This afternoon, a friend and I were discussing the most ridiculous legal situation we had ever found ourselves in. Having been (for the most part) a good, law abiding citizen, I didn’t have much to contribute to the conversation until I remembered something … there was that one time I hit a barn.
Almost everyone claims to be a “good driver.” I do not. I’m legally blind without my glasses and don’t see well at night even when wearing them. I am that person you hate who drives 30 mph in the 45 zone on Route 8 between Easley and Pickens that you blare your horn at and have to swerve around.
I do it because I don’t want to end up accidentally veering off the road into Hillcrest Cemetery, taking out rows of headstones. Sorry.
Twelve years ago, I lived in a little town called Woodstock, Vermont. I don’t know how many of you have ever been to Vermont, but there are very few highways. Everything is single-lane, mountainous, un-lit and runs a good chance of being paved with gravel.
It was around 3 a.m. when I was on my way home from work on “Old Route 12.” In Vermont, all of the little towns are located in valleys between the mountains. There’s no quick way to get from point “A” to point “B” — especially not when you work three towns over from where you live.
Old Route 12 is a single-lane gravel road. There are no street lights and very few markers. The entire area is rural. But apparently, at least one family lived out there, because I missed the turn in the road and ended up on their driveway.
In my defense, their mailbox had been knocked over some time ago and the driveway was a half a mile long. With no street signs or change in road surface (again, everything was gravel), I had no reason to believe I wasn’t still on the road.
Until a giant barn was right in front of me.
I don’t know if I can accurately convey the thoughts that go through your head when you’re happily driving along and suddenly realize you’re about to hit a barn. A frigging barn. Who does that? Well … me.
There was nowhere to turn, no time to brake, I was screwed. Did I mention I was driving a Ford Festiva? Thank goodness it at least had airbags.
Other than a tiny cut on my forehead (which bled like a war wound), I was fine. My car, however, was not and wouldn’t start. This was before cell phones were everywhere so I had little choice but to go knock on the homeowner’s door and (try to) explain what exactly had happened.
Being that it was 3 a.m. and out in the middle of nowhere, they didn’t answer. I get it. If a crazy person had just hit my barn with a car in the middle of the night and then was pounding on my door covered in blood, I probably wouldn’t answer either.
So I started walking. I walked for four miles before I finally connected with the main road so I had a chance to flag someone down. As my luck would have it, the first car that stopped was a friendly officer from the Vermont State Police.
I told the officer I had been in an accident and that I needed a tow truck called, he responded by — and I swear I’m not making this up — arresting me for leaving the scene of an accident.
Apparently the homeowners called the police after I left.
Eventually, it was all straightened out and the charges were dropped, but not before spending the night locked up in jail. Blowing a complete zero on the breathalyzer helped my case, although it further confused the officer because he couldn’t figure out how someone could do something so stupid sober …
I’m special that way.
Nowadays, thanks to my Vermont adventure, whenever someone says to me “You couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn,” I can calmly reply: Ahem … I beg to differ.
Kasie Strickland is a staff writer for The Easley Progress, The Pickens Sentinel and Powdersville Post and can be reached at [email protected] Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.