Non-Attentive – #273…..(2012)

Fran & Gary's 2004 Jetta

Fran & Gary’s 2004 Jetta

It happened on a Sunday afternoon April 8th,  2012,   a 41 year lapse between occurrences, but the results the same.  Desiring to have her hair done, Gary’s wife Fran requesting a ride to Modern Cuts in the Oakmoor Plaza shopping center just past the Briggsmore crosstown expressway on Oakdale Rd. less than five-minute from home.  Fran disembarking their 2004 VW Jetta at Modern Cuts, Gary mentioning he needed to go Savemart and pickup a few items and on his return would park where she could see the car.  Returning from Savemart,  stopping in the Oakdale Rd  left-hand turning lane entrance to the shopping center,  the two lanes of oncoming traffic was at a standstill backed up by the traffic light at Briggsmore.  The halted traffic moving just enough to allow the Keep Clear entrance to the shopping center accessible before stopping again.  A white panel van blocking the view of  the curbside lane, the driver in the van noticing Gary wanting to cross, appearing to look at his passenger side mirror and then motioning Gary that it was clear to proceed in front of him into the shopping center.

The music of the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s “Cast Your Faith To The Wind” flowing from the 2004 Jetta’s CD player was interrupted by a sudden impact, the conscious crunching sound of metal on metal and an abrupt change in the cars direction.  In a brief second the Jetta path of entering the shopping center was altered.  In a blink of an eye a collision moved the car thirty feet to the left of the entrance coming to a halt on the sidewalk facing the Renter A Center retail outlet store.  Gary realizing what just happened, but at a loss of what had hit him, one second crossing in front of the panel truck, the next second the sound of impact and then facing the RAC building. The Jetta’s engine was still running as was the CD player, turning the key off he attempted to open the door but it refused. He could see a girl looking at him through the driver-side window, asking if he was alright,  replying that he needed her to pull on the door.  Once out, somewhat shaken, trying to get his composure, glancing up Oakdale Rd, noticing a group standing by a black Ford Mustang with its front crumpled, water dripping from the radiator.  Walking toward the mustang, a substantial crowd of onlookers beginning to assemble, he was approached by a young lady with a cell phone who said she was the driver and that she had called 911 to report the accident and that the police would be responding

Accident scene.

(the scene) OakMoor Shopping Center

Gary still somewhat taken aback from what had just happened,  the unforgettable crunching sound of the impact still firmly embedded in his head trying to sort out what to do next, deciding to walk down to Modern Cuts and tell Fran, mentioning to the driver of his intentions.  Fran still in the midst of getting her hair done, Gary giving her the blunt news, he had a wreck pulling into the shopping center and when she was finished he would be with car waiting for the police to arrive.  A young motorcycle officer arriving, Gary handing him his license, registration and insurance verification, the officer taking them, leaving to visit with the driver and another young lady who apparently was a passenger.  The officer returning handing him his papers and  from all appearance the Jetta would have to be towed,  Gary asking about a tow truck,  the officer stating he would notify Modesto Collision Center.  Waiting for the truck Gary surveyed the damage to Jetta, the right front fender and wheel having absorbed the impact, at a glance he knew why the driver-side door was difficult to open, in all probability the front end part of the frame was bent, the left font fender pushed back just enough to prevent the door from opening properly.

Fran joining him as the tow truck arrived, Gary asking her if she knew their next door neighbor Julie’s phone number, a mute question knowing Fran’s  impeccability for memorizing numbers, then turning to the mustang driver  asking if he could borrow her cell phone to make a call, handing the phone to Fran.  With Julie’s arrival, Gary noticing the tow truck driver pushing Jetta off the sidewalk easement by hand to make his hook up, the Jetta having no problem rolling, Gary thinking “a hopeful sign”.  Once home the reality set in, Gary experiencing an emptiness, the garage was vacant of the Jetta, a feeling of being stranded and the remnants of impact sound still resonating as a reminder of his failure to be more attentive.  The following morning, placing a call to  his AAA  insurance agent on Coffee Road informing J.P. of what had transpired, questioning  him about a rental car,  J.P. assuring him that he would arrange for one to be available that afternoon at the Airport Car Rental, then calling on his neighbor Julie about a ride to the airport.  Placing a call to the collision center to check on the status of the Jetta, being told it would be another day before the estimate would be completed.   The estimate was in, the cost of repairing the damage would exceed an unbelievable $9000,  AAA concluded the cost of was excessive and would settle for $9531.13 minus the $1000 deductible.  The couple making a farewell trip back to the Jetta both dishearten removing some personal items and at the loss of a pristine 2004 Jetta with only 62,000 miles on it.

The insurance check arriving on the 16th with a week left on the rental Gary beginning to feeling somewhat pressured to find a car.  Having bought the Jetta in 2008 from Central Valley VW  was aware of their used car markup and at the same time questioned the reliability of the numerous smaller used car dealer cars.  Visiting with his truck driving, shade tree mechanic across-the-street neighbor Rob Rodriguez about his dilemma, Rob offering help him find a car.  It was time to return the rental when his Rob called, his son Bobby who in the past had bought several cars on the internet having found a 1999 Honda Accord with an asking price of $5000 that might be of interest to Gary.  Rob stating that he had called the seller and from their conversation thought it might be worth a drive to Woodward to look over the car adding he would call the seller to set up a time and place for them to meet.

Jack in the Box - Woodwar

Jack in the Box – Woodward

 Gary, Rob with his wife Lisa accompanying them, embarking to Woodland, a town of 56,000 about 25 miles northwest of Sacramento on Interstate 5,  a noon meeting to take place at the Jack In The Box on E. Main St. at I-5 exit. It wasn’t long when a pristine metallic color four door Honda Accord pulled into the parking area, a middle-aged man entering introducing himself as Jesse Galindo,  Gary immediately identifying with the name, his good friend at work Val was another Galindo.  The group going back outside, Jesse starting the car, lifting the hood, Gary liking what he saw, the motor was immaculately clean as was the interior the car apparently having  been detailed.  With it’s  moon roof, CD radio, full power seats, windows, naugahyde leather looking seats he realized it was an EX.   Jesse relating it was bought for his wife in 2005 with the odometer reading of 85,000 miles and the odometer was presently at 172,000.  He continued that it had been regularly serviced by the Honda Dealer in Davis, handing Gary a large folder with the service, repair and parts records for the past seven years.  Jesse wife Toni arriving adding a comment, contributing that the car was part of her life and it was like saying goodbye to a friend, Gary could identify with that, he knew the feeling when he traded Ole Blue his Ford pickup in 1976.  With the signing of the title, Jesse not hesitating to accept a check,  the transacting was consummated.

Fran and Gary’s new mode of transportation

 Gary addressing Rob again about compensating him for time and gas, then stating that this might sound a little strange, would it be too much for you or Lisa to drive the Accord back to Modesto, that since the accident he was a little gun-shy about driving,  especially on the freeway, and for some reason he didn’t feel comfortable.  Rob not questioning, stating that it wouldn’t be a problem, Lisa could follow and beside he knew of truck-stop on the way back where they could gas up.  Home the car in the garage, no longer a perception of being a captive without the means to escape,  but the physiological effect of the accidents playing heavy on his mind, his judgement failure having resulted in an unforgiving occurrence.  The impact of the collision, the crunch of metal on metal remained embedded, but the adage  “when you fall off a horse you have to get  back on” came to mind,  recognizing that trusting his judgement would come with time.

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