Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Running Scared

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - I haven't really had much time to deal much with Dusty's death, because a bigger, more serious situation overshadowed my life last week.

I'm afraid to go into much detail, lest going into too much explicit detail on this public forum affect my legal case any.

Legal case? Say what?

To try to make a long story short: a couple of Fridays ago I was involved in a minor hit-and-run...and, I am embarrassed to say---especially now that I am in a certain amount of hot water because of it---I was the party that ran.

I didn't drive away absolutely knowing I was escaping the scene of an accident. Okay, I may have felt a bump from my front-left bumper, but for all I know, it could have been from the rough, unpaved road I was driving on; and I saw no one around me react in a way that suggested he/she was aware anything had occurred. So I kept on going (if nervously and gingerly), eventually blotting the incident out of my mind altogether.

That set me up for the worst possible shock last Wednesday, when I get hit with four---count 'em, four---traffic tickets from the South Brunswick police, sent to my house via snail mail (and, worse, addressed to my dad, because the car I was driving is technically registered under his name, apparently).

The citations:

Leaving the scene of an accident
Failure to report accident
Careless driving
No liability insurance

Jesus Christ. Why didn't I stop??? (Was seeing Flight of the Red Balloon a second time that important to me?) I know the rules of the New Jersey roads; what was I thinking, continuing on like that? Where was my good sense?

I can't afford a license suspension now. Shit, people have gone to jail for this!

Not that it necessarily matters in the long run, but if you look at my car, you'll see little to no evidence of an accident of any sort. I can't imagine that the other car was damaged that much. Of course, I don't know that for sure; I didn't stop.

Now the duty of finding out the details from the other party falls onto my lawyer to discover.

Because of this situation, my weekend was pretty much an extended bout of depressed second-guessing; I couldn't even enjoy the warm feelings I felt after meeting with a few lovely people at The Wall Street Journal's New York office in the World Financial Center last Thursday regarding a possible post-monitor desk job. And now my China trip is coming up in a couple of days---I have to have this festering in the back of my mind while trying to enjoy myself overseas! (My mother tries to tell me not to worry, especially because I have legal representation. How can I not, though? This is pretty damn serious.)

I have no one to blame but myself, in this case. Still sucks, though.

P.S. Flight of the Red Balloon is still just as wondrous as I remember it. Definitely worth forgetting a hit-and-run accident for, although not worth the deeply unpleasant consequences.


Anonymous said...

Yes, it is serious. But lucky for you, you have a lawyer; hopefully a good one. AND I assume there was no bodily injury involved as far as the other party is concerned. You can make it a learning experience. Most likely the attorney will handle it with the least harmful consequences to you, and you can move on, because you will never do anything like this again, for sure.

Anonymous said...

A piece of advice which you did already touch on. I would refrain from any admission of liability whatsoever, in any terms, on this blog or in any other writings that are up for public view, on the internet or otherwise. And if questioned by insurance companies, yours or the other parties, the same applies. You words could easily be used against you, so be careful. I think your lawyer would tell you the same thing or he should.

Kenji Fujishima said...

Maybe I shouldn't have even posted this in the first place :-( ...

Anonymous said...

No, you should have because its an important event that happened in your life. Just keep in mind what I said about admissions and keep what you say in general terms. It happened, accidents happen. No one is perfect. It will work out in the long run.

Kenji Fujishima said...

Thanks, as always. I was always going to post something about the incident, but yeah, I was careful about saying too much about it. As long as this doesn't work out to a license suspension or jail time, I'll be satisfied.

Anonymous said...

I do some work with the court system (in another state) so I have seen all kinds of things. It won't be jail time and I doubt it will be suspension. If you have a good lawyer he should be able to work out Community Service, a fine, and that's about it. Maybe you could go to your old high school and give a talk about safe driving or something. It all depends on what your lawyer can come up with and how convincing he can make your case. Lack of prior tickets or traffic offenses is also important. A first timer is treated differently than a habitual offender.