Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ban the Pontiac Grand Am

So, this happened.

Monday, after work, I went out into my driveway to work on my boat, taking off the winter tarp and putting on the summer cover, getting the batteries in. As I worked outside, Jaxson, the 82# dogfood recycling machine, sunbathed on the driveway. I found that one of my batteries had spring a leak, and so halted work at that point, a smidge pissed, but wevs, I'll get another battery. C'mon, Jax, inside.
I left the main front door open, Sweetie would be home soon and Jax likes to look out the storm door.

About a half an hour later, as I am mixing the dogfood into the incredibly arcane mixture that Sweetie has decreed her boy get, Jax started raising a ruckus, but not like 'Mom's home!!1!eleventyone!' I looked out front.

There was a young(-ish? not sure) man out in my driveway. As I went to the door, I heard an engine rev, and the guy took off between my truck and my boat. 

A red car slammed, seriously, slammed, into my truck. Maybe 30 miles an hour and judging by the engine rev, accelerating.


The car backed off, tore ass out of my driveway, across a curb, a street, another curb, a lawn. I was grabbing my phone and memorizing the plates as the car disappeared. At this point, I was confuzzled and pissed. Called 911, reported as I went outside. Most of my immediate neighbors were on the way to my driveway. At least one other was on his phone, presumably 911-ing.

All the following photos are by Sweetie - I'll explain later in the post, but at this point I was a goddamn puddle, literally.

The approach:

Looking at these photos, regrettably, she did not get a good photo of the front of the truck, I'll update when I get home, but here's a close-up - the black bar is the frame.

I'm not a mechanic by any stretch, but I see I'm not hemorraghing fluids, so I suspect the truck will start and run. However, and this is why I should get a better picture of the truck, the tires are seriously askew, and while I'm not entirely sure, the whole front end looks, umm, offsies. I have internal concerns about the future of the vehicle, but it still needs to be appraised. (That story will be here shortly...)

The dude is the sweater is my neighbor, pointing at where my truck had been at the start.

Third party information, from other neighbors:
There seems to be some backstory. The neighbor above, with his wife, and others, had seen the occupants of the car, two women and a man, stop on our block, apparently arguing, and one woman and the man got out and were fistfighting on another neighbor's lawn. He was already on 911 for that. The fight seems to have ended, and only the woman returned to the car and she started driving off, he started walking off. She said something to him, and he opened her car door and started beating on her, then started running. She followed. Onto my lawn and etc. etc.etc.

While the cops were at my place a woman from a block down came to tell the cops that someone was chasing a man across lawns on her street and the man had stolen someone's bicycle and this is a kid intensive area and oh, it seems you already know about it. 

After my initial anger I'd said "and my dog was right there 30 minutes ago and" paleo was done. I went into quasi-freakout - my dog is my kid, you know, and I am famously bleeding heart commie-lib-stanian but if you hurt kids or animals your ticket should be punched, and if you hurt my dog/kid I'll do the punching. So other than telling the cop what I saw, Sweetie had come home, and she handled things. 

Aside: Not 10 minutes before this I'd asked Sweetie to pick me up a six pack, I'd worked hard on the boat, and she later said, "I thought you really needed that beer now, and maybe a bottle of Xanax, but if I gave you that beer at that point the cop would have been thoroughly convinced he'd gone to WhitetrashWood". My dog had been right there. I'd been on the boat. Fucking christ.

So, by 8pm, everything, including most of paleo, had calmed down. Dinner plans had changed from Southwestern style omelets to ham sandwiches. About 9, the neighbor stopped by, my phone was off, the police had called, they'd put an all-MN BOLO on the car, and picked her up (hammered) in Circle Pines, about 30 minutes away. The cop who handled my case went to pick her up and interviewed her, and of course she denied everything. He said we have three eyewitnesses who can identify you, I don't know who, no one Sweetie talked to said they'd had a good look, I didn't, the car windows were very tinted. But, in the lawn, he'd picked up a few plastic bitties, turned out to be press-on fingernails. He told her to hold out her hands and lo!, three missing pink press-on fingernails and she confessed.

As the man was initially running, he'd dropped something. His wallet. The neighbor above gave it to the cops and according to the lead cop his driver's license had him wearing the exact same hoodie we'd all described.

The driver was apparently unlicensed, the car was not hers. Unsure of the insurance situation. And we'd just changed insurance a couple weeks ago, but the State farm underwriters are apparently behind, so while we have insurance and have been assured we're covered, even if the deductible comes out of our pocket (again, unsure of the insurance situation of the car) (which will thoroughly infuriate me but infuriation is in my comfort zone), but they are scrambling with ours to get the 't's dotted so we can get the truck looked at, we're doing some scrambling but stuff happens. Arggh.

SO. Casualties. Again, I don't know, nor do I need to know, the backstory, but apparently she was seriously bruised. Whether from the beating or hitting a fucking pickup with a Grand Am I neither know nor care. She is facing DWI/Hit and Run and may face stronger charges based on trying to kill a guy. I don't know that he's been arrested yet, I'm certain as soon as he found out he'd lost his license he went underground. My truck? Uhhhh. Still need to have it looked at because of the underwriting stuff not being through yet, but I have, I believe legitimate, fears (IANAM) that it's gonna be a thing, and replacement value on a 5yr, 80k mile truck does not get me a new truck. My piece of mind? at the moment still queasy, this is a very diverse, friendly, family neighborhood, lot of kids, and this is certainly extraordinary, and Jax will not be on the driveway until paleo mellows the fuck out.

Anyhow, stuff.


  1. Glad you are all alright. What a night!

    1. Appreciate that kimbers, actually kinda lucky, we'd been outside not long before, that birch tree in the one photo is 10ft from the house. Everything's probably bigger and worse in my mind than it actually is, because it was Right. Effin'. There. Dammit, the world is bugnuts.

    2. Please see:

  2. Wow. That is not the kind of excitement one needs in one's life.

    Glad the only injuries were to the truck. Those Toyota's are pretty damn tough (You've surely seen Top Gear try to kill one? ). You may just have a bent lower control arm and/or other damaged suspension bits (in addition to the obvious cosmetic damage). If that's true and the frame doesn't need to be straightened, the suspension stuff would actually be a DIY job (IMHO anyway -- pretty straightforward stuff). Should even be able to get good used replacements at a yard, or craigslist if some off-roader type upgraded their suspension and is looking to get rid of the stock stuff. That is, if the insurance sitch doesn't come out favorably -- hopefully insurance will cover it and you won't have to worry about it though.

    1. OBS tried to talk me into doing my own work on my car, too. I think the thinks it' funny....

    2. Phooey. You just don't want to get your sensitive zombie hands dirty. Admittedly, you might lose a finger or ten.

    3. Please see:

  3. Man. Thought I was going to read about animal tragedy. Don't fake/freak me out that way!!

    1. If there was animal tragedy, I'd be too busy planning my defense to write about it.
      Please See:

  4. Whoah.

    You should move to the city. Would be safer...

  5. I don't know if they need to ban the Grand Am, but they definitely need to band drunken d-bag drivers.

  6. Also, man, if you need contributions to the truck fund, I'll be good for that in a week or so, after the tax payment is processed and the next paycheck comes in.

    1. Please See:

    2. If'n my truck hadnae made it, I was gonna buy either a D9 or a used Bradley.