Faster Than a Speeding Steam Shovel

Some years ago I posted a series of tales featuring the dubious driving abilities of those who had managed to plow their vehicles into unsuspecting, immovable buildings. (Enter “Cars” and “Building” into the site search window and you’ll find those contributions.) With the exception of one follow-up a year ago I stopped such posts not because I stopped finding them in the local news but that they had become so commonplace that I feared if I continued you’d develop a less than admirable perception of drivers from my part of the country. But even that can’t stop this installment.

Among last Monday morning’s news stories which included two separate car vs building scuffles and one report of a garbage truck assailing a house in an early morning sneak attack (apparently even the driver was unaware of it at the time) was a related incident. But first, we should take a moment and explore how one directs a vehicle under his or her control into a quite stationary, often multi-storied structure.

I don’t buy the excuse of “I thought I was hitting the brakes.” The pedal configuration in automobiles has been the same for roughly 110 years. That’s longer than anybody who has run into a building has been driving. It’s longer even than anybody who has run into a building has been breathing. No, you don’t suddenly “forget” which pedal is which. I also don’t buy the excuse that “I was distracted.” Distracted driving is indeed a real thing. Many accidents and unfortunately many accidental deaths have been caused by distracted drivers. That I am not disputing. But to hit a building you must leave the roadway, climb over curbs, drive through hedgerows and/or parking meters, flush quail and other small animals often including startled, screaming human beings before striking an object with force enough to propel your vehicle through it. I might buy operator death while driving but since all of the reports that I have seen end with “the driver claimed he (or she) thought he (or she) was hitting his (or her) brakes” and/or “the driver claims to have been distracted,” death clearly has been ruled out.

So now that we’ve explored how one directs a vehicle into a non-vehicle we know no more about the mental state of these drivers than we did before said exploration other than to say they are mental.

SS1And that brings us to my latest report. A man drove his back hoe into the living room of a house. He then drove off! Fortunately (that’s how the local police chief described it, “fortunately”) the homeowner got a good description of the vehicle and officers who were on patrol nearby were able to track down the alleged operator. Fortunately (yes, “fortunately”) they had that good description and they were able to stop the correct backhoe driving down the road. It would have been quite embarrassing to stop the wrong one with pieces of picture window frame hanging from it.

Thank God he didn’t drive around to window #2!

That’s what I think. Really. How ‘bout you?



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