Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Fought the Law . . .

Free at last! Today I wrote the last check to Benton County.

In February of last year, I did something pretty stupid. While driving toward a stop sign, I reached down to quickly grab something I’d dropped. I looked up just in time to slam on the brakes. Unfortunately not in time to avoid hitting the truck in front of me.

I was stunned. I couldn’t believe I’d done it. I sat there waiting for something to happen. And then it did. The driver left the scene. In fact it looked like the truck headed straight for the freeway on ramp. Huh. My first thought was that this was my lucky day. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I knew how to contact the driver because it was a company truck that I hit. I decided I would go pick up the kids and head home. From there I would call Michael; see what he thought. But alas, it didn’t quite go that way. I got home and saw that the damage was only to my license plate. Thank goodness. I figured I must’ve only hit the tow-hitch. My glow of relief didn’t last; before I could call Michael, a police officer arrived.

“You want to tell me what happened?”
“Uh, yeah.”

As it turned out, someone took down my license plate number and called the authorities. I received a large ticket and was summoned to court. For the next month it was all a dark cloud over my head.

I showed up on the appointed day and found myself in a full courtroom. A lot of the people there were caught driving with a suspended license but many were petty thieves and drug users. There was even another mother from the school some of my children were attending. She pled guilty to theft at a local store. I did all I could to avoid eye contact. Perhaps she wouldn’t notice me, noticing her.

To make a long story short, I was advised that I must plead guilty to “hit and run” if I hit the truck and I left the scene. Check and check. Didn’t matter what anyone else did. Nuts. My sentence was reduced to “hit and run of an unattended vehicle” (which saved my skin; it meant I didn’t lose my license for a year) and I had a choice: 1 day in jail or 10 days with an ankle monitor. I chickened out and went for the monitor. That still left me with a huge additional fine to pay plus a trip to the county jail for finger printing. I sat in a waiting area full of men in jumpsuits.

So I guess it’s behind me. My insurance premium didn’t go up and life sort of just went on. But I still think about it. The experience was humbling. I quit reading the police blotter sort of articles in the paper—I didn’t want to see the names of anyone I might know. It made me a much, much less judgmental person. It also made me realize that there’s no point in putting off repentance. When you do wrong and take care of it immediately, the aftermath may very well be a significantly lighter load than you’d otherwise be in for.

Yep, I fought the law and the law won.

2 comments:

  1. Please don't take this the wrong way....
    HA HA HA HA HA! That is amongst the best story i've heard. Just trying to picture you in court - it just doesn't fit!
    I personally thing that's not fair. He was the one who left... I'm sure some citizen out there is proud he/she saved the day by getting your license plate number. Little do they know the story behind it all.
    Thanks for sharing! Tami

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  2. I always thought there was a lower limit to what you would call an "accident" that could be called a "hit and run." Once a car hit our car and there was no real damage so we both just left.

    Did you get to keep the Anklet? I'm sorry but that's just HAWT! I hope Michael took full advantage of you with that thing. At least the first couple of days. "All right baby, you're under arrest!" lol great story!

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