I could have died today.
At about noon on Nov. 17, 2008, I dodged death and injury as a silver minivan skidded and twisted toward me like spinning chainsaw slicing through air. A lamp-post saved my life.
This all happened on the job. An article I’m currently working on has exactly to do with this particular intersection — Tillary and Adams St. — notorious for continuously heavy traffic and many accidents and deaths over the years. Coming out of Brooklyn Bridge, Tillary and Adams is the first intersection drivers will hit.
Just moments before it happened, a source pointed out to me flowers pasted onto the lamp-post (first photo), explaining that someone had probably died that. I decided to check it out since my article is rooted in traffic and safety. When I got to the partition that separates Adams St., I peered closer towards the flowers to look for a name. I was probably about 20 inches away from the lamp-post.
Just by being there for about 10 seconds, I was already in the wrong place at the wrong time. A loud crashed ringed in my ears, and in the split-second my eyes had to look away from the flowers, a silver mini-van was pummeling to me in turns so fast it made me dizzy.
There was no flashback of my life, only time perhaps for a mental note of ‘shit,’ before my reaction took over. I turned my back towards the danger and took a few steps away. Nothing dramatic or Hollywood-like, but up to now I’m still mystified at how I maintained a cool composure.
The car’s rear third slammed hard against the lamp-post, shattering its left rear window. Small fragments blew like dust and misty water around me as I turned away. If I hadn’t turned my back, one of them could have easily puncture one of my eyes. As it turned out, some fragments caught my neck and dropped into my jacket, but because the window was plastic, there were no cuts.
No one was seriously hurt, and I emerged unscathed, thanks to some fortuitous intervention by lamp-post. If it weren’t for that post, another bouquet of flowers could adorn it in the future. Police took my name and statement. Ironically I obtained first-hand experience of an accident while researching on traffic and safety for this very intersection. If anything, now I at least have something of excitement value to add to my story.