This entry is bit off topic from television. One benefit of working at a television station is that we tend to reach a lot of people, both on the air and over the Internet. I am hoping that my tale might prove to be beneficial to one of you sometime in the future.
Last week I was headed home after a typical workday. When I came upon the turn into my neighborhood, I saw my wife parked on the side of the road with an older model blue Chevy parked behind her car. She and young blonde female were exchanging something back and forth between them. I grabbed the cell phone and called my wife asking "what's going on????". She replied that she had just been hit by this girl, said that she was getting her information. She asked what else should she do. My response was to call the police and file an accident report. Since I had pulled into the neighborhood I went on to the house to look up the non-emergency number and ask for assistance.
Once the police had been contacted I drove back to the scene, only to find that the other driver had left. The young woman had told my wife that she was reaching down to pick up a cigarette, and when she looked back up saw that my wife was stopped, waiting to make a left turn, and that she was unable to stop in time to avoid a collision. My wife had gotten the name, address, phone number and insurance company name from the woman, but nothing more. As the other car drove away my wife was only able to write down 3 letters off the license plate.
We filed the police report and the officer said that he would try to track down the other driver and obtain her insurance information. Fortunately the damage was not too bad. A minor dent and something in the exhaust system was knocked loose. If we are lucky the repairs will be less than $750.
Here's where the story gets interesting and the life lesson emerges.
While my wife tends to be a very trusting individual and expects people to be honest and trustworthy, I will get skeptical at times! While waiting for the police report I decided to start doing a little research. First I found out that the woman gave us a phony address. The street and house number do not even exist in the city listed. A reverse look-up on the cell phone number she provided is registered under a completely different name. Once we obtained the police report, my suspicions were confirmed. The officer noted that he was unable to locate the individual and it appeared that she had falsified the information provided.
When I asked the police officer in the records department what our options were, he suggested that they were few. He also told me that this happens more often than you might think. Then he mentioned that the iPhone has an application that tells users what they should do in an accident and the first tip is "Take a picture of the other car's license plate". I think that is a great piece of advise. These days, who doesn't' t have a cell phone that includes a digital camera? A short walk behind the car, snap a picture, and you have a record of the other person's make and model of car and license plate number.
If my wife had done this, we might have the necessary evidence to track down the other driver. Then we could try to get her to pay for the repairs instead of digging into our own pockets. A life lesson learned, and one to remember.