I live about 16 miles away from where Annette was run over. She was visiting her maternal grandmother at the time of the incident. Normally it takes about 20 to 25 minutes to get there. I know this because I have picked up and dropped off my daughters at their grandmother’s home innumerable times.
The ride over to the hospital took forever. I drove at normal freeway speeds, and the trip did not take any longer than a normal trip would. It just seemed to take forever.
I wanted to drive 120 miles per hour to get there, but I knew that this would do nothing but put me and R at risk, so I resisted the urge. R and I talked quietly, wondering aloud what had happened. Mostly it was a deathly quiet trip.
When we finally made it to our freeway offramp, I aimed the car toward the hospital. R quickly asked me if we could take a detour. I had an idea what she wanted, and I complied. She pointed toward a side residential street and I turned onto it. I drove until we were stopped by the sheriff’s crime scene tape. I parked my car and got out to survey the scene.
Annette was run over on a main street. 2 lanes each direction with room for parking on either side. She was using the crosswalk, though there were no lights or stop signs at this particular intersection. The entire intersection was taped off. Traffic was blocked. The whole street was shut down.
This is normally a very busy intersection. There are a McDonalds and a Starbucks on one side of the street, each in their own mini-mall areas. There are markets and drug stores and numerous other small retailers within the mini-malls. Normally this intersection would be teeming with people and traffic, it was just after 10:00 P.M. on a Friday, but that evening it was quiet.
I had never really pondered the area of an intersection, but looking at the area now taped off before me, it seemed huge. There were 3 sheriff’s vehicles and 3 deputies at the scene. I crossed through the crime scene tape and walked to a smaller scene situated within the enormous taped off area. It was a small area with two shoes on the street, small bits of torn cloth strewn about, and medical wrappings discarded on the ground.
As I approached the scene a deputy walked up to me. He asked if he could help me, a stern look in his eye. I asked if this was where a young girl was run over. He replied yes. I asked if I could take the shoes and articles of clothing. He asked who I was. When I replied that I was the girl’s father, the look in his eyes turned sympathetic.
He told the other deputies that I was the father of the victim, and explained my request. One of them informed me that they were still taking crime scene photos, but I could take the clothing after they were done. I agreed to this. Then another deputy came over and told me about the incident.
He explained that the car that hit her was traveling about 45 miles per hours. He said she was thrown 100 feet. Though this was all terrible to hear, the manner of the deputy telling me was kind and gentle. He advised me to go to the hospital and promised that they would gather up Annette’s things and drop them off at the hospital for me (which they did, but they were received by Annette’s grandmother and I never saw the stuff).
I thanked the deputy for his kindness and started walking towards my car. R had not crossed the crime scene tape. She had stayed behind it and waited for me. She asked me what the deputies had said. I explained what had happened, and then we solemnly drove the last mile to the hospital.