FIRST PERSON | VICTORIA DUNHAM
I whined most of the day — well, at least from 9 a.m. on, when my downstairs neighbor called and said: “I have bad news. You know that loud crash you heard last night?”
I had heard a big crash at around 3 a.m., then a car alarm going off — typical Bush Street sounds. But then the downstairs door opened and closed, which was only slightly odd because Uncle Andy was here and I knew he heard the same sound that woke me up — and being the car guy he is, it would not be out of the realm of possibility that he might go out to investigate things, even though it was 3 in the morning.
But it wasn’t just any car the jerk hit. It was my car. After sideswiping the car parked behind me, the driver hit the back of my car dead-on without braking. Andy figures he was going around 40 to 50 miles an hour.
So there he is, backing up in his crippled brand new BMW — dealer plates still on — when Andy came out. The guy then tears down the street with Andy tailing him in his car; Andy was parked right outside the house and jumped in his car to follow the guy. Andy calls 911 and gives chase to the new BMW with one blown-out front tire, which is leaving a trail of rubber and billowing smoke, two blocks up to Laguna then up to Sacramento and down two blocks. All the while Andy has the cops on the phone, giving them a blow-by-blow of where he is and where the guy is — almost losing him a few times, but he stays on him. Finally the guy pulls over, parks his car and walks away.
Andy is still on the phone with the cops and still following him in his car. The guy finally cuts down an alley and disappears before the cops can get there. But Andy has a really good description of him.
Meanwhile, back on Bush Street, my car has been totaled. I call my insurance company and take the car to the body shop. The guy there does not even walk out of his office — just takes one look at the back and says, “No way.”
I whine some more. We talked about whether the BMW was stolen. Andy points out that if it were stolen, the guy would have just jumped out after hitting my car and hit the bricks. But he didn’t.
Then I stopped whining and just got pissed. I called the cops, but could not get a police report for three or four days. So I decided to go to the BMW dealership to see if they’d had a car stolen. Andy came with me. Andy had taken a picture of the front of the car, but not the back — what was he thinking? One of the guys at the dealership pointed out a parking tag in the front window, but it was too blurry to read. They also mentioned that it is an $85,000 car. We stopped at a second auto shop and they also said no way.
So now I’m thinking: I have the report, the cops have his car, Andy can ID him and he spent just spent $85,000 on a car. Hit and run. No charges. My car is totaled. Is there a new Mercedes in my future?
In the meantime, I can still drive my car, because even with a completely crumpled rear end, the crash did not affect the tires. My neighbor pried open the trunk and reconnected the right rear light, so I am legal, kind of.
I loved my car. Maybe I loved my car too much. It fit like a glove, a perfect pair of jeans. I was going to have my car forever and ever. Not anymore. But Uncle Andy is my hero.
Victoria Dunham is the proprietor of Hi-Ho Silver at 1904 Fillmore.