Friday, September 2, 2016

Hit and Run...and CHASE!

So I was the victim of a hit and run. Crazy! I was stopped at the red light at Cedar Bluff Road and Bob Gray Road, in the turning lane, when BAM! I was hit hard in the rear. So hard...that a two-liter Diet Pepsi from my back seat hit me in the back of the head. I was momentarily stunned when I realized what had happened and the guy who hit me fled the scene in his black Ford F-150 truck. Adrenaline flowed. Without hesitation, I instinctively gave chase!
Here I must explain a couple of things: First: I have noticed that when I am in an adrenalin-induced state, I think much more clearly. In fact, things seem to go in slow motion to me. I am able to multi-task and I am able to think ahead and consider different scenarios. Oh, to be this way all the time!
Second: I have always secretly wanted to be in a car chase. Perhaps it is irresponsible, but every boy wants to experience the Dukes of Hazzard, Smokey and the Bandit, Fast and Furious, and, my personal favorite, Bullitt with Steve McQueen. It's like living out a childhood dream! Besides, I didn't want this guy to get away before I got his license plate number! I was thinking about my insurance rate skyrocketing!
Me, in high-speed pursuit. Kidding.
Wagoneers are made for racing! Kidding.
Back to the story: I ran the red light at which I was stopped and chased him to Middlebrook, and to Chert Pit. I had already grabbed my phone and was dialing 911. The Pepsi was rolling around in the floor at my feet. The guy turned on several back roads and I was chasing him, hoping to get close enough to see his plate. The 911 operator answered. As often as I could truthfully, I told him we were driving safe and legally (I was afraid he would make me stop chasing!). Truth is, the moment I told him that, it was the truth. But on other moments during the chase (many other moments) I was barking and squealing the tires, pushing the Wagoneer as hard as possible. This was especially challenging due to the fact that the back seat and cargo area were full of heavy stuff—like the 80-pound vintage camper refrigerator that was banging around back there as I was virtually on two wheels around corners.
Success! I caught up with the pickup. At one point, the guy had to stop for traffic. I was honking. The perp actually got out of his truck and began walking back toward me! I was thinking what I would do if he pulled a gun. "Simple," I thought. "I'll just run him over." I rolled down the window to ask him to pull over. As soon as I told him that I was speaking with 911 he jumped back in the truck and sped off even faster! I now had a complete look at his face, even the color of his eyes! Again, the Wag held it's ground. I have wondered if he must have thought, "I can't shake this Wagoneer!!" Yeah, baby. That's right. Don't mess with the Wag. 360 cubic inches of American Motors iron. (Sorry...I drifted off there for a second.) Truth is I realized that I was about to run out of gas. I stayed on his tail until Emory Road in Powell! That's when my Wagoneer stalled. The tank was empty. I was still on the phone with 911. The guy was great. He sent a deputy to me. I put gas in my tank from the can of gas I had in the back. The damage was way less than I thought it would be by the force of the collision. Did I mention American Steel? They don't make 'em like they used to. The deputy asked for my info, license, registration, proof of insurance, etc. I asked him, "Did any of the six or so people who were at the traffic light who saw the accident call in and report it?" He answered, "No, but several called in about the car chase." My still-adrenalin-filled response was a quote from Buford T. Justice in Smokey and the Bandit: "I was in high-speed pursuit of a MANIAC!" The very professional deputy could not help it. He laughed. The license plate number I provided made it possible for them to find the perp. He lived with his dad and/or grandfather on Emory Rd. The officer wanted me to follow him there and sit in a driveway up the street until he needed me (I assume so that I could identify him).
By the time the deputy needed me, I had begun to realize that God may have allowed me to be hit by this guy for a reason. Maybe God wanted me to help him somehow, or at least start a relationship.
The deputy told me, "We got him. He confessed to everything. He's going to jail." Turns out he'd been in trouble before. I explained to the deputy that I was a Christian, and harbor no hard feelings. I asked if there was a chance I could meet with him at the County Jail? He said he'd see what he could do.
Long story short, the damage was worse than what the images below show. The frame was bent and the passenger-side doors were very hard to open and the back fender and quarter panel were bent and bowed. Also the bumper was bent and cracked. But you should have seen the perp's truck!

So the good news is that because I gave chase the insurance company didn't charge me with liability. The adjuster (a really nice guy) came out and they totaled the Wagoneer, and I get to keep it minus a buy back amount. Looks like I should have enough to get the whole thing repainted! That was something I was hoping to be able to do due to the small rust spots and scratches it has. I'm thankful!