I had lunch with my friend Tom on Saturday. Afterward, we went for a walk around DuPont Circle. As we were heading up 17th Street we saw this unfold.
I looked over and noticed a car on a side street. It was moving slowly toward the stop sign. But the driver wasn't slowing down. I thought, What does he think, cars on 17th Street have to stop? Because they don't. He then proceeded to roll through the stop sign.
The driver of the oncoming car slammed on the breaks to avoid hitting the car — accident averted by the quick reaction of the car driving on 17th Street.
This is when things go bizarre.
The guy who almost caused the accident, the guy who ran the stop sign — he gets out of his car and starts yelling at the other driver. He says in part, You were driving too fast. This wouldn't have happened if you were driving the speed limit.
My reaction was, It wouldn't have happened if you'd stopped at the stop sign.
The guy continues to yell at the other driver. That driver, a woman, was shaken up over what happened, as anyone would be, just avoiding an accident. The guy then takes out his camera and takes a picture of the woman's car. The woman gets out of her car and says, What are you doing. The guy says, This is to document what you did. Again he repeats you were driving too fast.
You can tell the woman is even more shaken by this. The guy continues to yell. He adds I stopped and was inching out into the intersection. He implies again the woman was driving too fast. At this point, I've had enough and yell back, No, you weren't inching into the intersection; you ran the stop sign.
He says he wasn't and I say he was. He then yells, You lie!
A man across the street chimes in and says you're supposed to stop. The guy yells a him too.
The guy gets back into his car and moves it out of the middle of the lane, back to the street he came from. He is yelling again that he's a pedestrian and so he knows to stop his car. I yell back at him and say you ran the stop sign. I get you lie again.
The woman asks if she can get our names and contact information just in case this guy does something weird. She is shaking as she enters the information in her phone. She apologies when she has to ask me for my information again. I say you have nothing to apologize for. You didn't do anything wrong.
The guy has now driven across the street. He yells yet again out his window blaming the woman for what almost happen. I yell back that you ran the stop sign. This is your fault. I again get you lie and he finally drives off.
What a nut, one of us says. The woman says she can't believe what just happened. Tom and I agree. She thanks us for giving her our information. She gets into her car and heads out.
Tom and I continue our walk. We are both dumbfounded over what we just saw. Tom says, Did you notice the passenger side of his car toward the front? It had a big dent in it. I said I had.
Like I said, the whole event was so weird. Guy must have anger issues. Why else would he react the way he did especially when it was obvious (well obvious to everyone but him) that he was in the wrong?
Both of us wondered what would have happened if we had not been there or stayed around.
We finished our walk. I headed off to Gallery Place to see the Hobbit movie and then I went home. Oh, and during those two walks, I saw four cars run red lights, in one case making a left turn onto Massachusetts Avenue, which has two lanes of traffic going in both directions. In all four cases the light had long turned red before the cars entered the intersection.
Moral of the story is people need to slow down when they drive. Because some day they will hit someone or someone will hit them. And it will do more damage then just a dent on the side of the car.