So Far, So Far

My mom hit a kid with the van tonight. She’s shaken up pretty bad so I don’t have all of the details. It was dark and it’s winter in Illinois, so he was in the road, not on the sidewalk. The cop didn’t ticket her. But she’s distraught. If only she’d gone some other way home. If only she’d waited five minutes more before leaving for home. It sounds like a genuine terrible accident–just a confluence of events you wish had somehow gone differently.

It’s tough. I don’t know what to say to her. I just mostly listened. She’s most distraught that she won’t know, because he’s a minor, what happens to him, if he’ll be okay.

He was talking, though, to her and to the people who stopped to help. So, I told her that’s a good sign.

Still, that poor kid. Just trying to get to the bus stop so he can get home and gets hit.

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9 thoughts on “So Far, So Far

  1. It’s my nightmare on both ends–people don’t realize how hard they are to see in the dark. I always crawl up DB Todd after dark because kids are out in the street like, if they can see you, you must be able to see them. And that’s just not always the case. And I’m terrified when I’m out walking in the road in the morning that someone isn’t going to see me.

    The worst thing (aside from this poor kid) is that I wear a bright safety orange coat when I walk because my mom insisted on buying it for me.

    This is exactly the kind of thing she’s afraid of happening.

  2. What a dreadful thing. Here’s a third for the “hope they’re both OK” — but if the kid was talking, was he just banged up but walking, or was he being removed on a stretcher? If it’s the former, probably no one will ever tell your mother anything, with him being a minor. But if it’s the latter, if he’s hurt enough to have to be taken to a hospital, I’m pretty sure that a sympathetic police officer or hospital person would give your mother the general outlines (“he had his leg set and will get out in a couple of days”) just to reassure her. The privacy of minors needs to be protected, but most people aren’t the kind of jerks who would leave a worried adult in life-long suspense about the general outcome.

  3. He went to the hospital. Mom thought he might have broken his leg, but he was pretty heavily bundled up (considering the weather) so she couldn’t see if it was at a weird angle or anything.

    I told her she’s bound to find out how he ends up once the insurance nightmare starts. But I wonder about that for the homeowner, too, if he had any legal obligation to keep the sidewalk clear, for this very reason.

  4. ugh, I used to worry about this too where I used to live in Belmont. Halfway to the top of Cedar where the street meets Oakland a group of kids would play in the street right there at the intersection. And the way the street lights – or lack thereof – are positioned, the spot they play in is dark. I don’t know how I missed them so many times. And cars fly down that street – they fly up it because you have to get such momentum to go up that steep hill.

    Bless your Mom and that kid. I hope they’re both okay.

  5. I talked to her at lunch and she’s still pretty shaken up. She and my dad went to look at the scene and she said there’s nothing really to see in the daylight. He was almost to the bus stop–where he was heading. The snow on the sidewalk made it impossible to walk on, so, if he needed the bus, he had to get out in the street. I think the most frustrating part is that my mom really wants to know he’s okay and to apologize. Even though the cop said it was clear she didn’t do anything legally wrong, she still feels terrible. But we’re not really set up as a society for people to express remorse without it being taken as admission of legal culpability. So, I told her she shouldn’t act on that impulse, except through a lawyer. But that really sucks.

  6. I’m so sorry. For everybody in the scenario. Your poor mom.

    It gets dark early up here and the roads, though generally clear themselves, are bordered by about a foot of snowpack from many snows and no days above freezing, plus big, dirty berms thrown up by the plows. Many–most–sidewalks are still impassable and will be until we get a few warmer days (then we will likely have floods, yay).

    I know she did nothing wrong, but this has to hurt her conscience, just as a kind, normal, humane person. I hope he is not hurt badly (and gets better fast), that someone lets her know that, and that she gets to peace with herself. And I hope the “Why was he there in the first place” people DIAF.

  7. My brother was out driving in a neighborhood with lots of hills and blind corners. While he was stopped at a stop sign, two kids on bikes came hurtling down the hill and hit *him*. One of them was seriously hurt, the other was ok. He felt terrible, even though there was literally no way he could have prevented what happened. His baby son was in the back and the window got shattered from the impact so he ended up covered in safety glass (but was ok) so he had that trauma too. I think the guilt is just something you can’t escape even when you know intellectually you are not at fault.

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