Breaking news (and other objects)

OK, here's a turn-up for the books - while using e2 I have been a peripheral witness to a crime. I was sitting here, at my desk, typing away for a forthcoming node, and suddenly heard a noise outside my open window, in the twilight, like a tree coming down. So, alerting my family, I headed off outside. I was awfully reminded of an incident about two years ago when a young man, drunk, ploughed his car through the hedge at the side of the main road. The road I live in is a little dead end, and to the left, looking out of it, is a set of council allotments that flood from time to time. The young man's car in that case had torn up yards of wire fence and hawthorn hedge, and he had been killed. When we got to the end of the road, we could see that a similar tragedy had nearly occurred. Next to the first house in our street - call it 'Number 1', because it is - is the side garden of a house in the main road. Sticking through the remains of the hedge separating that garden from Number 1's front drive was the back of a Volkswagen, still with the lights on and the engine running. The rear bumper was a hand-breadth from the outer wall of Number 1's front room. There's a family living in Number 1.

The grandfather from Number 1 came out at about the same time. People who had been walking past were gathering, too. A walk as far as the corner showed that an enormous chunk of the old hedge between the garden had been destroyed, and there was debris all over the bottom end of the garden. The car had passed between two trees, either one of which, if hit, would have wrecked the car. All over the main road there were big black skid marks. The driver appeared from somewhere - a young man of vaguely hispanic appearance in a black t-shirt and jeans. He was slightly bruised but otherwise OK, and appeared to be under the influence of something. When asked, he said he'd been doing forty to forty-five miles an hour. I smelled burning, and suggested that just maybe the engine should be turned off. Someone did this. The passers-by started furnishing eyewitness accounts of the crash. The driver's speed was reported to be more like eighty than forty. (The speed limit is thirty.) He had apparently gone past heading up the hill, and some of the passers-by had been so alarmed at the speed and recklessness of his driving they'd tried to flag him down. He'd jumped the top of the hill on the other side of the little valley, and when he got to the top at this side, he'd turned sharply and come back down. On his way down - down the wrong side of the road, if the tyre-marks were to be believed - he'd spun off, narrowly missing a man walking a dog.

Someone said they'd called the police, or that someone had, but nothing much happened, so I went and called them myself, and explained the situation. I think they hd already been called, because not long after, three squad cars and an ambulance showed up. The driver was still wandering around, dazed, and they started taking statements from him and from the passers-by. Dad and I had a look at the damage. Miraculously, as well as not quite hitting the house or the trees, the car had just missed the gate to the back alley and the little pumping station which drives the branch sewer for our road. The police started in on the breath tests and the like, and we all went inside again. We were all pretty startled and angry that someone could have so endangered his own lives and those of many others for some inane kick or other. Let's hope the cops do their job right. I look forward to seeing this one in the local paper.