A tremendous, almost deafening, crash reverberated against the brick walls of the neighbourhood, waking us from our slumber. It was 2am. My first thought was a lightning strike right next to the house without any warning rumbles. The next mental explanation: The neighbour's tree falling into our garage, smashing the car. I got up to investigate, B woke, but somehow Alex remained asleep.
Opening the door, still bleary eyed, I spotted a small boulder rolled against our porch. A landslide triggered by the rain, which was still falling? It was difficult to believe. Then I stepped outside.
A black Mazda 3 embedded in bushes towards the top of our driveway, interior lights still one. I hurried up to investigate, fearing that people were trapped inside requiring medical attention. Then I heard a "Sorry. I'm so sorry."
The lone driver, a young man, was standing at the top of our driveway, obviously shaken, apologising, admitting that he had too much to drink. He handed me his keys.
We gave him a phone to call his parents, only a couple of blocks away, then called the police ourselves.
Both soon turned up. Both were very courteous. The young man returned an over the limit reading on the breathalyzer and was taken away for a blood alcohol test.
The morning revealed the extent of the damage. The car was a write off, its front smashed in, one wheel wrenched off, all driver airbags deployed. It had been driving at speed up a steep hill, gone off at a tangent at the curve, mounted the kerb, smashed the top of the neighbour's retaining wall, become airborne and ripped up the murraya and callistemon shrubs between our houses, knocking a big stone down our driveway and destroying a pot that had been with us since the early days of our last house.
It was fortunate that a large dead eucalyptus tree had been removed months before as he may well have suffered serious injuries and the tree done major damage to either us or our neighbour's property had it collapsed.
The car was towed away and the guy and his father carried away the fallen shrubs and scrap in their trailer to the tip. Driving under the influence of alcohol meant that their insurance would not pay for the damage, or the smashed car, but fortunately it appears that the property damage is fairly minor anyway - for us, not them.
We frequently hear people hooning around these tight curves, certain of their superior driving skills. They don't realise how close they come to seriously injuring themselves or those that live along the street. Hopefully one now realises his stupidity in drink driving and how close he came to killing himself.
As the clock ticks over towards midnight and the time approaches when I shall rush up to the top of the driveway to watch the darkness...
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