The Hit, Run and Return: How My Car was Recently Totaled

I arrived at the parking lot at work two Thursdays ago and noticed one of my coworkers had gotten a snazzy new vehicle. I looked back at my rusted, dented Nissan Versa and wondered when it was going to give up on me.

It looked like this, but mine was a lot worse.

My coworker explained she had gotten a really good deal, her payments were lower and the vehicle was new—and there was no catch. Suddenly, I was almost ready to buy a car from her. But in reality, I REALLY liked not having a car payment.

Like many people, my car is something I use almost every day of the week, yet it’s something I think very little about. I just kind of hop in and go. I think there was about three inches of dust on the dash and crumbs from 2016 in the back. I’m not picky about cars either. I don’t care what it looks like, as long as it does its job. For example, someone hit my car as it was parked in front of my house on January 1, 2018. Rather than tracking down the asshole who made a lovely dent in the rear passenger door or getting it fixed, I let it rust for nearly three years.

This is what it looked like the day of the accident, BEFORE it got worse and rusted.

I had no plans on getting it fixed. It still ran and transported me from point A to point B. I would never pay a $500 deductible for something that worked perfectly fine. Was it because I was broke or frugal? You pick.

The conversation with my coworkers basically ended with me saying, “Yeah, having a new car would be lovely, but I plan to run mine into the ground until it shits out.”

On my way home from work, I needed to stop at Aldi for essentials—wine and cheese. I was planning a wondrous evening with some friends the following night which would include a cheese board and wine: two of the greatest wonders of the world. There are two Aldi locations on opposite ends of town, and I frequent one more than the other. They are equal distances from work and home, so it really is a coin toss on which one I was going to. It just depends on the day, ya know. One is busier than the other, but has more items, in my opinion, and I sometimes take this into account. But I enjoy switching it up, so I opted for the less busy option, which is on a route I hardly take.

After obtaining the items I needed, I went home, as one does when they finish work and running errands. The road I turned onto is a straight shot to my house, pretty much. It’s not a highway, but is moderately traveled by commuters who prefer to avoid the interstate. It’s what I refer to as a “half-highway.”

I am cruising along westward and see a vehicle parked on the right shoulder of the road, which was on my side. They were stopped facing west, and I assumed they planned to just merge back onto the road and head west. As soon as I was within 25 feet of them, they pulled out in front of my vehicle and attempted to turn their vehicle around and head east.

I obviously slammed on the horn and hit the brakes to avoid blasting into the car, DUH. But since they decided to do a U-turn right as I was approaching, I slammed straight into the back right end of their vehicle going 40-50 mph.

Okay, lovely. My airbag deployed, I thought my wrist was broken and I was wondering what the hell just happened. I got out of my car because it was smoking, and I thought it might explode.

I walked over to their vehicle as mine was just chilling in the middle of the road. Vehicles passed as if nothing happened. We both determined we weren’t dead, and I walked back to my car to move it out of the roadway.

I hadn’t been in a real wreck before, so I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. While I was processing what to do, the woman told me they were going home to switch cars because they lived just down the road. Uhm…………………………………

So I called the cops.

“Hello, 911? Yes, someone pulled out in front of me, I rammed them and now they left.”

“They left?”

“Yeah, don’t ask me.”

I also called and spoke to my mom for almost the entirety of the incident because no one in their 20s these days is a real adult. I also ‘ordered’ a tow truck. As I informed Stan of the situation, the couple had returned in a different vehicle.

I informed the woman a tow truck, the cops and my husband were all on their way to help out. Her husband got out of the car and goes,

“Just take this vehicle,” he said, gesturing to the new blue chariot.

They insisted on giving me the car they returned in. They were adamant about it. The vehicle? A 2020 Nissan Versa.

Do you recall what vehicle I said I drive? A Nissan Versa. These people came back with a 2020 version of my car AND TRIED TO GIVE IT TO ME.

I told them it probably wasn’t going to happen, and I couldn’t take their car from them. They offered me to sit in the car while we waited for all three of our lifelines to show up.

