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Ocean Street D.O.A.
CHURCHofKINK, CoK, ENTANGLEMENT, ENLIGHTENMENT, INTELLIGENT
strawberryviper
Tonight I watched a man die on Ocean St. Four or five paramedics did their best to administer CPR, but this guy was a goner. I'm sure dying, half naked and flat out on Ocean wasn't what this guy had in mind for his Sunday evening. I'm sure his wife didn't think she would watch her husband die tonight and I’m sure she didn't think she'd see her baby, still strapped in his car seat, covered with his fathers blood. But that is what she saw, and that is what happened on this late summer Sunday night. The four teenaged boys who were driving upwards of 60 mph as they roared down highway 17 and through the intersection, in front of a Denny's filled with tourists and plunged straight into the mid-sized silver sedan making its way through the wagon train of traffic heading away from the beach and back over the hill. We heard the screaming of the brakes, twice trying to hold pavement, then the eerie silence, then the meeting of metal, plastic, bone and concrete. Living at the intersection of Ocean, Plymouth and Highway 17, we hear the near misses almost everyday. But most of the time, the horns blare, the tires find purchase, and everyone drives away. Tonight, the middle-aged man in shorts and flip-flops, driving his wife and baby home, was not so lucky.

The teenagers T-Boned the family's car, connecting squarely on the drivers side right between the doors. The is easily 25 feet or more of distance from the point of impact to where the vehicles ended up, and where Mr. John Doe failed in his fight against the dying light. And while the paramedics did seem rather slow to make it to the scene, there was an off duty EMT, still in his wet suit, surf board in the back of his truck, who happened to be a car length behind the accident and jumped in to the fray in an attempt to save the drivers life. Another person, who too had narrowly missed being plowed into by the teens by swerving at the last minute, first jumped out of his car, ran to the silver sedan and removed the baby, still in the car seat and soaked in blood, to the side of the road before running after one of the boys from the offending vehicle who exited the car and made a break for it. Perhaps reason or shock, or pain caught up with the boy and the guy who pulled the baby out of the car caught up with him and walked him back. The four teens sat on the curb in front of the Welcome to Santa Cruz sign, Surrounded by the proud plaques of the Elks, The Masons and a nod to our sister cities, and watched with the rapidly growing crowd of diners, hotel guests and concerned neighbors, as John Doe, stomach bloating and skin bluing, passed away under twilight skies and the glow of traffic lights. The man who pulled the baby out, arms covered in a now dead man's blood, walked over to the driver and showed him the blood and told him this is because of you, the teen replied, "better his blood than mine." The police had to threaten him with arrest so that he would stop screaming at the teen and just walk away. Meanwhile, as with any event, tragic or otherwise, the underbelly of our dear town began to show their faces. My neighbor, a skinny, tweaked out former trucker who is both a crack head and meth head, was running around the now crime scene, picking up pieces of the cars and piling them up on the side of the road. She migrated from stranger to stranger repeating the same story, completely confused and trying to make the events somehow revolve around her. This went on for an hour and the police had to threaten her with arrest to keep her from trampling through the crime scene (and traffic for that matter) again and again. When she continued to walk in front of traffic and try to cross into the area sectioned of by flares, cops and car parts, the cops moved towards her to arrest her and she stormed off screaming "fuck you pigs, serve and protect, you're supposed to serve and protect, fuck you!" She would come back later and make the rounds again before finally making her way back into her hovel of an bungalow and doing whatever it is crack heads do on a Sunday night when they're not watching a women in hysterics because she's covered in blood and watching her husband die.

The accident happened around 6:30 p.m. I believe, but it's now 12:26 am and the police are still investigating the scene. The entire intersection is blocked off with yellow crime scene tape and a lone investigator is out there with his tape measure calculating just how reckless and stupid these teens were driving. I stood by the side of the road for over an hour after the wreck. I don't know why, but I felt weird about leaving this dead man alone in the street. The EMT's had covered him with a yellow plastic tarp, but his right arm and leg were uncovered and blue. I am not an overly polite or proper man, but it just seemed very wrong, without dignity to just leave him lying there, dead on the street. I know that this was now a crime scene and that he couldn't be moved until the coroner arrived and the investigators took their pictures. These are the proper steps and the Police, Firefighters and EMT's all did their jobs well, but for some reason I just thought maybe one of them should have sat there with the man. Instead, he was just there alone, like his wife was now with a baby to raise, a spectacle for the crowd. Eventually, the nondescript white van with the floodlight attached to the roof in back arrived to take the body away. One person grabbing both arms, and one person grabbing both legs, they hoisted they guy on to a blue tarp which turned out to be your standard issue body bag. They zipped him up, transferred him to a gurney, and loaded him into the van. Whatever those EMT's get paid, it is not enough. Soon after these, the teens were taken away, one by one, neck braces on and strapped to flat emergency boards, in a parade of ambulances. The seemed annoyed, put out, and serenely unfazed. I guess it could have been the shock, but something in me thinks that they just didn't give a fuck that they had just killed a wife, widowed a wife, and left a boy without his father.

With the smoke of the signal flares filling the sky with haze, and the slow and steady pace of cars slowing to observe the commotion, the sun went down and the stillness that is a Santa Cruz Sunday night settled in for the evening. From my bedroom window I can still see the intersection, the silver car mangled and misshaped, the police officer standing in the turn lane, waving away the occasional car, and the stop where a man made his last stand nothing but the cold grey concrete of our Ocean Street. As our day comes to an end, the nightmare for the women in the passenger seat is only beginning. Those boys, who no doubt were coming to the 'Cruz to partake in the fun our little hamlet by the sea has to offer will spend the night in the hospital or in jail, hopefully remorseful for the what they have done. And I hope all of you have the chance to hug the ones you love every chance that you get, because one just never knows.

(It is late, I will check for grammar in the morning)

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