The impact of the 80-year-old man’s truck with my 4,600-pound Audi Allroad was other-worldly. My husband focused his evasive maneuvers so that the inevitable impact would be with our right rear quarter panel, instead of my door. The maneuver was successful. Then the impact spun the rear end of our station wagon into a high curb. I screamed at both impacts. Neither injury nor death entered my mind; my entire being was focused only on the horrible spinning, which likely lasted less than a few seconds, that needed to stop.
The 80-year-old man told both me and the deputy sheriff who rushed to the scene that he didn’t see the stop sign. The stop sign enjoys unimpaired visibility at the intersection of one of the city’s quietest streets and the arterial connecting the city limits with the rural county sector, where more people live than live in the city.
When everything stopped, we got out to see the damage. If my passenger door had received the impact instead of the quarter panel behind me. . .I didn’t want to think about the consequences of the outcome my husband skillfully averted, and I still don’t.
My car’s rear frame was almost certainly twisted, given the torqued rear-passenger wheel, but we’ll know for certain Monday or soon after, when our auto body expert assesses the damage. A twisted frame will nearly always invoke the “T” word: T as in Total. This is not a word I ever expected to hear in reference to my beautiful Grünhilde. I expected to grow older than this together. But I am surely thankful for God’s mercy to me.
The Sheriff’s deputy cited the 80-year-old man with failure to yield right of way and failure to obey a traffic control device. A wonderful couple who had been behind the cited driver approached the deputy and my husband and me and gave us their names, addresses, and phone numbers, and assured us they had seen the collision and that they would most certainly be available as witnesses. I was so touched by their kind approach and their diligent sense of duty that I hugged the woman.
The deputy gave us a ride home. Before anything else, I greeted our cat Effie, who was stretched out on the bed awaiting a tummy rub. Then I said through welling tears, “Effie, praise God we still have you!”
We called our insurer’s claims department and gave the details, and then took my husband’s truck to complete our original Walmart mission, and picked up my rental car.
I hope Grünie can be restored to her high-functioning, well-maintained, beautiful self. If that is not to be, I hope she has a doppelgänger somewhere not very far off, with my name on it.