While sitting here at my desk at home working on a user manual for my work, I heard the sound of a vehicle braking followed by a loud thunk and knew that we'd had yet another accident at the corner of Paseo Padre Parkway at Thornton Avenue. I grabbed my mobile phone and ran out to see if anyone was hurt or needed help. I found a single SUV with an obviously bashed-in nose, but no sign of another vehicle. The driver was unhurt. His vehicle was still running, but probably not for long, seeing how much fluid was dripping out of it. He started to ease his way out of the intersection. Ahead of him was a vehicle trying to turn right with a line of cars behind it. The lead vehicle held up to allow the damaged SUV to clear the intersection. The driver in the car behind the lead vehicle started honking repeatedly. The lead vehicle still held up, because the cross traffic had the right of way and there was traffic coming. As soon as it cleared, the lead vehicle turned right, swinging right to avoid the damaged SUV now parked on the shoulder. The next car back zipped into the barely-one-car-wide space between the crippled SUV and the suitably-cautious other vehicle, honking again in protest at having had her drive delayed for a few seconds for something as trivial as safety. I reckon that if she'd been the lead vehicle in that parade, we would have had a second collision to deal with.
I went over to the SUV. The driver got out and asked me if I was the driver of the other vehicle. I said, "No, I just live nearby and heard the collision." He asked if I'd seen anything, but unfortunately, the walls of our complex prevented that. He said he was okay, and had managed to get the plate number and description of the vehicle that had turned against the light and run out in front of him, and that he'd called 911 already from his car. As if on cue, a Fremont police car approached, and what I think must have been the vehicle that the SUV had hit, sporting a bashed in right rear panel, pulled up as well.
From this point, I would merely have been in the way, so I shook hands with the driver, wished him good luck, and left.
I think there was a collision out there last night as well, but I did not go investigate it. There have been numerous accidents at this corner, mostly due to people running the light. Paseo Padre is a high-speed street, with a posted speed limit of 45 but an actual speed much higher, and people run the light there a lot. I wouldn't be surprised if the at-fault driver was talking on a cell phone. On my trip to New Jersey a few months ago, I came close to getting totaled -- possibly killed, I'll have to admit -- when I turned against a left-turn light due to distracted driving. And that was with a hands-free headset. Although I can talk on the two-way radio when driving with little problem, something about talking on the phone draws too much bandwidth.