I’m useful in an accident

One of the first uses my digital camera ever saw was to photograph a car crash I was in.

I’ve seen more than my fair share of accidents this week, I think. The accident below, for example, happened Tuesday as I was on my way to work. It must have just happened because the backup wasn’t too bad. I think there were three cars involved – the two in the picture, plus a black one against the center divider that I did take a picture of, but opted not to upload since it was a horrible photo. Trinity, by the way, would like me to stop taking pictures as I drive on the 101 Freeway, but I’m so good at it.

Then there was this accident today. I was maybe the third or fourth car waiting to turn left into Target’s driveway (the one that can be seen from the 101 and is along Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills) when there was a huge crash and this black car slammed against a light pole then spun around to a rest. The sudden wreckage – papers flying onto Target’s driveway, along with what looked like a suitcase, plus car parts separating themselves from their car everywhere – stunned me. In fact, what looked like a shoe that had flown out of the car’s trunk made me think the crash was a pedestrian accident at first. But I did what I always do – called 911, reported the accident, while managing to drive myself around the wreckage and into the parking lot. As I did this, people ran over to the black car to check on its occupants – which turned out to be a grandfather and his grandson, and as I passed I could see pretty much all of the car’s airbags had deployed.

My second phone call was to my station’s assignment desk. Because it appeared the accident was not fatal, I knew chances were slim that my station would send anyone down – hey, that’s just how it is. But I called it in anyway since I’d overheard a witness say he thought the silver car below and a black mustang were racing. (It turns out later the accident was not investigated as a street race gone bad.) But I found as I talked to Marlene on the assignment desk that my arms and hands were shaking – seeing a collision happen in front of you (and unfortunately I did not see what happened prior to the crash) always stuns me and leaves me feeling shaky.

The only injury was a boy, who appeared to have pain in his middle area and possibly blood in his mouth. I heard the elderly man he was with ask him “tell Grandpa where it hurts, but the poor thing could only cry.

I only took pictures after it seemed that, for sure, no one was seriously hurt, since I know how emotional people get when people take pictures. That’s why these pictures were taken from such a distance. When you’re a reporter, you’re just doing your job. but when you’re a bystander/witness, it just seems a little wrong. The boy, I found out later, is OK.