last night phil and halle i and we were driving back from martinez around 1 a.m. we were traveling on the west bound 80 right before the san pablo dam exit, when the station wagon ahead of us suddenly wiggled a bit, then lost control, slid sideways across four or five lanes of freeway. he hit the guardrail with the car facing the wrong way down the highway, and the back end smacked into the railing with enough force to launch one metal section up the hill 20 yards and lift the vehicle up onto the posts.
we pulled over and i called 911, telling them i believed it was an injury accident. mike and phil helped the driver out of the car while i was talking to the highway patrol operator. he was shaken up, having trouble moving and probably in shock. he had just spent $200 to buy the car and was driving to highland hospital in oakland to be with his sick aunt.
fifteen minutes later, there was no sign of the highway patrol so i called 911 again. i reiterated that the driver might need medical attention, we believed he was in shock. they told me help was on the way. several other motorists pulled over to ask if we needed help.
when the CHP finally showed up 25 minutes later they seemed completely unconcerned about the driver’s well being. we started expressing our worries that he was in shock and needed to be looked at, and the cop held up her hand and cut us off. her partner questioned him about insurance (he had none) and examining him with an eye towards establishing a DUI (he did not appear to have been drinking). i did not hear him inquire once about his injuries.
the other cop took our statement, brusquely cutting us off several times, and then told us we could go. we wished the guy getting the third degree good luck and drove off, wondering whether we had done the right thing by calling 911.