500/600 block of Irving Street NW, Washington DC:
We heard the impact. It was a dull crack but violent, after a panicked split second of squealing brakes. The sound was shrill and hollow, but you could feel the velocity in it.
Three cheers for crumple-zones.
We turned around just in time to see some dweeb jump out of the car and book like an olympic sprinter up the alley he crashed into. The front end was crushed and the engine (still running, obviously) was left drumming out a crippled beat. Antifreeze pooled beneath the poor thing and ran down the sidewalk. Windshield wipers were jammed on, swaying uselessly. The airbag hung over the driver's seat like a senile iguana's dewlap, frozen in some dead gesture of macho pride.
It certainly fits the stolen-car-joyride assumption. Several of us were on cell-phones right away, trying to get somebody in uniform to come deal with this thing. The engine's death-rattle began to sound desperate, gasping for breath but choking on its own shattered bones.
Looks like the folks in the two rowhouses next to the alley saw more than I did, so maybe the little shit will get nabbed. But I suspect not. It seems we don't "nab" people for "crimes" in this town. Maybe that's the case everywhere. But honestly, where do you begin trying to find the bastard?
But for what it's worth: If your car has been missing and looks like this (and has Maryland plates that begin with KEP), I think we found your vehicle.
We've got some genuine, good and decent people on this block (I try to be "good" and "decent" myself, but the success of that is up for debate), and many of us have noticed more "incidents" in recent months, vs. the last couple of years. Things improved after the teen 'mob' were evicted a few doors down, but hopefully we're not seeing another slide in that direction now. This joyride incident seems totally random: the kid was racing up the alley from Columbia Road to Kenyon at wicked crazy speed. It could just as easily have been somewhere else, and certainly could've killed somebody.
Anyway. Could this be a grim omen for the summer?