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Driving Along then Boom

03/17/05 | by JAdP | Categories: General Thoughts

First, let me say that it appears that no one was hurt. Isn't that what everyone says when only the vehicles involved were damaged? This was very fortunate considering the extent of the damage to the vehicles.

It was a beautiful day on the coast, as it had been for a few days. Sunny, dry and heavier traffic than normal for a weekday morning.

The pictures below were taken in the storage yard a few hours after the accident. Here's what happened yesterday.

I was driving north on CA Route 1 to meet with Clarise. The stretch of highway between Montara and Pacifica is a narrow, winding two-lane road known as Devil's Slide, and it had slid early Wednesday morning. Traffic was being stopped in both directions while CalTrans cleared away some of the rubble, then the road would be opened for a few minutes, then closed again for a short time. Just after the long string of cars had been allowed to move again, I was heading around a curve to my left when there was a BOOM, and our Highlander was suddenly swung around to the left, perpendicular to oncoming traffic. Spinning the steering wheel had no affect, as I headed towards the 150 foot drop to the ocean. Luckily the cars going south were able to stop or avoid me, and the concrete barrier prevented my plunge. I was confused by the fact that I couldn't make the Highlander move. It wouldn't back up. I wanted to get to a turn-out, and not be blocking traffic at that narrow curve.

I got out of the car, and saw that the rear wheel was ripped out. I guess that is why the Highlander didn't respond, and certainly why I couldn't back up.

Rear wheel ripped out

I want to thank the man driving the black truck for stopping, asking if I was all right, and when we both saw that we had no cell signal there, driving to where he could get a signal, to report the accident.

I also want to thank the woman in the white Jeep Cherokee for coming over and checking on me. And for stopping without hitting me. I was in shock from what had happened, and she reminded me to turn off my car. After a few moments, I was able to think again.

And I especially want to thank Pablo of WILSON, IHRIG & ASSOCIATES, INC. who was behind me when I was hit. He gave me his card, said that he had seen what happened, as he was almost struck as well, and offered to be a witness.

I saw the car that had caused all this, stopped at a turn-out a short way down the road.

A older red T-bird going south driven by an elderly man with his wife as passenger hadn't taken the curve in the road, but had struck me starting at the driver's side front door, mangling the rear door on that side, and shearing off the rear wheel.

Highlander Side Damage

The inland side of the road is the mountain, with another barrier lining the road. When I was spun around, the passenger side of the bumper must have struck the barrier, as it was damaged as well. I couldn't get a picture of that.

The front bumper was scraped by the barrier blocking the fall to the ocean.

Front Bumper Scraped

I walked down to see who had struck me. I saw the elderly couple, and that they seemed unharmed. They didn't speak much English, especially the man. I asked that we exchange information, but he didn't seem to understand. I let it go, deciding that the police could handle it. We started to direct traffic around us, while waiting for the police to come.

The first to arrive on the scene was Gus, an "Active Retiree" volunteer for the San Mateo County Sheriff's office. He took over directing traffic and organizing things. Two fire trucks from Point Montara Fire Station, an ambulance, and four more Sheriff's cars came. They handled traffic control, and had Joe's Auto Body in Pacifica come out to clear my car. Because of jurisdiction, that's all they could do, until CHP arrived from San Francisco. The fellow who had caused all this started taking pictures of everything, and was even interfering with efforts of the wrecker trying to move the Highlander. The deputies had to drag him away. But the scene was cleared, and traffic was flowing again.

CHP arrived, took the reports, arranged for AAA to come get both cars. Jeff from Miller & O'Brien in Pacifica arrived a short time later and put the Highlander on a flat bed, and used the stinger to get the T-Bird. And thus we were taken safely off of Devil's Slide.

5 feedbacks »
 

5 comments

Comment from:
mcosgrove

That’s a hell of a way to start your day! I’m glad that you are alright.

Was the little-english speaking felllow in the older car a russian or other eastern european?

Now, having said all that, make sure you get copies of the police reports and save names and adresses of the witnesses. I don’t like his behavior, running about taking pictures and interfering with the police investigation. You might have been the victim of a staged accident.

03/17/05 @ 12:31
Comment from:
kpilotti

I am glad nobody was injured.

I agree with Mike (go figure). Sounds like a setup to me.

03/17/05 @ 15:20
Comment from: JAdP

They were an elderly couple, I’m guessing in their late 70’s. The accent and intonation [histrionics] sounded Russian Jew to me; but they could have been German, or slavic. The insurance company is aware of the picture taking, and also are anticipating a set-up. By the way, it looks as though the Highlander will be totaled. That was the inspectors “gut feel” but they’re going through the formal estimates. They’ll let us know next week.

03/18/05 @ 01:00
Comment from: Letti
Letti

Oh no!! So sorry to hear about the accident..and your poor car. Luckily, as you said, no one was “hurt” physically. David and I went up Highway 1 along the pacific in our RV once in summer 2003 from san francisco to washington and i believe how catastrophic it would have been if there had been no barrier on the ocean side!

03/18/05 @ 06:25
Comment from: JAdP

Well, it turns out that the other driver is trying to blame me for the accident. As near as our insurance company can figure out, his claim is based on the theory that people going around a left hand curve are more likely to go over the line than people going around a right hand curve, and thus, it was my fault. ;)

Luckily, we got the police report the same day that we heard this news. The CHP on site concluded after talking to the other driver [referred to as D2], the witness and me, that D2 caused the accident by leaving his lane when it was unsafe to do so.

What struck me though, was that all three statements in the police report [D2, the witness and me] all noted a loud BANG as the first indication that something was wrong. I think that D2’s first statement to me after the accident may be the most correct. His tire blew causing him to lose control. I wonder if it was a defective tire, or just worn out? I mentioned this to the investigator from D2’s insurance; they’re going to look into it.

Other than that, I had my annual physical the week after the accident. Based on the standard urinalysis, my doctor asked if I had been in an accident recently. 88| He’s ordered more tests, and we’re meeting again next week.

04/09/05 @ 13:36
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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

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