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View Full Version : A very wild morning drive...



swift6
04-10-2012, 09:30 PM
Warning, long and some pretty graphic automotive stuff to follow...

Yesterday morning I was on my way to work in my TR8, just like any other morning. I had just merged into traffic and was comfortably staring at the back of a Century Link truck that was in front of me when I felt a hard hit to my left and behind me and I was instantly in a spin and punted from the roadway. The car that was in the lane next to me, and had just moved into my blind spot, had started swerving back and forth in its lane (this was on a four lane highway with a center turn lane, we were both travelling the same direction, it was in the left hand lane, I was in the right), had crossed into the center turn lane and then suddenly turned hard right all the way across its lane and into mine, striking the left rear of my TR8 almost squarely on the rear tire. Without knowing it, the driver had just committed the perfect "Pitt Maneuver" on me. I actually did not see any of this coming she was in my blind spot and I didn't even see her start swerving. I was practically "punted" from the side of the road. This information would all be told to me afterwards thanks to an eyewitness that stopped after what she saw.

I was halfway through my second 360 degree spin when my front wheel struck the curb and instantly reversed my direction slamming my left rear wheel into the curb even harder. The curb was broken where my rear tire hit it and my car ended up going up and over the curb as the broken curb tore the tire from the rim. At this point I was travelling backwards. I would estimate my speed to still have been about 45-50mph when I hit the curb. As the car went up and over the curb, the flat left rear tire started to drag and dig into the soft earth and grass and the front end of the car started to swing around into the direction of travel. A small tree, about 2-1/2 inches in diameter tried, and failed to drain the momentum from my early morning not so thrill ride. My TR8 cut the tree off clean about 3-1/'2 inches from the ground. I slid for about another 20 feet and encountered the sidewalk where the side ways drag of what I would discover to be two flat tires on the drivers side, along with two broken wheels finally halted my off road excursion.

Once I stopped, I noticed that the engine was still running, I had shifted into neutral and my foot was hard on the brake. Although the lack of any sort of skid marks before I hit the curb would indicate just how much help brakes are when you are in a violent spin. I have never felt so helpless behind the wheel of a car. I switched the engine off and reached for the door handle. The door swung open easily, no issues there at all. I undid my seat belt and stood up out of the car and found myself standing in a tree that was also wedged under my car. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my cell phone so I could dial 911. My hands were shaking horribly from adrenalin and I struggled to unlock the phone, I noticed that a white sedan had pulled over to the shoulder and immediately thought that must be who hit me. As I dialed 911, a young woman exited the white sedan and approached telling me that she had seen the whole thing and that the car that had hit just kept driving. I confirmed with her that she had not hit me right as the 911 operator answered my call. I reported the accident and with the help of the young woman witness gave a detailed description of the car that had hit me and fled the scene. As I was giving a description, a BOLO (Be On The Lookout) for the offending car was going out to city police in two different cities, the county Sheriff's department and the Colorado State Highway Patrol.

Fifteen minutes later and a local police officer arrived at the scene. The eyewitness gave a detailed (shockingly detailed which I thought was really nice) report to the police officer and he let her go on her way. I was very grateful that she had stayed to explain what happened because I was still trying to figure it out. While the Police officer was filling out his report I contacted my insurance agency, AAA to get a tow truck on the way, my wife and then my work. The officer told me that they had not yet found the car and that if they did, chances are that they would not find it. If they did, no one could identify the driver so no one would receive a ticket. If they found the car and it was insured, then the current insurance would still have to cover the collision.

The police officer left after he finished his report and had taken his own pictures (with his radar gun believe it or not). It took about another ten minutes for the tow truck to arrive and I was alone with my thoughts and increasingly sore and aching body. The tow truck did arrive and we got the car loaded and off to a shop of my choice. Here is a link to some photos. The password is "Punted" (without the quotation marks).
https://photobucket.com/1980TR8accident_04_09_2012

As it sits now, the drivers side rear trailing arm is bent, both drivers side wheels and tires are destroyed. I have a bent steering arm and some pretty good sheet metal damage. I'm having a hard time getting a really clear idea of value for the adjuster and I know some of you track TR8 sales much more than I do. If any of you can help me with some research on recent TR8 sales I would really appreciate it. Coupe sales would be great but I know they are much fewer than roadster sales. There may be more damage revealed as it gets dug into a bit more.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. I do have access to a TR7 with right hand side body damage but perfect sheet metal on the drivers side. I also have access to most of the other parts that could be needed as well. Moral support is always appreciated as well.

