This one time I was driving towards town in a 70kph zone one sunny morning. I was just rounding a gradual right hand bend when a beat-up red car coming from the other direction crossed over the centre line. It smashed into the rear right hand side door of a small grey/blue car travelling in my lane, which was ahead of me by about 30m at the time. Bits of glass from the lights and a part of the bumper of the red car fell off and scattered across the road.
The grey/blue car came to a stop in the middle of the lane, as did I, but the collision barely slowed the red car down, in fact, it crossed back to it’s side of the road and sped off!
I couldn’t believe it! The driver didn’t even stop to check if the other driver was ok!
Because the collision wasn’t too severe (a head on would have been quite bad) I decided to abandon the victim too. I wasn’t going to let this guy get away with a hit and run so I spun the car around and went after him.
He turned off several times into side streets trying to shake me. But his car was a piece of junk and one wheel was jambed up against a crumpled wheel well so it certainly wasn’t a high speed pursuit. I was beeping my horn and flashing my lights to let him know I wasn’t going anywhere. We ended up in a very quiet suburb when he finally pulled over.
I didn’t have a cellphone on me so I suddenly felt very alone.
I got out, as did he, and we talked. He told me he’d been at a party all night, had been drinking heavily and had only had a few hours sleep before deciding to drive home this morning. He had fallen asleep at the wheel when he had hit the other car. And one point he said “if it wasn’t for you, I’d be long gone by now”. Which worried me.
And I told him that his only option was to go and hand himself in to the police station near by and I wasn’t leaving until I witnessed him do exactly that. I assured him that the police would go easy on him because he had taken responsibility for his actions.
After about an hour of talking (including some very long silences), he finally agreed. We got into our cars, and as bits of tire and more bumper fell off his car, we drove another 4km to the nearest police station. He parked outside it and I parked further away and watched him go inside before I drove straight home.
When I got home I looked up the phone number for that police station and called. I asked “Did ‘John Smith’ just hand himself in?” After a short pause the officer said “yes” and I immediately hung up, satisfied.
And that’s the end of the story. The police didn’t trace my phone call and give me an award, the guy didn’t hunt me down and beat me up, and I didn’t try and find out what happened to him.
I’ll do the same thing all over again if I get the chance, because it’s the right thing to do.
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