Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, April 18, 2009

It's Always Something...

by Sariah S. Wilson

I just got back from the hospital.

My in-laws are visiting this weekend because we're having the baby blessed tomorrow. We took them to a famous local restaurant - Montgomery Inn. We'd taken them to that restaurant nine years ago when they came out for my oldest son's baby blessing, and they had really enjoyed it, so they wanted to go there again. (Amazing barbecue sauce and ribs.)

We were leaving and had to stop by a store across the street from the restaurant (Montgomery Inn is on a main street of one of those classic Small Town USA areas with the adorable buildings, chimes, cobblestones, etc.). I went to the parking lot behind the restaurant to get the car.

My sister-in-law came running up and told me that my second son had been hit by a car. My first thought was that she was joking. She told me he was okay but a car had hit him. She explained what had happened as we went to where my husband waited with all four of our kids. My son was standing and seemed to be okay, but my husband said the car that hit him had driven over his foot. I insisted on looking at his foot.

Skin was torn from the ankle, and he had a weird discoloration and what looked like bruising on the outside of his foot. What had happened - they were crossing in a crosswalk where the drivers are supposed to yield. My son skipped out ahead of my husband (who had a baby in each arm), and my husband called him back, but it was too late. A driver came barrelling through the crosswalk and my son stopped just in time and turned away from the car; another step or two and the car would have flattened him. Instead it just ran over the outer part of his foot.

The woman realized she had hit my son, and rolled down her window and said, "I'm sorry, I didn't see him." Still in shock my husband replied, "You just hit my kid with your car!" To which her response was to roll up her window and DRIVE AWAY. Fortunately she drove slow enough and my husband had enough presence of mind to write down her license plate number.

I insisted he call the police - it still dumbfounds me that someone would run over a kid and then drive away. Fortunately for us, an orthopedic doctor just happened to be driving by and pulled over to see if he could help us. He checked out my son's foot. A hostess from Montgomery Inn had been a nurse and helped out. Police, EMTs and firefighters all arrived immediately - their main concern had been that he might have hit his head. But he hadn't fallen at all or hit his head. The EMTs offered to take him to the hospital in the ambulance, but we declined because both the doctor and the EMTs thought the foot probably wasn't broken and he didn't really need the ambulance. We could drive him there ourselves.

Which I did, and I am pleased to say that it was probably the best emergency room visit I've ever had. From start to finish it was only two hours. I think that's fairly amazing. The end result was that the bones were not broken and we were free to go. He does have pink and purple tire tread imprints on his foot that hurt when they're touched, but he's able to walk around.

He's a trooper (the police even gave him a badge sticker for being such a brave kid). The police had located the woman's information immediately, and offered us some options. At the lowest level we could get her insurance information to pay for the hospital visit, and we could ask that the DMV re-test her vision (she's 81). At the highest we could press charges that would essentially be at the felony level. I thought the police made that call. But it turns out that because we're the injured party, we have to decide. It feels like way too much power to have and I'm not really sure what to do. So far everyone I talked to thinks we should definitely press charges, but another part of me leans toward leniency and compassion.

I don't know why sitting in a hospital makes you so tired. I wasn't doing anything but playing games on my phone and reading entertainment websites. But I'm totally exhausted. So I'm off to bed. Hopefully tomorrow will be a lot less eventful than today.


At 4/19/2009 12:48 AM, Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

I vote for leniancy. No one's brain is functioning correctly after something like that.

And I'm glad your son is okay.

At 4/19/2009 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad your son is such a brave kid and okay. Did you have nightmares?

Are there options in between the two "extremes" and what are the penalties involved for these and the felony level? Leniancy seems the saintly thing to do, but not if she doesn't see someone else and does the same thing. Even if she were not thinking correctly, she could have reported herself later. We've all seen horrific news reports where older people have accidently ran over people and they themselves feel nearly as bad as the survivors.

Glad the decision is yours, not mine. You are a very good person not to be burning with anger. I'm afraid I would be.


At 4/19/2009 12:10 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

I'm glad your son is going to be all right. I tend to want to be compassionate, but I feel it would be a mistake to do nothing. The woman could find herself in much more serious trouble if nothing is done. She should pay for your son's medical expenses and sufficient charges should be pressed to ensure that the incident goes on her driving record and that her eyesight is tested. I'm personally uncomfortable with punitive damages and all that, but steps should be taken to protect a future victim.

At 4/19/2009 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leniency and compassion from who exactly? Did she show sympathy to your son when she drove away annoyed that she should take responsibility at her actions? I don't know about the state you live in, Sariah, but here in the Southwest the law doesn't give the injured party the option of turning the other cheek to get run over again. The only "compassionate" thing to do is press charges. That doesn't mean she going to prison for her crime, (and she most certainly committed the crime of hit and run, a felony!) but she would be forced to face up to what she had done, not only to you in recompense, but to see if she should be driving any longer. The law would decide that, but not if you don’t do your part. I’ve been in a law enforcement family for almost three decades, and I’ve seen people shy away from doing the right thing. Don’t be timid. That woman did the wrong thing, and your son was injured. Make her face up to the crime she committed. Without you, that woman will get away with leaving a scene of a hit and run injury accident.

I’m glad your sons all right.


