Monday, July 06, 2009

Best laid plans may be totaled?

I posted twice last Tuesday, relatively promptly, and then settled into the gruesome business of my law practice.

The phone rang. It was a client calling with news about a response being filed to a sanctions motion I had recently filed. (I made an oblique, and hopefully indistinct reference to a draft of that motion in a prior post.) To no one's surprise, the response included a prayer for sanctions to be entered against me personally and my co-counsel. Ah, civility. (My motion, though it asked for many things, asked for nothing against the individual lawyers. But I should have known that would not protect me.)

And the best part was that my mail for the day had not yet arrived; I hadn't seen the papers yet. Something to look forward to, surely!

I spoke with Long Suffering Spouse around lunchtime, as is my longstanding custom, and I mentioned the pending receipt of the sanctions motion. While we were speaking, Youngest Son -- the one who's been licensed now for about two weeks -- asked permission to take the family's second car to school for a "team lift." I could hear this quite clearly through the phone. My wife gave her assent... going to and from school is exactly the kind of limited driving we want him to do at first... and off he went.

A couple of hours later I was on the phone with another client; the precise nature of the crisis escapes me now, but crises tend to bunch up before court holidays. When the other line rang, and I saw it was Youngest Son calling, I quickly put my client on hold -- just to tell the kid to hold on until I was done with this call.

"Don't put me on hold!" he shouted. "I've had an accident."

"WHAT?" I did put him on hold, long enough to blow off my client, and jumped back on. "Does your mother know? Where are you? What happened?"

Yes, the objection to multiple questions was clearly in order here.

Somehow the boy had decided his limited permission to go to school for a "team lift" could be extended to his driving multiple teammates to a summer league game in a different suburb -- this despite the fact that it is against a newly-enacted Illinois law for a newly-licensed driver to carry more than one passenger to whom he or she is unrelated. Both the driver and the passengers may be ticketed.

Youngest Son had also decided, having nearly made it to his destination without incident, to attempt a left turn despite the fact that his vision of oncoming traffic was obscured by a large truck opposite him, hoping to turn south.

There was in fact another vehicle opposite Youngest Son, in the right lane of westbound traffic. She couldn't see Youngest Son at first either, given the presence of the aforementioned truck. If she was paying attention at all, I believe she must have seen him crossing her path at some point, given the fact that he had nearly cleared the intersection before she slammed into the right rear quarter-panel of our second family car, sending the car spinning toward the streetlight on the northwest corner of the intersection. The deep skid mark in the turf adjacent to the pole and the gouges along the driver's side are mute testimony to how Youngest Son wrestled for control in the aftermath of the collision.

The good news is that none of Youngest Son's passengers were injured. Youngest Son may have hit his head against the driver's window -- he had headaches for a couple of days following -- and he got the ticket. (Only one ticket, though, and that for the ill-advised left turn: The policeman exercised his discretion and didn't ticket him for carrying passengers... or his passengers for being carried. He understood and respected that they were going to a school baseball game.)

Depending on the severity of the damage, we may have become again a one-car family. This burden would fall most heavily on Youngest Son -- so he may be paying for this incident, as I certainly will (in increased insurance premiums) for some time to come. The unnatural splay of the rear wheels following the accident suggests that the car may have been totaled. We should find out today.

I don't need a second car often. I needed one Wednesday. I had a meeting in the suburbs that could not be rescheduled. All teens and post-teens were made aware of this need well in advance... but the accident intervened. The insurance has, so far, covered a rental.

And we had planned on the possible need to have both cars in Indianapolis this weekend for Older Daughter's wedding. Though I secured permission to take the rental across state lines, the process of moving our little group has become that much more difficult.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

well drat. that just suks. truly. sorry curmy...

smiles, bee

Shel said...


Steve Skinner said...

Even after 38 years, I still remember my first fender bender which occurred just months after securing my driver's license. Fortunately, my damage was nearly insignificant.

Cristina said...

So sorry! I know the feeling. I am finding out today the cost of car repairs yet again to the boys' car. This will be the second time I have to replace the front bumper. I am hoping not much else needs to be done.