By Nathan Allen Booko
Pittsboro, NC – Normal Saturday for me. Friends visited, parked in my highway 64 driveway. Visit involved discussing the amount of highway 64 horrendous traffic and discussing relocating my mail box for safety purposes.
A pleasant day weather wise. Evening meal capped the daylight hours. World news of floods and fires didn’t make me feel good. A nap before late news and “Saturday Night Live.” Of course. “Saturday Night Live” was not going to be live, but a repeated repeat. I almost know them all by heart.
I awoke from my nap at ten thirty. Messed around waiting for news at eleven. Five of eleven there was a horrible crashing sound on highway 64. Then another crashing brussling unusual noise. I knew I had to rush out. Human nature. At 87 years, I knew better to rush about in tee shirt, shorts and flimsy plastic Croc shoes. I have experienced crashes on 64 soooo many times. Sooo many times. Armed with cell phone and small flashlight. I rushed thru my maze of landscape treasures. Trying not to trip and fall, but the urgency of being able to help was overpowering. Risking a fall wasn’t uppermost in my mind.
Traffic was slowing down, large chunks of car parts and debris was in my driveway. Glass glistened on the highway. A car stopped in my drive. I couldn’t figure what had happened. The driver told me a car had tried to hit and force her off the highway, hit another car and then ran off the highway. That speeding car had left the highway, gone behind my mailbox, up an embankment, onto my driveway. Right where my friend had parked; about three hundred feet and crashed, somehow ending vertically with the headlights down and taillights in the air. It stopped short of hitting a utility pole by a foot or so. It was a panel truck, totally painted camouflage. Indistinguishable from surrounding foliage. There were four red blinker lights going. The front end blinkers embedded in tall grass. The rear red blinkers, high in the air, were partially obscured by thick brush and young pine trees. The hidden red blinking looked just like little fires igniting .
By now several cars had stopped, folks rushing to the wrecked vehicle. No one knew where the crashed car driver was. One person reported the driver of wrecked car had gotten out of car and was sitting beside highway recovering. He reportedly was wearing camouflage pants and no shirt. We suddenly realized he had disappeared. Vanished. Someone said they saw him stagger into the woods. MY WOODS. Calls to him and looking for a collapsed body, suddenly changed when someone suggested that maybe he had gone to my house. My heart sank. Scared was not the word. I had left the porch light on and the door unlocked. I was really terrified that a dangerous stranger maybe could be hiding in my house. But then too, a total stranger was assisting me with going back to check the house.
I was scared to open the door and go into the house. But my cat Princess was asleep on a chair, unaware anything was going on. I knew by that, that no stranger was there. She would have reacted and hidden. By the time we got back to the highway, all manner of fire trucks, medical assist were there. An officer took statements from several of us and assured me that the driver of wrecked car was in custody.
The wrecker seemed to be manned by only one person. I watched as he brilliantly attached chains, computerized pulling motions, until he got that car back upright on its wheels and on the back of the wrecker. Years ago it would have taken six guys hours to do the same.
Several of my wooden racks used for tropical shirt sales were knocked down and broken. Something I don’t have the strength and energy to rebuild. The police office asked me to put a value on property damage. I did. But feel so violated. Was told I could not collect on trees I didn’t plant and besides, “they’ll grow back in no time.” I’m happy no one was killed.
But folks I know and you know repayment for my damages will never see the light of day. No one will ever know what happens with that wild driver. And today, even thou the wrecked car is gone, my driveway in disarray. That highway 64 traffic is still there, as if nothing had happened.