By Jordan W. Charness
My son, Dov, called me last week with a shaking voice. He sounded very upset. I immediately went into Daddy-mode, worrying about what could have happened to my 19-year old, six-foot-one son. His next words did not exactly calm me down.
“I was just hit by a truck!” he shakily exclaimed.
“Are you all right??” I shouted with terrible pictures running through my head.
As it turned out, he was incredibly fortunate. He was driving his SUV in stop-and-go traffic. At the time, he was stopped. He signalled and turned his wheel to begin to change lanes. Before he actually moved into the other lane an 18-wheeler slowly drove by clipping his tire but fortunately not hitting anything else on the car. They big truck was only doing a few kilometres per hour and Dov was at a standstill.
Dov started honking his horn and waving to the truck driver to advise him that he had just hit his car. The truck driver stopped about 100 metres ahead and got out of his truck and checked his own truck for damage. Finding none he gave my son the one-finger salute and continued driving with the traffic.
In so doing, he had committed the crime of hit-and-run, even though the ‘run’ part was at a very slow speed. My son was able to take down the pertinent information about this big truck and managed to pull off the road into a parking lot to make his call to me.
Since he was not injured, but a crime had been committed, I suggested that he call 911 and tell them that no one was injured and there was no emergency but he wanted to report a hit-and-run and they would tell him what to do. Meanwhile I called a tow truck for him.
The 911 dispatcher told him that since it was not an emergency he should go to a police station as soon as practicable and fill in a report. This would turn out to be several hours later because it took the tow truck a long time to come due to all that traffic. As it was now about nine o’clock in the evening he wanted to know if he could just go home and report the hit-and-run the next day. I told him that he would be better to report the hit-and-run as soon as he could because it was always possible that the 18-wheel truck driver might decide to report the incident to the police in which case he might even say that Dov had been the one who did the hitting and running!
In any case, the law does require you to report a hit-and-run as soon as possible. When he got to the neighbourhood police station he found that it was closed for the night! He then went to a regional police station and after hearing his story the police officer at the desk told him to come back the next day because they only took hit-and-run reports between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. if there were no injuries involved. He did, however, note the fact that Dov had come in to file a report.
The next day Dov went to the police station to fill in the police report and this time got a proper police report number and record of the event. He was then asked to come back with a bill for the damages so that the investigators could begin to look for the truck.
As of this writing, we have not had any news from the police, but we do know that eventually the truck driver will be caught and charged with hit-and-run even though there was no damage caused to his truck, no injuries, and the whole incident happened at a very, very low speed. Hitting and running is still illegal.