I think my truck is possessed...or maybe I'm just not that good of a driver. The "Red Dragon" and I ended up in a fender bender this morning. I own a 2005 Toyota Tacoma Pre-Runner and it's the best truck I have ever owned, but damn if we haven't had problems over the years with other cars.
Including today's blunder, I have been in 5 altercations since driving it off the dealership back in October of '05. None of which have been my fault except this most recent mishap. There was the incident where I had my own consulting job, providing environmental compliance inspections for work sites, where the roadway gave way and I slid into a huge boulder...it scrapped the side pretty good but no real damage. Then I was "hit & run" on opening night after the Canes won the Stanley Cup in '06. Some asshole, excuse my language, backs into me and drives off...I was parked underneath a street lamp that had a security camera...which wasn't functioning. Then I was sideswiped in my assigned parking lot by the guy next to me. He was nice enough to find me in my office and tell me what happened...but guess what? That's right...he didn't have any insurance! Two months after that little experience I'm heading home on NC 401 in rush hour traffic; I hear screeching brakes behind me and look up just in time to see a Honda Civic neatly try and park itself under my rear bumper. It suffered the brunt of the impact and I only had to replace my bumper. I have come to the disappointing conclusion, that, where vehicles are involved I don't have a damn "Lucky Irish" bone in my body.
So what happened in this most recent accident? I hate running behind, but I found myself doing it this morning and that tends to make me "press the envelope" more than I should. Although, in this particular incident, I was stopped at an intersection waiting for the green light on Jones St. downtown Raleigh and I noticed another car in my rear view mirror coming through the previous intersection...and pretty damn fast. My light turns green and I proceed through the light. Mind you, the turn into the parking lot was just past this intersection on the right hand side across form the Governor's mansion...you literally have to slow down or brake like I did ,just to make the turn. It was apparent that the guy behind me was in a bigger hurry than me and was annoyed that he had to slow for some guy "Driving Miss Daisy" around. He completely distracted me to the point that I cut short my turn into the lot. I had seen this Chevrolet parked on the side near the entrance and thought I was going to clear it and initially, when I felt the car brush up against the other car, I thought it was just the curb...not the usual "metal on metal" sound you normally get. It just didn't feel right and I cleared the entrance and pulled over. I walked around to my side and sure enough, there was a crease of white paint on my back passenger door panel.
"Whew...," I sort of breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I could live with the slight damage. After all, it is a truck and a ding like this will just give it a little character. I then walked the 75 feet to the other car and was in total shock to the damage I caused. I couldn't believe that such a "lite" collision could be so destructive...seriously, at the time I wasn't even sure I had hit the car. What the hell are these new automobiles made of...Lego blocks? The driver side bumper was peeled back...it was the only true damage that I could tell...but it was far enough exposed that as I leaned in closer for a better view and I could see STYROFOAM between the PLASTIC bumper and the actual car body. My mind instantly raced back to the movie, EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE with Clint Eastwood and that Orangutan. Eastwood has a line in it, "Scrap the caddy Clyde" where he instructs the ape to tear apart the gangsters Cadillac. I'm thinking an eight year old child with one arm tied behind his back could have done the same damage to that car before I hit it.
I could have driven away...I guess...it didn't cross my mind til the police officer thanked me for NOT DRIVING AWAY!! I've been through this...the "hit and run" thing and it sucks when your on the end that gets the proverbial shaft. Besides I have a TEXAS sized conscience and I knew that this car belonged to some old lady who probably didn't have a dime to her name. Sure enough, after calling the cops and their dispatcher tracking down the owner, out from the Archives Building from across the other side of the Governor's mansion walks up this lady. She had to be in her late fifties or early sixties...and has her arms crossed in that little old lady manner and looks at me...knowing that I'm the "rat bastard" that has ruined her day. She walks around her car and surveys the damage and I can tell she is also astounded to the damage that I caused and frustratingly asks, "How did you hit my parked car?" I was at a loss for words and the only thing I could tell her was, "sorry, it was an accident."
She had every right to be mad or angry...after all it was my fault...I'm thinking she thought that I was going to admit to something like "texting" while driving or that I was an incorrigible drunk that finally got caught. She eventually realized that I wasn't this horrible monster after the police officer explained to her that I had actually called them and she also verified to her that I had insurance. We exchanged info and I said "sorry" fifty more times and the police officer gave us a copy of the accident report. The lady walked back to her car and just starred at the damage. I left, shaking my head, and wondering why some people have "shitty" luck.