of his apartment.  He had it back from the impound lot in driveable condition.  I was left with a crumpled truck forced to a 45 degree angle onto the lawn.  As it turns out, I could actually see his pickup from my driveway.  Incredible!

It was truly disheartening to me that my neighbor did this to me and then took absolutely no care whatsoever for my well-being.  He knew the trouble that he caused me but did nothing to facilitate getting me back on the road and back to work in my tree business.  I dared not allow myself to think about it for very long as it made me angry.  Anger is not a good thing, at least not if allowed to fester.

Amazingly the damage to my irresponsible neighbor’s pickup was comparatively minimal.  My poor old friend was totaled.

Prior to my neighbor’s indiscretion my truck was parked straight in the driveway, backed in as is my usual manner.  But not after he jumped the curb and slammed into it.

As the following photo shows, the front frame was shifted at least 6 inches rightward.  My poor, faithful, old friend was done in.

Replacing him makes me feel like I am betraying an old friend.  That is silly, as it is only a truck, but I do feel that way.  It served me well for many years and miles.

Stephanie and I both give thanks that this did not occur during a time when I could have been under the truck servicing it.  That truly would have been messy.

The old, faithful, gray truck with leprosy but guts and grit has been towed away.  My stomach hurts when I think of it.  Yet, through this, though it has set us back financially, God has provided that I have a newer truck as a replacement.  It seems to be a good truck, too, a 1997 versus the older 1990.  It has fewer miles and better paint and an air conditioner that works.  So in the end, God has again worked good for us, even through difficult circumstances.

If we are willing to see it, He does this in all things, even as St. Paul assures us.

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