Oh, the accident was at @ 7:30 am. Around 4:00pm, I received a call from the police officer that handled my accident. They had found the person who hit me. She actually turned herself in. She had called the police station and said "I think I was in a car accident this morning but I am not sure..." Her car matched the description given by the eyewitness, there was corresponding damage to the front right corner of her vehicle and she admitted to being on the same road at around the same time as the accident. She was ticketed for Hit & Run and Careless Driving. I haven't seen it yet, but was told that she did have current insurance.

tinman58
04-10-2012, 09:52 PM
Wow!! What a morning. Glad that you are all right! Good thing that the Lady that hit you turned herself in. (KARMA)

smaceng
04-10-2012, 09:57 PM
Couldn't get into your bucket with the password.
At least she has insurance. The big danger here is the TR is now bent like a banana. Check the gaps on each side. If so, I would dump it.
Better to use new/old sheetmetal if you can rather than trying to have someone straighten the damaged stuff. See if the insurance co is going to total it. If so, even if you buy it back, it most likely would be titled as a Salvage vehicle...which automaticly decreases the value 20-30%.
Good luck Scott in CA

TR4nut
04-10-2012, 09:59 PM
Oh man Shawn I'm so sorry to hear that! I hope you find the damage isn't too severe, the coupe you have is worth getting back to pre-disaster if it can be done.

poolboy
04-10-2012, 10:04 PM
That's awful. Awful bad and awful lucky.

Dale
04-10-2012, 10:04 PM
I had to use a capital P to get into the photos. Certainly hope you don't get too stiff tomorrow. So glad it wasn't worse, looks like it could have rolled easily instead of sliding over the curbs. There's still coupes out there, but getting scarcer. Good Luck

HerronScott
04-10-2012, 10:28 PM
Shawn,

So sorry to hear about your car, but very glad that you are alright.

Scott

JodyFKerr
04-10-2012, 10:35 PM
I'm very glad to hear you're ok. Cars are much easier to fix than people. I'd still recommend getting checked out by your doc.

70herald
04-11-2012, 12:04 AM
Glad to hear that you are alright, but as others have said get yourself checked out. I don't want to think of what the damage would have been if that were one of the earlier TRs.

The hit and run driver was probably blabbering on her cell phone or uploading something to facebook which is why she didn't notice that she whacked you.

Mickey Richaud
04-11-2012, 06:24 AM
Sorry, Shawn, but, of course, good news that you weren't hurt any more seriously.

Did you and your insurance agency have an "agreed value" policy?

dklawson
04-11-2012, 06:49 AM
I haven't looked at the pictures yet but it sounds like pure carnage. It is simply amazing and fortunate that you were not hurt. Sheet metal can be replaced or repaired. It's a lot harder with people. I'm glad you came through this OK!

Kleykamp
04-11-2012, 07:04 AM
Sorry to hear of your delima and glad you're safe. After retiring from 35 years as a claims adjuster, I'm amazed at the information, or mis-information that comes from well meaning "experts" on these forums. The good news is: they found the culprit,she has insurance and has admitted to causing the accident. Don't immediately assume the insurance carrier is going to screw you. I helped many guys get their classics back to normal. The laws regarding property damage are made by the lawmakers of each state, not the insurance company, so the laws that apply in say, california, may not apply in Colorado. Salvage titles are not required in all states and some vary depending on age of the vehicle. In my state, over 10 years old does not require a salvage title. After all, most of our vehicles have a few "salvage" parts on them anyway. My free advise is: ASK, LISTEN and be patient and also be realistic about what you have. You know your car better than anybody and what it takes to satisfy YOU. Good luck on getting everything sorted out quickly.

CJD
04-11-2012, 08:12 AM
Hey Shawn,

Glad you came through unscathed!

For old classics there is a wide range of values. Put together your pictures, reciepts, and/or show scores showing what good condition the car was in. The CPI, or Cars of Particular Interest is the best value book for the older classics. NADA is not very good with the older vehicles, and usually shows a lower value than they go for. With documentation you can push to the upper side for value. The process is a negotiation...so be patient but persistent.

Best of luck,

John

sd80mac7204
04-11-2012, 08:21 AM
Wow... Glad to hear you are ok!

Geo Hahn
04-11-2012, 08:28 AM
...Oh, the accident was at @ 7:30 am. Around 4:00pm, I received a call from the police officer that handled my accident. They had found the person who hit me. She actually turned herself in...

