John and I had been down to one car for a while so in order to have the car for the day I had to get up and go with him to work and then pick him up again.
Friday, February 6, 2004 began like any other weekday. I got up with John, got dressed and rode with him to work. I always took Aurora Avenue home from John's work, which turns into Highway 99, which turns into East Marginal Way and then becomes International Boulevard near my house. It's less congested during rush hour than I-5.
I was coming upon the Battery Street tunnel, just before downtown Seattle where the far right lane was closed down due to construction for a few miles. Everybody always waited until the last minute to get over to the left. It was pouring down rain and we were bumper to bumper which is normal for that time of day. Anyway, someone cut the lady in front of me off and she slammed on her brakes causing me to do the same. I didn't have enough time to stop and I rear-ended her. Luckily, I wasn't going that fast to begin with so it didn't do any damage.
We both pulled over into the lane that was shut down. We got out of our cars and she asked me if I was okay. I said, "I'm okay, are you okay?" She said, "Yes. I saw you try to stop and knew you weren't going to be able to." I said, "I aw the car cut you off and you slam on your brakes. I slammed on mine but started to slide. I said oh shit because I knew I was going to hit you!" We exchanged insurance information and phone numbers but she said that she wasn't going to turn it into her insurance company. I live in a "No Fault Insurance" state so both our premiums would have been affected.
My dad called me that evening to tell me that Kelli had been involved in a serious car accident that afternoon. He said that she had been riding with a neighbor and the woman had turned left in front of a mini van. The mini van had struck the car she was riding in right behind her seat. I told my dad that I had also been in an accident that morning, but I was okay and there was no damage.
Kelli called me the next day to tell me she had been in a car accident. I told her that our dad had already told me about it, but he had not told me all of the details. She told me that she and the neighbor had taken her daughter and the neighbor's daughter to school in her car because the neighbor had a bolt in one of her tires. Kelli said that she had thought the woman had a flat tire, but that wasn't the case. When they got back, the woman asked Kelli to go with her to get the tire fixed because she was was afraid of getting a flat. I said, "Why didn't she ask you to follow her? That makes more sense to me." Kelli said, "I know, but I went anyway." She then said that after going to Les Schwab and waiting there for nearly an hour the woman decided she that she didn't want to pay forty dollars for a new tire. Then Kelli said the woman dragged her to the craft store where she bought nothing and to the dollar store where she bought one pack of cigarettes. Kelli said that they just barely had enough time to make it to the kids' bus stop.
Kelli said that the girls get off at the middle of three entrances to their apartments. She said that they were getting ready to turn left into the entrance where the girls would be getting off the bus any time. She told me that they were on a four-lane road with no center turning lane and it has a double solid yellow line so you are not supposed to turn left there. Apparently, there was a dump truck coming the other way that was also turning left and the driver of the dump truck was waiving at the woman to turn. Kelli said that she saw the shadow of the mini van and before she could get the words out the woman turned. She saw the mini van at the last minute and gunned it. Kelli said it's a good thing or she'd be dead. Kelli said she remembers being struck by the mini van and hitting her head on the window twice. The woman said they hit heads and Kelli hit her head on the window a third time. They spun around and slammed into the brick pillar at the entrance of the apartments. Kelli woke up to someone trying to pry her out of the car. She said that her boyfriend, whom she later married, Russell heard the collision from their apartment. He knew that it was about the time the kids would be getting home so he ran down to the entrance and saw the car. He recognized it and saw Kelli and thought she was dead. He was relieved to find her alive. She suffered a concusion and had memory loss but she was alive. The managers of the apartments took Russell down to the other entrance where the school bus had stopped due to the accident, to pick up the two girls. Russell told Kaya that that mommy had been in a that car, but she was okay. She was scared for a while, but Kelli got up and danced a little and Kaya was satisfied. Kelli said that she and Russell took Kaya to my dad's later that evening and then went to the emergency room. They gave her pain medicine and a muscle relaxer. They had to wait for my dad to get home from work before they went.
Kelli said that the neighbor was arrested after the accident because she had a warrant for a theft. Kelli sued the woman's insurance company for her medical bills. She didn't have any health insurance at the time because she was and still is self imployed. She and Russell later married and she was on his medical insurance until they divorced a few years later. Her memory problems eventually got better.