Friday, May 01, 2009
Driving back from the Bronx, I'm traveling south on the Harlem River Drive when I notice some clothes and things strewn all over the center lane. Traffic is whizzing past on both sides. It's after 10:00 p.m., it's raining lightly and the car's tires are leaving tiny wakes on the shiny blacktop. As I near the bundle of clothes I see it's actually a body lying there. I stop and put on my hazard lights to warn oncoming traffic to go around... I don't want to see this person get hit... again. I grab my cell phone and step from the car in order to wave traffic around the body. I'm wearing a reflective safety vest so I'm fairly safe and the drivers, although morbidly curious, go around me and the lady lying in the road. She's on her back, her eyes wide and bulging, blood oozing from her nose, mouth, and ear. I let the 911 operator know what's going on and give her my name and number. I turn back ti the lady in the rain. She appears to be anywhere between 30-50 years old... it's hard to tell in the dark and rain with my hazard lights alternatingly making the scene dark and light. She may be Hispanic. Two young men materialize from the darkness at the highway's periphery. One of the squats over the woman and is touching her about the neck and face. I warn him away, telling him that if this is a hit-and-run, then this is a crime scene. He tells me he's checking for signs life. I tell him she's dead. DOA. He insists he's checking if she's alive. I tell him once the cops arrive that I will point him out as the person that disturbed the body and he leaves. He and his friend remain in the shadows just off the highway. I'm still directing traffic and now I'm also just hoping the authorities would hurry up. Other people soon arrive, including a man that admits to being the driver of the first vehicle that hit her. The first?!? Finally lights and sirens in the distance announces the arrival of an ambulance coming the wrong way up the highway toward where I'm standing. They check the lady for vitals. She's DOA. The two guys in the shadows come out and claim to be witnesses. The ambulance crew tells them to save the info for the cops. I'm still directing highway traffic in the rain. More lights and sirens, this times coming the other way. Highway cops drive up in a souped-up Charger. Cool. They block off some of the traffic but these on-lookers won't be denied and nearly run me over several times in their efforts to rubberneck the scene. A huge FDNY Suburban shows up and blocks the center lane, now traffic has no choice but to move all the way over to the passing lane. The ambulance crew covers the body with a sheet. It's time for me to go... I'm still on the clock. When I go back to my car I notice someones placed the lady's personal effects on the hood. I ask one of the officers to please remove it, he nods, puts on a pair of plastic gloves and puts her things into separate baggies. I say a prayer and glance at the two guys there were hidden in the darkness, they're talking to the cops. I pull around the puddle of blood, the ambulance, and the growing crowd of responders and onlookers and drive away from the lady in the rain.
Posted by Arnold Wolf at 8:03 PM