Can I get a witness?

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Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, was a sad day. Not because my car was hit by another car (at the intersection of Stavanger Drive and the Dominion entrance).

Not because that same person has subsequently told the police the opposite of what they said at the scene (unfortunate, but not on my conscience). Nor is it sad, as a result, that I’m now involved in a he said-she said battle between insurance companies (that’s frustrating, but expected).

I’m slightly disturbed, but not saddened, that the police would only come to the scene when I called 911 if I had been injured, or would only investigate the incident subsequently if I had died. Thankfully I was able to stop before anyone was hurt (and there was a young infant involved).

Of the more than 10 cars that were waiting at that light with me, on my side and directly across — individuals who presumably witnessed some part of that accident, saw the colour of the lights — not one car stopped to ask if we needed help. Not one slowed down long enough to offer a cell phone number.

Not one rolled down a window in passing to see if anyone needed medical assistance. As soon as we cleared our vehicles from the intersection, those cars were gone.

That is sad.

Initially I thought I would write a letter to the editor in which I bandied about those big words like duty, accountability, honour (apparently the “u” doesn’t matter), responsibility, and integrity (whatever that means). Sarcastically, I was going to thank all those drivers for not bothering to stop.

But the truth is I get it. People are busy, and it is a thankless inconvenience to get involved. Hell, I was on my way to get my son from school (after picking up groceries).

Instead, however, I want to thank those anonymous individuals out there who do regularly stop. Trust me I’d love to be bitter and swear to anyone who would listen that I’ll never stop to help at an accident again — but I know better. There really is no choice when it comes to doing the right thing, is there? Thanks again stoppers.

Dr. B.D. Clissold

St. John’s

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  • a business man
    January 19, 2014 - 14:26

    Firstly, I must point out that no one has any duty to stop and help anyone, and no one can be held accountable for failing to help anyone. Furthermore, those who stop cannot be said to be lacking in honour , responsibility and integrity. ALL THAT said, I always stop when I see an accident because I remember one time when someone stopped to help me after I REAR ENDED someone. It turns out that even though I hit the other car, I was cut off and this was only proven because someone else cared enough to stay and talk to the police. So, I now always stay because I understand it can make a difference. Since I hit the other car, I would have been likely at fault and then faced increased insurance premiums. However, because someone else served as a witness, the other driver was charged and I was therefore not at fault. they other reason that I always stop is because I am a lawyer and am always looking for new clients/someone to sue. Aside from all that, I recommend buying a dash cam. The video will be your evidence, and you may not even need a witness.