At 4/19/2009 3:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My five year old son was hit by a car four days after we moved into our new house. I honestly thought he was dead, but thankfully he was only bruised from his shoulder to his hip and had a sprained wrist where he'd put his hand down on the asphalt to break his fall. It could have been so much worse and it was a miracle he wasn't killed. The lady who hit him was extremely upset, and through her tears made the comment, "I'm the ward compassionate service leader and this isn't how I was going to welcome you!" :)

Have the police visited this woman? Does she know what she's done? I would be interested to know what her reaction was. My first thought in reading your story is that perhaps she has Alzheimer's or some other disorder that could make her a danger to others, but she may not know it. I'll keep you in my prayers that you're able to make the right decision. I'm so glad your little boy is okay.


At 4/19/2009 4:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Compassion. There is a very good chance she assumed you were on the other side of the street in the cross walk and she could pull forward through the cross walk when your son broke away from your husband and ran to the other side of the street.

Don't the parents have any responsiblity to restrain their children?

At 4/19/2009 5:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Don't pass blame back to the poor child's parents. As soon as their feet were in the crosswalk, that car had the duty to stop to let them cross. That was her responsibility.


At 4/19/2009 6:01 PM, Blogger J Scott Savage said...

Deb is exactly right. It is illegal to cross any part of a crosswalk in your car when a pedestrian in in the crosswalk. Doesn't matter what side of the street.

My concern about not pressing charges is how I would feel if this woman hit someone else in the future, because this wasn't addressed now.

At 4/19/2009 7:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the child had been killed before she'd driven away would you be hearing calls for compassion then? The only reason this is even remotely debatable is because the child wasn't terribly hurt. The fact is, this woman committed an illegal act. It is disgusting that she knew she hit a child and still drove away. She is a menace to society and deserves to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law before she kills someone and keeps on driving. She had no compassion for the child she hurt and could have killed. Make her accountable for her actions.

At 4/19/2009 7:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Age is not really a factor here - any driver knows that you never leave the scene of an accident! To leave is sheerly an act of selfishness!

I am very glad your boy is okay - that is so frightening on every level!

At 4/19/2009 7:45 PM, Blogger Carolyn V. said...

Wow! What a debate! Honestly, I think it's tramatic on each side.

My husband was hit by a car when he was a little boy. The girl was 16 and very upset. She even called to apologize after the event. The whole situation was handled very well.

We all have heated opinions about hit-and-runs and what each one of us should do if we were involved.
I think the best thing to do is get advice from both the professionals and from above. Then go with what you feel is the best thing to do.

I wish your son well and hope he has tons of treats while he recovers (I know I love to recover with a good bowl of ice cream covered in hot fudge - ahhh, heaven).

At 4/19/2009 8:19 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Sariah, I'm so grateful your son is all right. What a scary experience.

At 4/19/2009 9:35 PM, Blogger LexiconLuvr said...

Thank the heavens that your son is all right. Boy, somebody up there is watching out for your little one, huh? While I'm certain the situation was traumatic enough, it could have been worse. I'm so relieved for your whole family! All my best for all of you!

As for advice, I can't say either way. God bless and I'm very VERY happy for you that your son is all right.

At 4/19/2009 9:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the wisdom of Solemon when you need it most?

Cut the child in half. Give half back to Sariah and the other half to the woman in the car. If Sariah presses charges, you'll know whose child it is. No question about it. This is a child paternity cross-walk test.

Fess up Sariah. Who's the mother?

At 4/19/2009 11:53 PM, Anonymous ally condie said...

My dad was/is a judge and he had several very sad cases where an older person who shouldn't be at the wheel killed someone in an accident. My two cents? For the sake of other pedestrians, you definitely have to do what you can to get her off the road. I wonder if there's some kind of middle ground/plea bargain where she could have her license taken away but not go to jail...

At 4/20/2009 9:07 AM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

Wow - I didn't realize this would stir up such a hornet's nest!

I do appreciate everyone's comments and insights. The crosswalk we were in was a special kind for this city - there are multiple signs indicating that drivers must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk and flashing lights (that are motion sensor based) that warn cars to stop whenever a pedestrian enters the crosswalk. (Because this is a main street where most people walk around rather than drive.)

I am so grateful it was not worse, and I think I haven't really been angry because I've been so worried about my son. Everyone around me was angry so it was like I could just push mine aside and focus on him and what he needed.

We are going to press charges. We are going to cover the lowest level at least - insurance and eye exam, but then we have to decide between a misdemeanor and a felony beyond that. I agree that this woman probably shouldn't be driving any longer. She also hasn't turned herself in - the detective said he would call us if he heard anything from her.

At 4/20/2009 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


One of the biggest reasons people (of any age) leave a scene of an accident is because they were impaired in someway. They'd been drinking, or had some other substance in their blood at the time, legal or illicit, and they needed to get away before being confronted by the police. Once they are "clean" then the crime is less of an issue to them. Where was this woman coming from? Was it from dinner with friends where she'd had one, two or three (or more) drinks? This, too, is something the police should investigate, but only if you demand it, it seems. I don't think I'd like to live in your state.


At 4/20/2009 10:32 AM, Blogger Ian said...

Good for you Sariah!

Anonymous At 4/19/2009 4:08 PM.

Shame on you. Deb is exactly correct. Cars are not supposed to go through a crosswalk at all if any ped is walking in it. This is 100% the drivers fault. This was 100% avoidable by her. I am normally for compassion, and I advocate going with the lower charges, but I've seen far too many near accidents because of cars going through crosswalks with peds in them.

In Oregon they started sting operations where plain clothes police would walk through crosswalks and if people drove through, another cop car would be waiting for them.

Do people not realize that hitting a person with a car can kill them?

At 4/20/2009 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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