With insurance taking the sting away financially, we get over these encounters. However, if you have ever struck a pedestrian, the.......THUMP.......stays with you forever. This happened to me Monday, August 11, 1969.
The date was easy to recall, because my wife had left Taiwan after her year was up on Friday, August 8, 1969.
So, after almost a year of living and working in paradise, I spent the rest of August dealing with the ramifications of a......THUMP!
Sorry for using the letter "I" so much, but this was a very personal experiience and sometimes word substitutes don't capture the mood.
Picture yourself standing in front of the car, facing the windshield.
Then imagine this vehicle coming at you, brakes locked and screeching, closing in at about 35 mph.
The $100 paid for full-coverage auto insurance then became all-important.
|Photo by Gary Wilson; Courtesy of TaipeiAirStation.blogsot.com|
This certainly appears to be the road we took going down from Grass Mountain to Taipei on that Monday.
As I made the turn at the curve, there, about 50 yards ahead of me on the road, was a woman.
She was standing with her back to me, feet on the middle stripe, talking to people on the left side of the road.
It's one of those situations when, in a fraction of a second, you realize that something terrible was about to happen.
|Card photo courtesy of Mke Aschoff|
Well, she didn't die. Her stocky build and short stature must have saved her. I don't know where Mike got the STRATCOM accident card above or the general accident card above it.
I could have used either one. Instead we stood there for about an hour until the MPs showed up. She moaned, we watched. She moaned some more and we watched. Nobody did anything to help her.
Finally, the policeman finished lunch and came out to see what all the fuss was about. After that, a taxi was flagged down and she was loaded into it and, I hoped, was off to a hospital.
Man, I could really have used one of those cards, but I'd never seen one. Neither had anyone else on the hill.
So, I was read my Miranda Rights and remained silent. That particular law had only been around since 1966, but now I began to feel like a criminal.
Only the hood of the car had any major damage as it was caved in, forming a "V" from the THUMP!
So, back to Grass Mountain we went. One of the guys had asked at the scene what I wanted him to tell the MPs.
I suggested that he might try telling the truth. Apparently, that was contrary to his usual method of explanation.
|Photo courtesy of Victor W. Cheng via vghtpe.gov.tw|
Our NCOIC was already ticked when we left at noon since we were leaving the group short-handed. Now, this! In other words, "Crum, how could you do this to me?"
Thanks for the support, Sarg. How about coming with me to the hospital. He had no choice.
By now, the lines of communication between us and the military police office in the West Compound was established. I was given her name which was quickly written down.
Then the hospital where she was taken was given to me as well as its location. It was the Veterans General Hospital in Pei Tou on Shi Pei Road.
So, off we went in the car with a slip of paper and a sack of fruit which was considered a showing of peace for her. Someone who knew lived with a local gal told me this.
When arriving, the picture above is how the hospital appeared to me. I just knew that the woman was there, somewhere.
|Photo courtesy of Victor W. Cheng, via vghtpe.gov.tw|
Finally, the main administrative building was pointed out. In we went, expecting to quickly find her location. A bad day was going to get worse.
This is the new Veterans General Hospital as it appears today. It has been rebuilt, but is still on the same road in the Beitou District.
This might be near the original front entrance of the old hospital.
As you can see, this is an up-to-date facility.