Along the Natchez Trace

Friday, August 30, 2013

I (Can't) Walk The Line....

Am I singing that Johnny Cash song?


We were involved in an automobile accident this evening. (Thursday)
The driver of the car that hit us couldn't even take one straight step.

First off, we were with Alberta, Bill's sister, and we all are okay.
We had been to her company's picnic and it was over early so we decided to drive out to see a new casino that has been built since we were here last.
Right at the entrance to the casino there is a left turn lane with a separate turn signal.  Alberta was driving her car and while we were waiting for the light to turn, I started to take a photo of the gorgeous sunset.
The car shook violently, there was a huge bang, and then we settled back on all four tires again.  Then a car zoomed around us on the driver's side and turned into the casino drive.  We all scrabbled to find our glasses and put them on... and managed to get the license number.  (All of us got our glasses either knocked off or askew!)
Bill was in the back seat and I think he got jerked around the most...  his head hit the back seat rest.  Alberta was clutching the steering wheel so hard her hands still hurt.  What happened to me is kind of ridiculous...  I was holding my little Canon up to my eye and when the car was hit, I guess I slammed the camera into my glasses and cheek bone.  (now that it's over I can think of all kind of one-liners about the dangers of taking too many pictures).

 A witness who was behind the "hit and run" car also got his license number and she called the sheriff as she was walking up to see if we were okay.
I have no idea how much damage was done...  only that the force of the hit could have caused structural damage that doesn't show here. (I've obliterated license plate numbers for privacy)

We were told to pull into the casino drive and wait for the sheriff.  As we're waiting for the law to arrive, this truck pulls up beside us. 
After the guy hit us and drove into the casino area, he ran into this guys truck.
The man driving the truck said there didn't seem to be any damage to his truck and he had to take his wife to work...  and he left.  But he added that the hit and run driver was up at the casino entrance, passed out at the wheel and that security had taken the keys to the car.

We waited a long time for the police to arrive...  this is on the Reservation and they had to drive from Shiprock.  Once they did arrive, they went directly to the hit and run driver.

Apparently, the second crash deployed his seat bags.
Bill walked up to the casino and took this picture...  the driver was sitting in his car, awake by then, and was talking to bystanders...  and the police.

It took quite a while to get around to us....  We watched as the guy failed the "walk the line" test, as well as whatever else he was asked to do.
He kept complaining that the police were violating his rights.

They finally hauled him away....  cuffed.  As the police were trying to get him to get into the cruiser, the guy kept saying he "seriously had to go to the restroom".  Shiprock is about 30 miles away...  I hope that cruiser has plastic seat covers.

The guys family was in the casino...  they came out to "claim" the vehicle.  I guess it was driveable, although there did appear to be antifreeze or water coming from under the hood.

When the police finally got around to Alberta, it took another half hour or so to get information...  insurance (the other driver has no insurance), registration etc.  He got statements from all three of us.  And the young woman who was 2 cars behind us and had called the law stayed around and gave her statement....  including the fact that the driver had passed her on the berm just before ramming into Alberta at the traffic light.

I know cars can be fixed and I am thankful that we are all okay.  I am also thankful that that young man didn't kill or maim anyone with his stupidity tonight.
I was not happy to learn that when driving on the Reservation, Native Americans (probably everyone?) are not required to have insurance.

Alberta will have to bear the cost of the whole thing...  her insurance premium will no doubt go up.  It will take time to get her car fixed.  
I just remind myself again that we are all okay.

And, if you're really interested....
It really was a beautiful sunset this evening.

That's All For Today!


  1. I didn't know that Native Americans do not need insureance on reservations. I guess it is "their" own country or what ever was left over after the non-natives moved in.

  2. This is one of those little things that people either don't know or choose to forget about going on a reservation. It's like you're going into a foreign country. All bets are off.
    Funny that he thought his "rights" were being violated. Good luck with that. I think smashing into two (or was it more? I lost count) vehicles is more than enough "probable cause" to haul him out of his vehicle and take him off to jail.
    If he's a Native, he'll likely get off...

  3. Hm. Forgot to say. (poor form on my part)
    Glad to see you're all OK. Sucks about the car, but it's just a car.

  4. No insurance? that's crazy. ! so glad you all are okay. scary...

  5. So glad you guys are okay. But I bet you're stiff and sore today. Did the camera give you a black eye? Hope they don't just let him off but have some kind of punishment they can dole out.

  6. If he was driving that drunk it is probably not his first time getting caught. He may not have to have insurance, but I'm sure he's not excluded from getting a DUI. If it's not his first it might take him off the road for good. Glad you are all ok.

  7. The good news is you all are OK. Sounds like it's time to move on. At least get off the reservation.

  8. Glad you are all okay. Doesn't it seem that stupid drivers never have insurance?? Just like the one who rear-ended us at a stoplight a few months back. Frustrating - but as you say, it's a car and can be fixed. Hope you all are not too sore today. It doesn't take much to shake up these old bodies. Oh - nice sunset picture!!

  9. Sorry to hear about your accident. Thank goodness no one was seriously injured!

  10. An event like that really shakes you up even if you're not injured. I'm glad you're okay but it does stay with you for a while.

  11. What a lousy way to spend an evening! It's a shame the drunk driver can get away with having no auto insurance.

  12. What a mess. I've often wondered what would happen if we got into an accident on a reservation. Some of them have signs letting you know that you're entering a sovereign nation and subject to their specific laws, which may be quite different than the state/federal laws. That has generally made me uncomfortable as I'm not sure how things would be handled. Guess you'll find out!

    But as you note, everyone is OK and that is what matters most.


  13. The difference in insurance on reservations is a good thing to know. I spend a fair amount of my off time on reservations around here. Glad you are all ok.

  14. Glad you got out of this relatively unscathed. I guess it will be good to review each "nation's" laws online before entering.

  15. Sharon, glad everyone in your family was OK, but too bad about the car damage and added cost. And, if the one who caused the accident has insurance, it may be possible to get that company to foot the bill by having Alberta's insurance company go after them...seems like the right thing to do. And, you had quite a dramatic post too.

  16. Not a fun time for sure, but as everyone else has said, I'm glad no one was hurt.

  17. Great sunset! The rest, well, . . . Glad all is well.

  18. Just another sad story about drinking and driving - thank God, nobody was hurt or killed. It's a disease. I'm sorry for all of you, including the young man whose 'thinking' was so messed up by the booze. And, he probably still thinks it was somebody else's fault. Anybody who argues after having been drinking has a problem!
    Yes, it was a great sunset - is the word "Cannon" imprinted on your forehead ? ----- Oh, bad on me!!

  19. These events are so outrageous. Glad there were no serious injuries. We know how you may feel. Our second month of full timing, we were hit by a drunk driver in Louisiana. The first ding on our new motorhome was a dandy. The only satisfaction we had was watching him handcuffed and taken off to jail. Of course, it also turned out that he had no insurance.

    We found that it took awhile to get over this event.