Big excitement in my 'hood yesterday. I was standing on the back porch watching my wife paint when we heard a loud bang.
"That sounded like a car hit something," says me.
"Better make sure it wasn't your car that got hit," says she.
I ran out front. The Altima was untouched (other than by bird shit, but that's par for the course). But I could see the accident up the street a bit, so I went back in the house, got the camera and called 911. The accident had already been reported, so I was free to go rubberneck.
The accident happened where my street curves. Most people who drive it know where the bend is and adjust their speed accordingly, but some folks don't. For example, the drunk who wiped out in that same spot last December.
As I got to the current wreck -- or "the scene," as we law enforcement professionals like to call them -- I saw two guys running away. I assumed that these were the culprits. The scene itself was pretty impressive: three vehicles mashed together. One, a pick-up truck, was pushed off the curb and onto the sidewalk. The truck had been pushed into a Monte Carlo parked in front of it. Both of these vehicles belonged to the same family, which sucks for them.The vehicle that caused the crash was a Lincoln Town Car. The crowd that had gathered was describing two black males who fled the scene. The guys that I thought were the culprits were in fact area residents who were chasing the actual culprits. I also discovered that the Lincoln had sideswiped two other vehicles on its way to the "real" crash.
Eventually, one lone cop and an EMS vehicle showed up. And soon after, one of the dudes that fled returned. The small crowd started yelling at the cop to get the guy. She had her hand on his wrist but he broke free and ran off. This was turning into an episode of COPS.
Meanwhile, an EMS tech walked over to the Lincoln and opened the driver's door. A little package fell out. "That looks like crack!" she yelped. "Don't touch it -- it's evidence!"
I took a picture of the crack, too:After about 10 minutes, the squad car returned with the guy who had fled, come back and then fled again. Can you charge somebody with leaving the scene of an accident twice for the same accident?
About 10 minutes after that, a second cop car rolled up with the other chap in custody. It seems that the neighborhood vigilantes has caught up with the guy and somehow restrained him until the real cops showed up. One of the neighborhood protectors was a stocky little redneck wearing a White Zombie t-shirt and a mohawk. Turns out his brother's car was the first car sideswiped. No wonder he gave chase.
You think the suspects are all paid up on their car insurance?
The whole incident was pretty exciting and after the happy ending (bad guys caught, wrecked vehicles cleaned up, no damage to anything I own), it made me glad to know that when the shit hits the fan, the people in my neighborhood look out for each other.
Also, I'm glad our house isn't directly on the curve in the street.
But wait, there's more...
When I got back to the house, I pitched in and helped my wife paint the back porch. She was tired and took a nap. I decided to go on a bike ride. I was donning my helmet when suddenly, all of a sudden, I heard a bunch of vehicles flying down my street. I went outside to investigate.
I saw nothing amiss on the street itself, but a did see thick plumes of black smoke off in the distance. Only it wasn't the distance, it was more like, two blocks away. As I was already wearing the helmet, I decided to ride my bike towards where all the commotion was. When I got in the alley behind the house, it was full of smoke and the smell of something burning.
When I got to the scene, I saw three fire trucks, one ambulance and two cop cars had the street blocked. An apartment building had suffered some major damage, but it looked like the firefighters had everything under control. I considered getting the camera, but thought better of it because the emergency personnel probably wouldn't have allowed me to get too close. I went for my bike trip instead.
When I got back about 90 minutes later, I rode over to see if they were done. Three of the four local TV stations (including the one at which I work) had crews there, but everything was pretty much over and done with.