I was reading the piece about the road rage incident in California...
That the second driver died after wandering back into traffic reminded me of one of the weirdest nights of my life, and I decided I’d share with y’all. Bit of a brain dump, pardon me for the run-on qualities.
I was 17, just graduated from high school, leaving work at a warehouse on the far side of town from where I lived, driving across town on a usually-busy interstate, now utterly quiet because it was around 2am.
I was pretty tired, wasn’t thinking clearly, when suddenly I noticed a woman running towards me, waving her purse, trying to get my attention. On the highway. While I was driving somewhere around 60mph.
(My first thought was that, much like the Nation of Islam men standing on street corners with flowers and newspapers, she wanted money. Like I said, I was tired.)
Needless to say I zoomed past her before I could really react, but I saw a man chasing her, and a car stopped on the margin.
A car a short distance in front of me tapped its brakes, but when the driver saw me do a U-turn he/she just kept going. Smart move, but I wish they’d pulled off somewhere to call the police. (1988, practically no one had mobile phones.)
I drove back to where he had her pinned against the tall concrete barrier in the median. Stopped my car, got out (then remembered I had my paycheck in my shirt pocket and went back to hide it in the glove compartment...weird the things we remember after 30 years).
They were screaming at each other, but I somehow managed to get her back to my car. He wasn’t willing to just let her go, though, and prevented me from closing the door.
Thankfully, around this time a semi (USPS, thanks whoever you were) pulled over and, I assume, used his CB to notify the police. A short time later law enforcement showed up. Probably 20 minutes up to that point of me trying to get out of the situation, but I honestly have no idea. Stressful and harried time.
The first question the police had, of course, is whose car was pointed the wrong way on the interstate. Thankfully that wasn’t their major concern, but it struck me at the time as surreal.
Anyway, about 5 police cars on both sides of the highway showed up (slow night) and while they were talking to the three of us, others were chatting back and forth. I distinctly remember someone sitting on the median, talking down to our side (the lanes in the other direction were somewhat elevated) and asking another officer about his kids.
Apparently she was a hooker trying to get away from him that night, and he was married, and I’d sure like to know how it all played out in the end, but I never found out. Every few years I remember the incident and think I should call the police and inquire.
Lessons learned? I suppose always have a cell phone, and as my mother said when I finally had let enough time lapse that I could tell her about it, always be cognizant of the odds of someone downtown in large city carrying a weapon.