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I saw something today that will forever be in my thinker.

I was down in Bend. With friends. It was Sunday morning, and like old times, we were trying to get a seat at the Westside for some breakfast. The wait was substantial, with hungry families and Kavu hat/sandaled locals piled everywhere.

Fred and I were on the corner, bullshitting it up and noticed this kid on the other side of the newspaper boxes we were leaning against. He had his fingers in his mouth, in an almost infantile manner, so one was quick to deduct he was a “bit slow” or, a little “off.” Not more than 25, he kept to himself; gently rocking and looking around.

We were on Century Drive with cars whipping up and down, about 20-25 miles an hour. He turned around and went to the corner. In the next moment, I noticed him in a “sprinter’s stance”…with his head down, running out into the street…

…and also noticed an old, brown truck cruising along…

…and just sorta connected the dots: “Kid running, out in front of a truck, truck moving along, not the right formula, movement, time, error, wait…”

It all was coming together, right in front of our eyes; dreamlike in a way. Fred said, “No!” and the guy finally saw the kid, slammed on his brakes and completely nailed the kid in the upper shoulder/back.

There was a loud thump; of the meaty kind that makes you realize the gruesome quality of machinery slamming into meat and bone. The kid went down hard and all I could think of was the car running him over completely. I mean, the timing was just too perfect, in such an unfortunate way. Luckily the guy in the truck slammed it brakes to a stop and the shoulder check was more-or-less just a really, really powerful thump.

The kid wobbled to his feet, clearly dazed. Cars slowed down and people were jumping out to help him. We guided him over to the curb and laid him down. He was in shock, wobbling, dazed, afraid and disoriented. I remember thinking, “His legs are going to give out,” as he wobbled over, as, any broken bones just aren’t gonna support him. It was a sickening thought.

We laid him down, Fred ran in to the Westside to call for an ambulance.

People were starting to gather as the State Trooper, local fuzz and ambulance finally showed up.

Turns out the kid—a mentally-disabled local kid by the name of “Joe”—was known for “running out in front of cars.” He knew to use the crosswalk, and knew how to cross. He just didn’t understand the timing. And in mellow, relaxed Bend, Oregon, people were just going about their morning, and, he mixed things up in a bad way.

After some time he got up to his feet, the paramedics told Fred and I he wasn’t complaining of any neck pain. They released him to the care of his younger brother who came down to retrieve him. We gave our statements to the fuzz, consoled the driver of the truck (a kid who new Joe from town; who was crushed, ashamed and freaked out…) and made our way back into the restaurant to sit down with the group.

So it’s been playing out in my head: “Kids runs out into the street at the wrong time and gets hit by a car.”

So unsettling, so scary. Glad he seemed okay, albeit a bit scratched and roughed up.

These last couple weeks have just been heavy in the “mortality check” department, with the sad events of the last couple weeks weighing real hard in my thinker.

There Are 2 Comments

That reminds me…

Posted by: Kurt Halsey on 07/11/05 at 9:11 AM

Hi! I just wanted to say that I dig this website. It is fun to read and I am very much in agreement with the “things we hate…”
My friend Jerms Lanningham turned me on to this site and i am happy he did.
This story made me pretty sad… I have been a caretaker for somone who sounds a lot like the poor kid in this story.
Okay enough- have a great day-

Posted by: Jill Parker on 08/09/05 at 11:52 AM
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