November 22, 2002

Hit and Run

So, I just saw probably the worst thing I’ve ever seen. In the intersection next to work, on the crosswalk I cross serveral times a day, I saw a guy fly through the air, rag doll style, and land on the curb, motionless. I was standing on the opposite side of 4th Street. The first thing I thought was, “Am I really seeing this?” The car which had run a red light, nailed this guy and sent him flying, was already past him when he hit the ground. The car slowed briefly, and then sped away. Impusively I wanted to chase the car. I thought if it hit traffic and I was fast enough I could catch up (presumably to drag out the driver and hold them on the street until the police arrived but I really hadn’t thought that far ahead). I might have started running if there weren’t still cars moving through the intersection in front of me. So I just stood there. The rest of the people in the busy, oddly-shaped intersection weren’t moving either. Everyone was frozen, trying to register what they’d seen and what they were going to do next. Some ran to the guy, a lot got on their phones, several started crying. Being that I have no medical skills at all, and that dozens of people saw what happened better than I did, I walked to my building and watched the rest from the window. The police arrived. Witnesses told them what they’d seen, gesturing with their hands how the guy had spun through the air. The ambulances arrived. They cut the guy’s outer clothes off, swarmed around him, carefully checking him and moving him to a board. Somewhere in there he started moving. He wasn’t dead. The board was put on a stretcher. The stretcher was put on the ambulance. That dust that soaks up blood was put on the ground where his head had landed. The cars left. The cops kept talking to people. I left the window.

Be careful crossing the street. Really careful.