Yeah, it can take awhile to sober up and start to get your memory back.

Good that the important stuff's okay (you), other things can be fixed.

BillyB62
04-11-2012, 08:43 AM
My Dad used to say "any problem you can solve with money, is a good problem" - basically meaning that as long as you are ok, material things can be replaced. Sorry for your accident, but happy your still here!

swift6
04-12-2012, 08:11 AM
Thanks everyone! The damage to the car is not as bad as feared mechanically. Thanks to a broken section of the curb where the rear swung into it was more of a glancing blow across the curb and it allowed the car to slip up over the curb quite easily. I spent some time with the officer writing up the accident report as he was recreating it for his report. There were zero skid marks from my car. There were circular scuff marks that were slightly visibile but the first real rubber marks on the road were on the curb. I had just finished accelerating up to speed a few seconds before I was hit. I was travelling at @ 50 mph and the officer suspected that I was still travelling at 45-50mph when I slid up over the curb backwards.

The car that hit me was an early 90's Ford Mustang. Given its weight compared to my TR8's weight, where it hit me and the speeds we were travelling, the officer told me that I didn't have a chance.

I have been checked out medically. I had to displaced ribs, my left hip was slightly out of place and I have a muscle spasm continuing in my lower left back. There are some neck muscle issues surfacing as well from being a bobble head during the spin. Appropriate care is being sought so don't anyone worry about that. I'm very aware of my mortality and will not just tough it out and insist that I am fine. :smile:

tdskip
04-12-2012, 08:46 AM
Oh crud Shawn. Yikes, painful to read so I can only imagine how it was to be actually the one in the car.

Give it a couple of days before pronouncing to anyone in the claim process that you are fine (sorry).

Sounds like the Police were good to deal with, and good to hear that the person (eventually) did the right thing.

But, oh crud.

jsfbond
04-12-2012, 02:02 PM
Good to hear you are not badly hurt. Here in Vermont we may be tree huggers, but don't have a "Bring a tree to work" day.

GilsTR
04-12-2012, 05:28 PM
Here are a couple cars in our area that are for sale to compare...although not coupes. Good luck...and again...so glad you are safe. Gil NoCal
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/cto/2946074081.html

and

https://reno.craigslist.org/cto/2877264242.html

elrey
04-12-2012, 05:50 PM
Yikes! Hope you suffer no lasting ill effects. :cheers:

swift6
04-12-2012, 09:55 PM
Oh crud Shawn. Yikes, painful to read so I can only imagine how it was to be actually the one in the car.

Give it a couple of days before pronouncing to anyone in the claim process that you are fine (sorry).

Sounds like the Police were good to deal with, and good to hear that the person (eventually) did the right thing.

But, oh crud.


Never told them I was fine. Told them that I would be seeing my existing doctors, and have. No worries there. I will heal, eventually, the car is repairable but could be expensive, though it looks worse than it is.

PeterK
04-13-2012, 07:14 AM
Geez, I bet you're sore this am. Good thing you can still feel, even if it hurts. Take care of yourself first. Then, the car.

tdskip
04-13-2012, 12:47 PM
Oh crud Shawn. Yikes, painful to read so I can only imagine how it was to be actually the one in the car.

Give it a couple of days before pronouncing to anyone in the claim process that you are fine (sorry).

Sounds like the Police were good to deal with, and good to hear that the person (eventually) did the right thing.

But, oh crud.


Never told them I was fine. Told them that I would be seeing my existing doctors, and have. No worries there. I will heal, eventually, the car is repairable but could be expensive, though it looks worse than it is.

Expected so much Shawn, just kinda of a "oh my gosh I hope is his OK but I can't think of anything useful to say here so I am dipping into cliche kinda" of thing.

Brosky
04-13-2012, 12:53 PM
Shawn, I'm happy to hear that you are OK, or at least feel that way now. As advised, wait a few days and see before making any statements.

The car I fear is far from being OK.

Looking at the pictures, I would NOT accept any settlement until the car was put on a laser frame machine, for I fear that you have a twisted car, no matter how easily the door will open. That will probably total it for you, but you will know that you are not getting paid for something that may not be fixable in the sense or restoring it back to it's original condition. I hope that you have a good agreed upon value for the car because I know that it is worth a lot more to you than the book.

And after seeing hundreds and hundreds of these types of accidents, I will guarantee you that the suspension parts are more than stressed at this point in time, no matter how they look. Again, I'm only saying this for your FUTURE protection, as I would want a real serious look at the entire suspension system while on the laser frame machine.

