I am so unbelievably frustrated and disappointed with our local Huntsville Police. I have spent the whole night while I should be sleeping lecturing the police officer in my head. It is frustrating to know that they made a bad call and there is nothing you can do about. I whole heartily believe the policeman saw a 17-year-old male in an accident during school hours. He fell victim to the stereotype he runs into on a regular basis. What he saw was a 17-year-old skipping school heading to potential trouble. What he should have seen was a 17- year- old straight A student heading to his pre-calculus class at the local community college who was very shook up.
Here’s the story my son told the policeman. I was driving down the road and the other driver merged into me pushing me to the other lane. The policeman didn’t feel my son gave him enough information to make a case for himself. Who cares the damage to the other car is on the driver’s side rear quarter panel. He decided since the other driver said she merged properly and my son hit her he was the guilty party. If she merged properly, wouldn’t the damage be on the rear of her car and not the side if my son was guilty?
I have such deep regrets about not knocking on the policeman’s window and saying to him, “ You do understand when my son said, “Merged into me”; what he was telling you is I was driving in my lane, the other car merged into my lane and hit me. I didn’t have time to react because she didn’t use the merge lane.” I feel I let my son down and didn’t protect him…..but (buts are never good) when I saw the damage I really never dreamt the policeman would rule against him.
Everyone I have told Jacob’s story to seems to understand that “merged into me” means she hit him. No one else seems confused and needs any more information as to what happened.
I am also a bit confused because by Alabama traffic laws, the merging vehicle is the one held to the higher level of responsibility. The car that is in the lane already has the right away. The only way I could see Jacob being blamed for the accident was if he had rear-ended her. She should have had damage to her rear end of her car and not just to the rear drivers side quarter panel.
I have taught my kids that they don’t need to fear the police if they are in the right. The police will be fair and will try and get to the bottom of the issue. I can’t help but ask myself why didn’t the policeman see a 17 year old with shaking hands trying to get out his story. Why didn’t he realize that my son was in shock and could really use a little help get the story out. I know they don’t want to lead the witness but could he not have asked “what do you mean by “merged into you””? May be with a few questions my son could have calmed down and given him the story the officer needed to hear. Although I personally believe telling the officer that she merged into me should have been enough considering the damage on the cars.
What is really annoying is the officer told my husband after everyone left that he initially thought it was the other drivers fault but after his “investigation” he decided it was my sons fault. He based on the fact that the front edge of the driver’s side quarter panel was damaged. Can he not see that when she hit him her car was moving at an angle to get to in front of my son’s? The damage in question should not have been the damage on my son’s car but where the damage occurred on her car. Her damage was in the side rear quarter panel. If my son had rear-ended her, the damage should have been to the rear of her car not the side.
After my husband and the officer talked, he said he would add a comment at the bottom stating that my son said the other driver hit him. But since he already gave out the accident report (which was just a number, we have to go online to read the report) it was too late for him to change the report. He said what he had to say about the accident really didn’t matter much. It was between the two insurance companies……really? The insurance companies aren’t going to pay attention to what the investigating officer decided…really?So now my son will have a point assigned to him, our insurance is going to double and the person who caused the accident is going to get her car fixed at our expense. Lesson learned by my 17 year old….Life is not fair.