…was last night. I don’t even know what to say, except this is what happened and please pray.
Dave met with his lawyer-friend about my accident. But before I talk about that, I need to say that, though I’ve had my police report for several weeks, I didn’t read it until last night, because I knew from my conversation with the officer that it was just going to make me angry, and I figured I’d wait to see what the lawyer thought before I read it. I guess I wanted an “end perspective” to read it through.
So you can imagine my surprise when I found out that the officer found me responsible for the accident. Yup, me. I did some research this morning and it looks like that’s one of the calls he could have made. From what I read of the CA Vehicle Code (fun times, let me tell you), he could have put the blame on the man who hit me. I’m not sure why he put it on me, though I got the sense that he didn’t like me and thought I wanted the man who hit me put in jail (which I repeatedly told him was NOT what I wanted). I don’t want to read too much into it, but my sense from talking to him on the phone several weeks back was that he wanted to make it so that I could not get even my expenses reimbursed. He didn’t do that, but more on that later. It seems sketchy that he “blamed” me but didn’t cite me for anything–I don’t know if you can do that in California, though I know you can’t in Colorado (an officer has to issue a citation to put fault on one party).
So I finally read the police report. Turns out, there are inaccuracies all over the place, including some basic things like what my injuries were and where my bike (which he looked at!) was damaged. He also told my story using words that I said, but that I didn’t say in the particular context he used them or that I said in conjunction with something else but that part didn’t make it in. I feel like one of those people who is quoted out of context in the newspapers and is made out to say something totally different than what they intended. He didn’t even talk to all the witnesses whose contact information he had access to.
I’m so frustrated. There aren’t words for how frustrated I feel. I felt like he wasn’t listening to me when we talked to him, and this confirms that. And yet he’s the one who is supposed to listen, the state’s representative to keep me safe and make sure the truth comes out. I’m not naive–I don’t think that these people don’t get jaded or have their own worldviews or that there’s no interpretation in their work. But that doesn’t make it right. I don’t say this lightly, or because I’m angry, but I feel like the truth was hidden and twisted so that Dave and I and my story look bad. And I didn’t do anything to deserve that. I told my story straight, from the moment he walked into my home. I didn’t embellish or make my injuries or damage out to be more than they were. I said, from the first time I told the story, that it was one of those things that was completely an accident, not blaming the man who hit me like I could have. I was careful to tell the truth, and I think I succeeded in that.
The good news in this mess is that Dave’s friend is going to take our case even though there’s not a lot of money in it, because he knows Dave. The fact that the report is inaccurate is in our favor, as is the fact that the officer didn’t talk to one of the witnesses. It’s also important that the truck was moving when he hit me and that that was the impact that dislocated my shoulder (not my impact with the ground). Once it’s all worked out, and we’ve paid the lawyer and taxes, we should be able to recoup our medical expenses and fix my bike or buy another one. That’s all I’ve wanted from the beginning, so that’s good.
But this doesn’t make me happy. Part of it is knowing that, had the officer interpreted events differently (technically, because the man who hit me left without giving me his information, which he’s supposed to do even if we don’t call the police, it could be interpreted as something a lot more serious on his part, even if not determined a hit-and-run), Dave and I might be in a place to pay off my student loan entirely or open a Roth IRA or go to New Zealand or something like that. But that’s all extra. A bigger, more important part of it is that things were not handled right. I was not heard, and I was treated like I was trying to deceive. He didn’t even bother to get the details that he saw with his own eyes down correctly!
Part of me wants to give him grace–he’s human, maybe he missed something, maybe he forgot, maybe his preconceived notions of what people who look like me try to do influenced his decisions. But part of me wants justice. It seems like part of his job to get the details, to set aside his personal preconceived ideas when he’s working, to learn to hear the people he talks to. And he didn’t do that for me.
I do know myself fairly well, and part of that means that I know what bugs me, and injustice is something that makes me angrier than just about anything else. I know that life is not fair, because evil is in the world, and I’ve thought a lot about why God allowed evil and what that means for us, and I know that it means we will sometimes have to bear the weight of burden and blame that are not ours. But that doesn’t make it right. That doesn’t mean that evil and injustice are the ways God intended our world to function. And so they make me angry.
I think that part of having eternity in our hearts, part of having the image of God in us even though we’re fallen means that we see how things should be, the world we should live in, even though that’s not reality. Part of living successfully on this earth means accepting reality in spite of what we see, but that’s not where I’m going here. In my experience, different people see different aspects of what should be more clearly than others. What I see, and always have seen, clear as day, is that injustice is wrong. When my mom told me, “But Sarah, life’s not fair!” I would say (starting at a very young age), “But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be!” So this is especially hard for me. I see reality but I also see Reality and this particular juxtaposition is very painful for me.
So please pray for us in this. I’m not sure how far to take this, beyond the lawyer’s involvement with the insurance company. I’ve investigated various ways to issue a complaint against the officer, and I’m trying to decide if that is worth pursuing and which way and how far. Pray that Dave and I would have wisdom in this, and that justice would be done. I don’t want more than is my due, but I do want that, if at all possible. I don’t feel God calling me to absorb this blow, so I think pursuing justice is right, but pray that I would hear his voice in this mess.