Just an FYI....my TR8 is Hagerty covered for $25,000 and due to go up 10% in the fall.

swift6
04-14-2012, 09:22 AM
Thanks Paul, It has already been measured and checked to specs in the ROM. It will also be gettting checked out on a new laser alignment machine before and after the suspension bits are replaced. The body is not twisted. Both doors open and close without issue and so does the bonnet and boot lid. Even the headlights will rise and fall normally. The coupe doors are pretty tight too, not much slop in them and they have always been that way. The initial impact was not all that hard, it was just in THE perfect spot to spin me out. It was essentially a perfectly performed Pitt Manuever.

The Traffic officer reconstructed the scene with me and from the weight difference between the Mustang that hit me, where it hit me and the short wheelbase of the TR8, he told me that I didn't have a chance to save it. From the placement of the scuff marks from the tires as I was spinning, not skid marks even though I was on the brakes, the curb strike was not direct, it was a glancing blow and thanks to a broken spot in the curb where the rear tire hit the car was able to go up and over the curb, though it did it backwards at 45-50mph. Each wheel slid up over the curb one by one. From the officers experience he told me that if the curb hadn't been broken there allowing a relatively easy transition over the curb then one of three things would have most likely happened. The car could have flipped, though even he thought that improbable based on the low center of gravity and relatively wide track for the size of the car. It could have continued over the curb and completey collapsed the suspension, or it could have bounced off the curb and back into traffic. Instead I hit the curb in the only spot that would allow that "easy" transistion and slide to a stop, through the small tree, on the lawn and sidewalk of a church.

The tree actually did the most body damage and it was very localized to the sheetmetal in front of the wheel. Ted Schumacher asked me if the photos showed a stress buckle above the door but it is not a stress buckle. That is actually a piece of bark from the tree. but no evidence of impact from the tree anywhere above the body crease near the top of the fender other than the broken arieal.
The suspect suspension pieces are all being replaced though along with the obviously damaged pieces.

The tow truck couldn't remove the car from where it sat after the accident without causing some additional damage, dragging it off a high section of the curb. So instead we drove the car about 150 feet down to the driveway of the church so it could be loaded much easier on to the tow truck. We drove it half on/half off the sidewalk keeping the flatted tires in the grass.

The girl that hit me (she is 23) basically admitted that she was driving while ability impaired. She claims that prescription medication she was on was making her drowsy and she was falling asleep. That all she felt was a jolt to her car that woke her up and she saw her car veering into the center lane so she corrected it and continued, not knowing that she hit me she continued on. The above is paraphrased from her voluntary statement that is in the accident report.

Physically for me, each day has been a little different as different things surface. My doctors also told me that it could take two weeks for all the effects to actually surface. Still have muscle spasm going on in my back and seeing my docs again today too.

Brosky
04-15-2012, 02:08 PM
OK that is indeed good news. The damage pictures are somewhat deceiving and I'm glad everything works as it does on the car. Having both doors open and close along with the boot and bonnet, as well as the headlights is great to hear, Getting it on the laser will insure that it's right after the fact.

Now make sure that you feel OK before signing any release.

DanB
04-16-2012, 12:39 PM
Either that, or she just got a tweet.....

Guest
04-16-2012, 04:35 PM
even if you buy it back, it most likely would be titled as a Salvage vehicle...which automaticly decreases the value 20-30%.
Good luck Scott in CA

Try 50%.

swift6
04-28-2012, 08:08 AM
Good news for my TR8. I didn't even have to argue with the adjusters. They have agreed to repair it with no issues. No salvage title involved. Check is in hand and property side of the issue is on the way to be closed with the involved insurance companies. I only wish my healing were as rapid.

tdskip
04-28-2012, 10:16 AM
That is great news on the TR8 Shawn. How are you (not the car) getting on?

Dino_V
04-28-2012, 01:38 PM
Sorry to hear, but at least you're ok.

swift6
04-29-2012, 09:48 AM
That is great news on the TR8 Shawn. How are you (not the car) getting on?


Slowly but surely.

Brosky
05-01-2012, 07:57 AM
Shawn, I hope that you're feeling better soon.

When you get the car in the shop, be sure to get complete pictures of the work being done, before, during and after. For your own piece of mind and to prove that everything was fixed properly should you ever decide to sell it.

swift6
05-05-2012, 04:00 PM
Will do.