On the morning of December 29th, 2008 I slid from my lane into the lane of oncoming traffic. I sideswiped a truck, and the collision sent us both into the ditch. You might have heard about a road closure on Hillview….

Needless to say the roads were unbelievably slippery, i will only briefly mention this once: the city of missoula does an unacceptable job at maintaining the city streets. I was issued a ticket for Careless Driving, and told to see judge Louden.

When the first tow truck arrived he began carefully positioning himself to extract the Chevy 1500 Silvarado from the ditch, and he slid off the road and into the snowbank leaving this enormous truck stuck in the ditch. Then Reds Towing made it to the scene with a smaller, but still capable, and as he was carefully position himself, he too slid off the road into the ditch. It was a sight to behold.

One of the police officers radioed to dispatch and requested, for the third time, that a sanding truck come up to lay down some traction, by this time there were passers by who were getting stuck as they slowed/stopped to avoid and gawk at the absurdity of the situation (a bresnan truck had to put on chains to make it out of there). The dispatcher asked him to go and block off the road, he had to admit to her that he too was unable to safely navigate the street and that he too was stuck.

Recap: 2 damaged vehicles + 2 tow trucks + 1 Police Cruiser + other traffic getting stuck = a big mess.

finally the sanding truck made it up there, more police showed up to close the road, and 2 more tow trucks came to try and salvage this situation. after the street was sanded and declared to be “safe” the 3rd and 4th tow trucks got to work pulling us out first and then the other tow trucks and finally the Chevy truck.

The estimated damage on our car was about $5,000 and of course insurance will help out with that. The next morning while we were driving Collin daycare we followed the sand truck up the hill. 24 hours earlier that sand would have saved me a thousand bucks and a lot of time wasted dealing with the court.

I appeared before the judge on Tuesday December 30th and plead not guilty. I was given a Scheduling Order, and sent on my way. I then stopped at the office of the City Attorney, where i met with a city prosecutor. I explained the situation and said that i was driving in the same manor as the Police Officer and the 2 tow truck drivers, and if i deserved a ticket than they did as well. They simply got lucky and when they slid off the road they didn’t hit anyone. She agreed that the road conditions were extreme and had they been sanded the incident would have been avoided.

The legal repreve won’t pay the deductible for the repairs, it probably won’t even encourage the city to take a more proactive stance on road maintenance, but at least it helps with the piece of mind.