Sunday, January 09, 2011


My friend drives very carefully. We were chatting about something and he suddenly made a big fuss about something up ahead. He claims that he hit the horn for a good second as he brought the car to a stop about 60 feet before reaching the 4-way intersection with 4 stop signs, but I don't even remember.

What I saw was a full-size white pickup truck moving in from the right, I'll guess 33 mph, just as a large black 4-door truck or SUV was picking up speed towards us through the four-way intersection. Neither truck seemed to slow down, and the fraction of a second before the obviously imminent collision seemed to last much longer than it possible could have. The white truck struck the black truck just ahead of the black truck's driver, pushing the black truck sideways maybe 10 feet and totaling it.

The forward momentum of the black truck yanked the front of the white truck towards us, spinning it counter-clockwise 120 degrees, pointing approximately towards us. As it rotated I could see the driver flop down into the front passenger area. In an eerie 4 seconds after the main cacophony of smashing mettle and shattering headlights, the white truck, evidently without a cognizant driver, lazily bounced off the wreckage and meandered over to us, coming to rest just a couple feet ahead of our bumper. About the time it stopped, I remarked "maybe we should back up a little."

I called 911 somewhat reluctantly considering that there were many witnesses and I figured the lines would be jammed, but the attendant said I was the only caller. As I called, all four doors of the four-door truck opened and about that many people climbed out, much to my surprise, and went into the conveniently-located gas station to clean up or buy snacks or make sense of their lives, I guess. The driver of the white truck also climbed out. I happily informed the 911 dispatcher that it looked like everyone was out OK but I emphasized that both vehicles were totaled as if I needed to prove that it really was an important accident I was calling about. And for good measure I noted that one of the guys appeared to have a well-bloodied head. Then we left.


Blogger David Troyer said...

in my limited experience I've found that people in pittsburgh are very reluctant to dial 911.

5:06 AM  
Blogger My Freakwentness said...

hmm. well this was pretty far out, near Seven Springs.

5:34 AM  
Blogger Rose McDougall said...

i am glad you are okay! well-written description though

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apart from the intense drama here and my happiness that you're intact, what's striking is the pure, coherent accounting of the occasion. Here's a true mathematician.


11:31 AM  

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