4 September 2010. It's Friday night and my Labor Day weekend begins with an ambulance ride to General Hospital after getting struck by a car on my way to the Castro Starbucks.
by Robert Perry
This is what happened.
It was a little after 8 PM and I was on my way to “Starbears” where I planned to enjoy my iced Americano and use my MacBook to check email, Tweet, and do some freelance work. As I was crossing the street in the crosswalk from the RC gas station over to Harvey Milk Plaza (with a green light), I noticed a car entering the crosswalk after making a right turn from Castro Street. At first, he had slowed down. But, then, he suddenly accelerated! All I could do is hold up my hand to say Stop! Next thing I knew there was a thud, a sudden pressure on my left leg, and then I was flying up into the air. The driver of the car braked after hitting me, and I ended up landing on the asphalt face-down on my stomach near the passenger's side of his car. Thankfully, my head landed on my Brenthaven laptop bag, and not the asphalt. That bag saved both me and my MacBook.
Surprisingly, my initial reaction after hitting the ground was not fear, but a feeling of irritation that this had just happened to me when I was ready to begin a leisurely evening before a long weekend. My next thought was that I would be okay, but my knee is really hurting. I'll need to got to the hospital. The driver and other people on the street were calling 911 for me. I felt it best that I try to relax until the ambulance got there. A stranger, a man named Tom Garrett, bought me a bottled water from the liquor store—thanks, Tom.
The police showed up first and got statements from me and the driver. I was given a case number and told to follow-up and get a copy of the police report in the next ten days or so. The ambulance arrived and the EMTs surrounded me and strapped me onto a board. Everybody was nice and worked to help me laugh and feel as comfortable as possible. The EMT had to cut open my brand new jeans to look at my leg. Aww!
In the emergency room, I was stripped out of my clothes and given heated blankets to keep me warm. I was starting to shake. The nurse explained that that was good: My body's adrenaline was starting to work in the healing process. X-rays were done, and Dr. Maxim told me that nothing was broken, but I likely have a torn ligament in my left knee. I would need to have a leg brace and crutches.
As I spent two and a half hours at the ER, I became much more reflective and appreciative of how lucky I was that the situation wasn't worse. This was not my end. Hobbling on my new crutches with a prescription and a hospital report in my bag, I was escorted out by nurse Heather to catch my cab home.
Pedestrians: Even when you have a green light at the crosswalk, remember that often times a right-turning motorist behind you will also have a green light, and carelessly make a right turn that sends him to directly into a crosswalk full of pedestrians. I'm seriously considering writing a letter to the city about changing the lights at Market and Castro to allow for a 20- to 30-second pedestrians-only crossing, which would also allow for diagonal crossing.
Crazy drivers: Stop being crazy... and/or drunk! You are the one operating a deadly vehicle. The pedestrians around you are counting on you to obey the rules of driving.
© 2013 Chromozoa, Robert J. Perry