Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cat Neighbor Car Trouble

Well he's at it again. My crazy cat neighbor came over and asked for my help because his car was "hit and run" and the "damned police won't take the report". He knows that I have a law-enforcement background and once or twice a year he comes begging for free legal advice when he's gone and done something stupid.

Morbid curiosity caused me to inquire further. Cat man claims that his car was just parked in a parking lot when someone hit the front end of it and drove off. He reported it to his insurance company the next day, but they wanted a police report. So the next day (two days after the alleged hit-and-run), he took his car to the police department where he claims this happened and they refused to take the report. Now his insurance company is refusing to pay for the repairs.

Well I wandered over and looked at his car and I immediately saw why the police refused to take the report: the whole front end of his car was smashed in on the right side. parking lot collisions where a stationary car is bumped by another by nature take place at low speeds and consequently produce slight to moderate cosmetic damage. But this car--it's got major damage on that corner. The headlight bucket is smashed in, the bumper corner is bent, and the whole right front fender is crumpled clear back to the door. Whatever caused that, there was some velocity involved. Furthermore, the damage on the car along the side is heaviest below the bumper line, indicating that whatever did this, it was something low to the ground, like a large rock, or the edge of a ditch. Another vehicle would have almost certainly put the damage higher on the car than whatever dig this. Also, the front tire's rim is torn up about three-quarters of the way around it's circumference, suggesting that the wheel was turning when this happened. That didn't happen in any parking lot. Also there's no paint transfer from another vehicle like you'd get if painted metal impacted this car hard enough to cause the damage that I was looking at. In sum, it was obvious to me that this vehicle, while moving at a decent speed, left the roadway and struck one or more solid objects, most likely a high curb, a rock, and a post or some other immovable object. No freaking way this happened while the car was sitting in a parking spot. Absolutely no way. It was obvious to me, and undoubtedly to whatever police officer looked at it and refused to take the report. And the delay between the time it allegedly happened and the time that he finally reported it? Well that's suspicious too, but knowing what I know about this fellow's history of prior DUIs (plural)... Even Ray Charles could see what had happened here. I just shook my head.

"So how do I make them take the report?" he wanted to know. "I can't get this paid for without a police report."

I told him straight out that the damage doesn't match his story and the delay in showing up at the police station coupled with his insistence that it happened in a private parking lot in the first place means that he's probably not going to get a report. I also let him know that if his insurance company was to send an investigator out to look at this car, they'd likely see it the same way that the police officer and I did. In sum, I told him, he was probably going to have to eat this one.

"Why do I always have such bad luck?" He moaned.

I so wanted to send him this clip, because Red Forman answers him perfectly:


  1. Exactly correct. We've both seen this many times in our careers. It never ceases to amaze me how many think they can get away with it. I'd have mentioned to him the penalties for filing a false police report. Frnakly, he's lucky and should chalk the thing up in the "Phew, I didn't get caught" category.

  2. Red Foreman was a god!

  3. You got it, Six. They always seem to think that on their first try, they can fool people who do this sort of thing for a living.

  4. Reading this post for some reason reminded me of a book from my elementary school library, circa 1968-1969, The Case of the Marble Monster - and Other Stories, featuring the wisdom of [Judge] Ooka [Tadasuke] the Wise.

    A collection of instructive fables, one of my favorites - and the reason for the recollection - is Ooka and the Willow Witness, in which the wise Judge orders a robbery victim to bring a willow tree - the only witness to the crime - into court. He then orders the defendant held over until the plaintiff returns with the "witness".

    Said defendant, who had earlier stated he'd never been to the town near which the robbery occurred, protests, stating that the journey will take the plaintiff too long, because "this [particular] tree sits on a cliff..." His voice trails off as he has just described the scene of the crime he claims he did not commit.

    I imagine Catman's protestations when Judge Ooka says "Clearly there was also much damage to the vehicle that caused this - let us journey together to the parking lot where we will most certainly find pieces that will identify the hit-and-run driver's car."

  5. Love Red Foreman!

  6. Yes, one of the drawbacks of being a professional or an expert is that people invariably will come to for free advice.

    I don't mind giving free professional advice to friends once in a while, but only if they will actually take my advice (or at least give it serious consideration before rejecting it).

    And then, you have people who seek not your expert advice, but rather, your blessing of some stupid, inappropriate, improper and/or illegal scheme which they have already in their minds determined they will embark upon.

    Seems that this is what DWI Feral Cat Guy was really looking for.

  7. I am so stealing that clip.

    Keep drinking and driving and sooner or later someone dies.

  8. Had a fellow come in the other day with a hand full of paper's and "picture's" of his car's damage and need to file a police report. Whole story didn't wash, car driven across state line afterward's but now couldn't drive it. He argued with a couple of my people so I threw him out.

  9. That clip does sum up Obama blaming this economy on bad luck, now doesn't it?