Monday, January 3, 2011

Tales from the Lost Months: Jury Duty Ice Road Trucking/Subaruing Blues (PART 2)

On more than one occasion, I’ve received advice from neighbors and friends as to the best method for traversing icy, hilly roads, specifically in our neighborhood. Mostly they advise sticking to graveled areas, which is wise enough. More than one, however, has advised that if your tires start to slide, put the car in a low gear and simply coast on down to the bottom of the hill, allowing the car’s lower gear to keep your slide a gradual one. These people, in my estimation, are EFFing crazy.

As I started down the hill I was already in the lowest gear the car could manage and going probably 5 mph. Once the tires began to slip, I first began pumping the brakes to no avail. Then, remembering the above advice from the above multiple neighbors and friends, I just tried my best to aim for the center of the road and slide gradually and safely down it. This might have even worked, except that our road curves to the left. So as I turned the wheel to try and meet that curve, I found that no such directional change was being accepted by the road and I was sent skidding off the right side of the road and into the landscaping of our neighbor, Mr. Costello. His home is located in the hillside below the blind curve, with his driveway beginning where the incline of the blind curve begins. Further down the hill from Mr. Costello's driveway is his very steep and long yard of an angle and distance which you really wouldn't want to go sliding down under any set of circumstances. Perhaps fortunately for me, though, there is a steep embankment between the blind curve road and his driveway and house, which Mr. Cos has landscaped with plants and large rocks to help prevent people from sliding off the hill into his garage. My car went off the road into the landscaping closer to the mouth of his driveway, near the lower part of the curve's incline. The car rolled across probably 10 or 12 rocks of 5 to 8 inches in diameter each, a number of snow-coated plants and then ended its journey by smashing into a large spruce bush which masked the presence of a very large boulder of probably three feet in diameter.

The car, as you might expect, came to an abrupt halt when it met the rock. My glasses were flung from my face, but the impact failed to deploy any airbags. The string of curses that had been pouring from my mouth all the way down the hill intensified and then peaked in that moment. I managed to put the car in park and find my glasses. It was at that point that I was able to look through the windshield and saw Mrs. Hazard, the neighbor I’d been trying to avoid running over, safely standing just beyond Mr. Costello's driveway, staring back at me with concern.

I rolled down the window and in a bright, cheerful and probably unhinged tone, called out “Good morning!”

“Are you all right?” she called.

Nothing felt hurt, beyond a sprain in my pride. “Yeah.”

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

“I don’t think so,” I said. “I’ll call my wife and then insurance.”

Mrs. Hazard said that if I turned out to need help to just honk and she’d come running back. Then she returned to her walk out and was soon around the level curve of that section of road.

Amazingly, my cell phone had bars. (We're within sight of two cell towers and get the worst reception from our house.) I phoned the wife.

"Hey, I crashed the car," I said. I gave her the short version of it and told her where I was lodged. She said she’d be down as soon as she could. Fortunately, she meant by foot, which was a relief because I’d had visions of her car sliding into mine--or other cars, for that matter. Fortunately, I was pretty much off the road and out of the way, but that wouldn't help if someone came down and slid like I had.

Next up I called the court house to let them know that I would be, at the very least, late to jury duty, due to having driven into a rock. The lady asked if I was all right first, then said not to worry about it and someone would call me later to do my orientation over the phone. She then added that in the future, if the weather was bad, or if I was sick, or if it was just “inconvenient” for me to come to court, I could just phone them up and be instantly excused.



1 comment:

crsunlimited said...

I will never understand Jury Duty. You can get out of it just by calling in on most occasions.

I have been summoned only once so far in my life. It was last year, and it was an ok experience. After standing around about 2 hours they finally called all of us into the courtroom. We sat down and the Prosecutor explained how the process worked, and how they where going to ask a bunch of questions to try and find people out of our group to serve as an impartial Jury.

The case I was on was strange. I'm still not sure why a Jury was needed. Is there a state out there that does not have concrete laws about drinking and driving? We where being put together to decide if this guy was in fact guilty of driving while intoxicated 3 years ago.

The asked if anyone in the group didn't drink. There where a handful that didn't, me included. They made a note on a piece of paper. Then they asked if anyone had ever lost family to an accident involving a drunk driver. Well yeah I had 2 uncles that where killed by one.

So in this case I wasn't seen as an impartial Juror and was not picked for the Jury. They could have saved a whole lot of time on that case had those 2 questions been on the form I had to fill out to begin with.

One woman in our group was a retired Highway patrol officer who used to teach the Driving School. She said not only does she not drink, but that's exactly what she taught her students. Yeah she didn't make it either.

Another person in our group wanted to know why this guy was getting a Jury to determine if he was drunk or not as she was given a ticket in another state for not submitting to a field sobriety test. It was the middle of January and she has trouble with her legs. She told the officer that she couldn't stand on the inch of ice that was on the road to take the test and was given a ticket because she "refused" to submit to the test. Which is how the law reads in all 3 states I have lived in.

Best part about this was I got paid gas to go to the court house, and got paid a full day's pay.

Honestly though I can't think of a time where I would be impartial enough to be on a Jury. They said in the beginning that if you didn't think you could be impartial after they gave info on the case to let them know. You didn't even need a good reason. That's just silly in my opinion.