When the Highway Patrol officer asked me to take a look at the rear of the Jeep to note any damage, I said, "There's a tow bar on there that's clearly the hand of God."
Or the toe -- get it? "tow" -- of God.
I was driving home last night from doing project work in Oakland. On the highway, just leaving Oakland and heading into Emeryville, traffic came to a sudden stop.
A very sudden stop.
I managed to stop and not hit the car in front of me. I had a split second of relief before looking in the rear view mirror at the full-size Ford pick-up truck bearing down on me. He slammed into me. I slammed into the Corolla in front of me.
The drivers got out. The man in the pick-up came running up to see if I was okay. We were all okay.
Corolla called 9-1-1, who advised us to all move out of the number 1 lane and pull over a few hundred yards onto the right shoulder. We dutifully obeyed.
While we waited, I retrieved my license and insurance information, grabbed a piece of paper, ripped it in half, and started to give my information to Corolla. I called over to Ford, who was standing at his truck, talking with his four male passengers. As he walked over and I asked for his information, he said, "No, I'm not giving it to you. I'll give it to the police when they come."
"50 bucks says he doesn't have insurance," I said to Corolla.
Time passed, and I made small talk with Corolla. Ford stayed far away next to his truck and his friends, glaring over every so often. He glared all the more strongly when I took his picture alongside his truck.
Ford had some damage to his bumper and a bit to the front end. Poor Corolla had a lot of damage to his trunk and rear. The license plate from my Jeep had left an imprint on his car. I could almost make out the license plate number.
Jeep? My darling Jeep? Zip. Nada. You can't see a damn thing. Even the front license plate looks fine. As for the rear? White trash that we are, we've got our trailer hitch still on the back. That tow bar stopped Ford from damaging the Jeep itself.
That toe of God stays on forever. In fact, I'm thinking of buying another tow bar for the RAV4. Just in case.
The Highway Patrol officer interviewed Corolla first. He interviewed me next, making it clear that Corolla supported my claim that I was at a complete stop before Ford rammed me, before he interviewed Ford. When he returned to Corolla and me after interviewing Ford, it was pretty clear that Ford was the odd man out in his recitation of the facts.
That totally pissed me off. On the upside, the officer assured me Ford's insurance was good.
The bonus? Another officer arrived and started checking the IDs of the four passengers in the truck. Apparently, they suspected some might be in this country illegally.