I work at Nationwide and I love our jingle, Nationwide is on your side. I’ve loved Peyton Manning since his college days and still have his senior year media guide from Tennessee. So you can imagine that I thoroughly enjoy the television commercials that are out now…chicken parm you taste so good, losing feeling in my toes, fifty Omaha set hut. After last night’s experience I know that it doesn’t matter where I work, the commercials I know, the jingles I sing, when you are in a car accident it’s hard to think of what’s right to do.
My friend Jen and I were on our way to the Casino to play a few games and eat at the Epic buffet. We had done this one other year and because we got there early we didn’t deal with the crazy party people and didn’t wait in any lines for food. So we decided to do that again and we were going to leave at six. I got home a little early and sent a message that I was ready whenever she was so she came down around 5:45.
We were super chatty on the car ride because we hadn’t seen each other in well over a week and there was a lot of catching up to do. As a result, we missed a few turns. First, we went east on 670 instead of west. We pulled off and got right back in the lane to go west and some dude comes into our lane with an aggressive merge move. No big deal, Jen stopped, accident avoided.
We hop on 670 and get to 70 towards Cincinnati/Dayton. I thought we were supposed to go the other way but didn’t say anything because honestly, I didn’t know. As we are merging some guy comes flying past us, on the right *we were merging to the left* and shoots across two lanes. Wow, was about all we both could mutter. It was about 6 p.m. so to me, it was a little shocking that so many crazies were already out on the road.
We cruise on down the interstate still chatting and I see signs for the casino but we don’t take either exit. I say, “wasn’t that the exit for the casino, I think I can see it right over there?” She laughs and says something like, yes, oops. We laugh and agree we will just get off at the next exit. I thought we were going to get back on the interstate and go back to the previous exit but she said the casino was on Georgesville road so we could just find it from here. I could see the casino lights so I just kept on with whatever story I was telling.
From here, things get confusing. I know we were at a stop light, the casino was visibly on the right, a white truck was in front of us. I heard a loud bang, something fell near my feet, Jen screamed. I looked over at her and she was clinging to the steering wheel, her head bounced forward. Then I saw a truck skidding to the left across oncoming traffic.
I may have asked, what just happened. I probably did. Jen probably said, we just got hit. I know I asked her if she was okay and she said she was. She looked in the rear view mirror and I looked ahead. The white truck was moving forward and looked like he was going to stop, but didn’t. Jen slowly moved the car forward so we could get out of the way. By the time she put it in park the truck that hit us was driving down a side road, away from the accident he just caused.
Some indecent language probably occurred at that point, mostly out of absolute shock that this guy was driving off. His whole front passenger side of the truck was demolished, to me it looked like his wheel was even bent in.
Jen got out to see what damage was done to her car and asked me to call 911. A family was walking down the sidewalk and gave her some detail they saw about the truck that hit us. I provided all of this to the 911 operator and the Franklin Township police and confirmed that we should stay put until someone arrived.
Jen got back in the car and put the hazard lights on and, like any woman would do, I said, “so anyway” and continued with my story.
Six minutes later a firetruck showed and set up to protect us from traffic, which was nice. Up until then people were driving over car parts and were so close to our car I could hear pieces crunching on the road. One woman yelled out the window as they passed us, I have no idea what she said but she looked mad. I mean, sorry lady, someone hit us, didn’t mean to make you change lanes.
One fireman cleaned the road, one talked to Jen outside and one came to check on me. I hadn’t got out of the seat yet. He asked if I was okay and I said yes, my neck hurts a little and my ears are hurting – I think because I wore these bigger earrings. He laughed. He asked where the other car was and I said, he drove off. His response? “Welcome to the west side of Columbus.” We heard similar responses the rest of the night.
So the firemen followed us to the casino parking lot and told us to wait for the police. That took a while, but less than a half an hour. Jen got the things she knew she would need out of the glove box and then said, uh oh, I don’t have my insurance card with me. This is not surprising to me because she has two cars. I barely can remember to put my card in the one car I drive. We both assume, no big deal, call State Farm once the cops arrive.
The cops definitely need a policy number. And they need both of our drivers licenses. Not sure why they need mine but I give it to them and say, “I have my insurance card if you need it.” That probably wasn’t a nice thing to say with Jen already out of her comfort zone, but it was supposed to be funny, and no one saw the humor. But, Jen and I have the same insurance agent so she calls the number on my card.
They won’t give her her policy number on the phone. Wowza. She’s already flustered, I mean we were just in an accident. She could barely steer the car to the parking lot, she doesn’t know how we are getting home, and now she can’t prove to the police that she has car insurance. The guy on the phone tells her to go online to get it. Ok, yeah, cause I’m always logging in to my State Farm website and I totally remember the username and password.
After about 10 minutes of guessing and retrieving user names and passwords we get the policy number and share it with the police. Then I get the questions because my address doesn’t match my driver’s license.
Let’s all remember that a dude hit us and drove off and no one is looking for him.
I explain that I have a card that the state sent me with my new address on it but it is to go “with” my license and is bigger than my wallet, blah blah. He assures me that it’s no problem he just needed to know where I lived.
Shortly after that we are told that the sheriff went to look for the guy but couldn’t find him, we were ‘free to go’ (I don’t think he used those words), to try to have a good evening and that if we were going to leave the car to tell the casino.
It’s well after 7 now and the casino crowd has arrived. As we are walking in I say to her again, “I can’t tell you how happy I am that we weren’t in the Audi.”
Her “other” car is an Audi A5, a 45,000 dollar coupe that takes me 4 minutes to get in and out of because it is so low to the ground (and I’m so big). We were in her Honda Element, her fun car that she paid cash for so she could run around with her outdoorsy stuff and not worry about it getting dirty or dinged. Forget about which car was worth more, I can’t even imagine what would have happened to us if that full sized truck would have plowed into us in that car.
As it was, we were both walking with nothing more than some soreness. We went into the casino, which now had crazy long lines. She told one employee about the car in the lot and he said, “oh you are the ones who got hit on Georgesville road?” Normally, I like being famous. In this instance, I didn’t.
We were both hungry and confused, not sure how to get home, not sure if we needed to call the insurance company now or wait for the police report, not sure if we should even try to have a New Years Eve “night.” We decided not to bother and grabbed a cab to get to my house. We almost got hit during that ride too so when Jen was going to take my car to her house she admitted being nervous. It wasn’t even 9 p.m.
Jen took care of the insurance stuff when she got home. I went to bed before midnight and woke up sore in more than one place – but not worse than the first day of practice during any sport I played as a kid.
I don’t know what we could have done different, if we did the “right” stuff post-crash. Only time will tell if State Farm will take care of Jen properly – all of the repairs are on her because the guy did a hit-and-run. As grateful as I am that we are fine and nothing truly bad happened to us, I kind of feel like – because I work at an insurance company – I should have known exactly what to do, and I didn’t.
My hope is that I won’t need to know again, but just in case, I think I’ll look into it.