I sat in their car, because mine smelled like fried spiders from the airbag going off and something was smoking.

First it was Stan to arrive. Once he showed up, I got out and had him sit in my car with me. I gave him the rundown. He thought it was odd. The woman came back and explained since they live just about 100 yards away, they took their vehicle that was involved in the wreck home, fearing the tire was going to go flat.

Well, I thought it was because maybe there was a kilo of coke or a dead body in their trunk. Or both.

I guess this makes sense, but? I told the couple they would likely be ticketed for leaving the scene of an accident. They didn’t mind.

The tow truck was the next to arrive.

“So where is this being towed?” I asked the driver. Because, hello?

“Wherever you want,” he said.

Okay, how about the White House lawn? Stan found an autobody shop in our town and chose it. All of the paperwork was completed, and we were still waiting on the police. Luckily the couple paid for the tow. $150 saved.

Once the deputy arrived, I explained the situation just as I had here.

I tell him, “I have never been in a wreck like this before, so I really have no idea what I’m doing.”

He goes, “Yeah, me neither. This is my first call out of training.”

Do you know the emoji with lines for eyes and a line for lips? That was me.

Actual photo of me from Oct. 1, 2020.

He grabs my license and insurance as well as the other driver’s. By this time, it’s probably 45 degrees outside too. The couple insisted Stan and I sit and wait in the heat while the officer did his thing.

“Come sit in your new car. Come check it out,” the man said.

???????????????????????????????????

We hopped in the car and he goes on and on and on about how this car is now mine, while I’m just like, “What is happening? Did I actually die in that wreck? I must be dead. This doesn’t happen.”

The officer walked up to the man’s window and asked him what happened.

Verbatim, he goes:

“Well, uh…. Ya see.. Uhm… Well…. She was going west, and I was going south!”

I hopped out of the vehicle. The officer and I made eye contact and we were both thinking, “What the flip?”

“Yeah, what I told you is the story, and now they’re trying to give me this car,” I said.

“Uhm… This is all weird. Don’t do that. Just go through insurance,” he said.

We were free to go, I snapped a picture of their insurance card, and we got the heck out of dodge.

Meanwhile, the deputy went to snoop on the couple’s vehicle at their home.

I am just wondering how that ended. Since it’s been a couple of weeks, I found the crash report online. It was not helpful at all. Since the couple was offering me a vehicle for free, I expected they must be quite well off. I took the same route home, in a wonderful rental provided by State Farm, to scope out their home. If they were rich, I would possibly consider taking the vehicle. Even then, I don’t think I could do it. As I approached their house, I spotted the vehicle still parked in the same spot it was on the day of the accident.

I drove by three times, because all I could see was a mass of trees. No home was detected. There was no driveway. Did they live in a tent? Did they even live there? Maybe it was just property they owned. It was odd, so I left.

State Farm FINALLY got back to me, explaining that my car was, in fact, totaled and offered me a dollar amount. My mom said this was way too low, because they compared prices with those closer to Chicagoland. Basically, they compare prices of vehicles similar to mine, as if they were in perfect condition. They do not take into account previous damage or damage from the accident.

My mom spoke with State Farm again, because as I previously mentioned, 20-somethings aren’t actually adults. The title of my vehicle was still in my mom’s name because I hadn’t bothered changing it over to mine. Also, yes. I was the one making the payments, so it was my car. I’m ¼ independent, thank you very much.

So what was my vehicle worth in the eyes of State Farm? Just after taxes, I will be getting $6,200. I was astonished. I find this comical, because I figured I might get $3,000 if I was lucky!

Like Billy Joe and Bobbie Sue, I’m taking the money and running.

I have had a rental car for nearly three weeks now, and will be purchasing a Ford Edge on Tuesday. Somehow, miraculously, by the grace of Jesus H. Christ, the same girl who had $74 in her bank account one year ago (NO EXAGGERATION) was approved for financing without a cosigner and will be putting 11 grand down on a vehicle in a few days.

Signing the check will be hellacious, but I gotta do what I gotta do.

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