A little after 5:30pm last Saturday as I was making myself some dinner there was a sudden loud sound, like somebody dropped a bunch of metal parts on a hard floor. A crash, if you will, from somewhere outside.
I put on my shoes and went outside to see what I could see. Around the corner and up the street a bit there was a car that had run into a tree. In our neighborhood there is a stretch of space between the sidewalk and the street, the curb strip, and in front of each house there is a large tree planted there.
By the time I got over there some of the neighbors had already gathered around the car, a Pontiac Bonneville, and the woman who had been driving it was standing next to the car yelling into her cell phone. She looked to be shaken but okay. The airbags had deployed, so she was probably spared any serious injury.
She was not interested in any help and was aggressively telling the neighbors to go away and not call the police. As I walked up I could see she had an ankle monitor on, which probably explained why she was not interested in any help from the authorities.
One of the neighbors insisted on calling the police however and the woman then fled the scene, running up the street away from the direction I had come.
The fire department showed up first, which is expected as the firehouse is just two blocks away. The head of the crew asked about the driver and we gave him a general description and a “she went that away” response.
An ambulance showed up shortly thereafter, but left after a brief interval, there being no driver to check on or transport.
Then the police showed up and started going through the car and asking about the driver. The fire crew, seeing there was nothing for them to do either, made like the ambulance and drove off.
By this point I had wandered off to check on my dinner in the over, but I stepped out and peeked around the corner whenever I heard something going on.
A flatbed car carrier showed up next and the police blocked off the street while it got lined up on the car, cranked it onto the truck, and carried it away. I could see a detective on the scene as well, probably from the county and probably looking for the woman with the ankle monitor.
Things got quiet for a bit, then a couple of big trucks rolled up. I walked out and saw the crew dismount and start sizing up the tree. They had a wood chipper in tow behind one of the trucks.
The tree which, as you can see in that picture, not only shed a considerable number of branches but also ended up noticeably off true, appeared to have been declared a hazard in need of immediate attention. In a quite 15 minutes of loud grinding and chain saws the tree was gone, the trucks rolling off into the evening. It was a little after 7:30pm.
My wife and daughter, who had been at Ikea, came home as the tree crew was finishing up. I told them what had happened and said that if they had been a few minute later they might not have seen any evidence that anything at all had occurred, unless they noticed that a tree was missing up the street.
And then I realized that the people who live in the house were nowhere to be seen. There is usually a car in the driveway, but nobody was home. I am sure the city or the police will notify them as to what happened, but I have to wonder what they thought when they got home and everything was calm and peaceful… except that the tree on their curb strip was missing.