Thursday, October 2, 2008

I Fought the Law, and the Law Won

Actually, I didn't fight the law. If anything, I fought on the side of the law.

In April, I witnessed a one-car traffic accident. The car turned right (from the left lane) at a high rate of speed, travelled in front of me already in a 4-wheel skid, and tried to turn into a side road. He almost made it - except he hit a curb, which launched the car into the air. It landed on its top, and rolled over onto its wheels.

It was just like the movies. Except real. And very loud.

I was in shock. By the time I processed what had happened, I had travelled well past the scene, and really didn't know what to do. John convinced me later that evening to call the local police department. When the officer called me back, he took my story, and very apologetically said he would have to subpoena me as a witness for the state.

Oh, goody.

So, after many months of delays, we all got to go to municipal court tonight. I must say, it was a fascinating slice of life. And the judge was fabulous - no nonsense but reasonable, very entertaining, and fluent in Spanish. Most impressive. Our case finally got called after about an hour, and the judge sent the young man and his mother (I assume) in to talk to the prosecutor. I took the chance to run out to go to the bathroom, and of course, ran into them in the hallway. I made the mistake of telling them I was a witness in the case (and where I was going), because of course, I didn't want to be AWOL, and I got an EARFUL about how they didn't know there was going to be a trial and they had witnesses too and...

Look, lady, I'm just trying to do my civic duty here, and I've GOT to pee. Fortunately the police office stuck his head out in the hallway just then so I told him where I was going.

By the time I got back to court, and knitted a little more, the officer came back in and told the judge they had decided to plead guilty. The judge asked if the witnesses had talked to the prosecutor and they HAD to have that opportunity before he'd accept any plea. So we (there were two of us) went in, the prosecutor clarified that it was a one-car accident, said they were pleading guilty to all the charges, and did we have any problem with that?

Mmm, no, not really.

Ok, thanks for coming, and you can go home now.

So I missed choir and rushed through dinner and freaked out (a little, ok, maybe slightly more than that) and never even had to tell the story. And the young man hopefully has learned a lesson (I can hope, right?).

And my conscience is clear. And I started a hat for JC and got more than a third done just in court.


Jill in MA said...

Exhausting and anticlimactic, wasn't it? Something like this happened to me once a long, long, long time ago. (Remember the "incident" at the dorm when what's-his-name got in trouble for being involved in you-know-what?) I was called as a witness to the Cambridge court house. We sat in a conference room for a while, then the lawyers settled, and we went home. I don't recall being given an opportunity to present my story (not that I wanted to.)

I'm glad you called the police -- most people wouldn't have. And I'm really, really glad you didn't get hurt in the accident!!

Lisa C said...

I'm glad you didn't get hurt either! I've witnessed a few bad accidents, and have always called in to report things, even just car fires to the non-emergency line since others often have called before me. I hate to say it but I bet he didn't learn his lesson, or at least not as fully as we'd like. Kids think they live forever, at least in my experience.

Court is always anti-climatic for me. Even when I've gone to support clients in cases related to murder, etc. Somehow it's not nearly as dramatic as they make it out on TV, I can't imagine why! Luckily I've never had to be on the stand though...THAT would have been more nerve racking.

Glad you had a decent experience though and have a clear conscious.

ooolia said...

the "accident" sounds scary. I'm NOT looking forward to my kids learning how to drive.

Every time I've been to court, I've found it to be mind-numbingly boring.


Bill said...

tis the reason I have the local dispatch center's non-emergency number programmed in the cell phone. I've called in more than once to report somebody that was a hazard to themselves and others.