Monday August 13, 2007

A car crash I witnessed

car crash diagram

Going home on Friday around 7:20 pm, I was right behind another car that got hit in this intersection in Hollywood. One person was pretty badly hurt, and I ended up talking to the police about it. Here’s what happened.

First of all, all the streets in the diagram are one-way. Tyler is three lanes Westbound, of which the leftmost lane is a turn-only lane onto Dixie Highway. Dixie and N. 21st Ave are 3 lanes each, respectively Southbound and Northbound, bisected by railroad tracks. The group of cars on Tyler were all standing at a red light. Car [A] is the car that got hit, a Mercury Grand Marquis or some similar big 4-door 90s American car, [B] is me, © is a bus, [D] is the other car that witnessed the crash and stopped. We’re all standing at a red light, and when it turned green, we all went. Because of the size of the intersection, it’s not uncommon for cars to get into the turning lane and change to the center lane to continue along Tyler, and that’s what both [A] and [B] did. At this point, I’m just about to the railroad tracks, and I see car [E] zipping down Dixie Highway. [A] saw him too, and swerved left before the hit, but it was too late.

The front driver’s side corner of car [E] hit the front passenger-side door of car [A], which then hit a cinder-block wall between the sidewalk and front lot of the building on the Southwest corner. [B] and [D] pulled into the parking lot right next to that.

I got out of my car and saw that the lady in car [D] was already calling 911. There were three people in car [A], and the lady in the passenger seat looked hurt, and in serious pain. Several panicked moments ensued wherein the lady calling 911 was being asked a million questions about the situation, and the other people in the car were yelling trying to speed things along, though of course the ambulance had already been dispatched. First they were saying she couldn’t breathe, then that she was having trouble breathing. With her door busted in and up against the wall, the only way to get to her was through the driver’s side door, and there was obviously very little anyone on the scene could do to help her. Soon one police officer got there, followed shortly by the ambulance.

This was perhaps the most uncomfortable few moments of the whole thing, because the paramedics don’t really have any magic, and things are not instantly better when they’re there (although their presence makes a big psychological difference). They got in the car and checked the lady’s vital signs and asked her some questions to try to figure out her situation before moving her. Eventually they put a neck brace on her and carefully got her onto a stretcher and got out of there, along with the two guys from her car. After that the police interviewed me and the two people in car [D], got our information, and let us go. Before I left, I walked over the the guy from car [E] to see if he was OK, and got out of there. But something tells me this isn’t the last I’m going to be hearing about this.

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