Sunday, May 14, 2006

And what I still can't stop thinking about...

I've mentioned the busy state highway we travel on daily. It runs between 2 towns, with 2 lanes heading east and 2 lanes heading west with a turn lane in the middle. Speed limit is 55mph. Lots of houses and businesses line it on both sides. Locally, it has a nickname like death alley or something. Though, all roads can be death alleys with the idiots out there.

Kev's days off where Thursday and Friday this past week, but he took an afternoon shift on Friday to cover for someone who wanted Friday night off. He didn't want to work it, but it's give and take there... sometime when he wants to take time off, someone else has to give up their free time and work Kev's shift. So he worked 3:30pm to 11:30pm, which would get him home at midnight (and then back into work by 7:30am the next morning to start his weekend day-12's).

Joyce had went out to a late movie with some girlfriends, and she got home a little bit before midnight. She had called me on her way home, and then she called and talked to her dad, who was in his truck and driving home.

Kev didn't show up at midnight, and finally called me close to 12:30am. He hit a guy with his truck. A person, a drunk person, walking in the middle of the 2 lanes heading west. It was a rainy night, overcast, no moonlight or starlight, and the guy was wearing all dark clothing, including a black or dark gray hoodie, with the hood up. Walking in the middle of the 2 lanes with his back to Kev. Somehow, Kev did not hit him full on, but clipped the guy's right elbow (from behind) with his driver's side mirror. Un-fucking-believable. (hey, this situation calls for the use of the F word)

Of course, Kev didn't know it was only the guy's elbow at first. Hours and hours later, Kev is still sick about it. He thought he had killed the guy.

Kev pulled off the road, expecting to have to protect some body in the middle of the road from oncoming traffic. Instead, the guy pops out from around the back of the pickup, saying something about hitchhiking for so long and Kev being the first one to stop for him. Scared the crap outta Kev. Kev told him, dude, I didn't stop to give you a ride, I stopped because I hit you with my truck. Holy crap. Amazingly, the guy didn't appear injured. He told Kev something like, yeah, you clipped my elbow... "don't hurt much though."

Kev called 9-1-1, then kept talking to the guy to try and calm him down (and keep him there). The guy told 3 different stories to Kev... 1) he said he was crossing the road, 2) he said he was off on the side of the road lighting a cigarette and couldn't believe Kev drove off the road to hit him, and 3) he said he was hitchhiking on the edge of the road. OMG.

The sheriff deputies finally showed up. One talked with Kev and got the story, and when Kev told him he couldn't believe that he hadn't killed the guy and couldn't believe the guy's elbow wasn't busted up... the deputy told Kev that the guy was so drunk he wasn't feeling anything.

They put handcuffs on the drunk and took him away, and then they let Kev continue on home.

I have one seriously tired husband. It was an awful experience for him, mostly, I'm sure, because he keeps reliving those seconds when he hit the guy and thought he had killed him.

Me, I'm pissed. I'm planning to take the drunk to small claims court to recoup what we'll have to spend to replace the mirror unit on our truck. I'd love to slap him, too.

The deputy got real close to Kev's face, shined his flashlight in Kev's eyes and wanted to know what Kev was doing out on the road after midnight. Kev explained he was coming home from work, and there on the passenger seat of Kev's truck sat his lunchbox, safety glasses, 2 gallons of milk & bread he bought on the way home... but can you imagine all the "what ifs"... Like what if it was just some neighborhood couple, coming home on a Friday night from their friends' where they had a couple of beers and played cards, heading home to let the babysitter go on home. Not drunk, but just those couple of beers would be enough to cause them a huge hassle by hitting some dumbass, piece of crap, deadbeat stupid drunk.

But mostly, what if Kev had gotten a couple of seconds to see that drunk and react... what if he had swerved and rolled the truck and died, or been crippled... That's what I can stop thinking about.

On this highway, there is one spot, not too far from a rather dumpy trailer park, where there are 2 bars, not directly across the road from each other, but real close. Dive bars. Drunks crossing the highway there has long been a problem. Stopped getting served at one bar, hey, wander across the road to the other one and see how much more drunk you can get.

One night, quite a few years ago, a woman from our neighborhood hit one of those drunks, and it killed him. It was an awful situation for her. I suppose for the drunk, too, and maybe his family. But I do not care about him. That woman is from a family I've known all my life, and she graduated with one of my sister's. She's a good person from a good family, and what she and her family went through because some stupid drunk decided to walk in front of her car was terrible.

Maybe that's heartless of me, maybe that drunk had horrid problems in his life, problems he couldn't cope with... maybe he was abused as a kid and never learned how to cope... whatever. That guy didn't have one bad night of drinking; he was a drunk and a regular at both of those dive bars. I have very little sympathy for drunks like that.

When I was about 7 years old, a drunk driver - a chronic drunk driver who had caused car accidents before due to his drinking - going about 80mph on the very same highway, slammed into the back of my uncle's car, killing 2 of my cousins that were in the back seat. Joey was 10 and Randy was 9.

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