This is a saga that started, in effect, on October 23, 2016. This thread will chronicle the process. Let me start with a bit of background.
The morning of October 23, 2016 was a sunny, warmish Sunday morning, about 8:30 AM. Being a rare weekend when I was actually in Houston, and not traveling, I woke up and decided to head out to the wrecking yards to try my luck with the Mercedes automotive gods. I was in search of cool parts and perhaps a few things I could sell to help out some fellow owners.
I had just gotten off of West Loop I-610 South, which is south of downtown Houston, heading to the LKQ Hiram Clarke wrecking yard. I was a couple of miles from the yard, and was stopped at a traffic light & intersection.
The road was a one-way "feeder" road, parallel to the I-610 Loop. The one-way road consisted of four lanes:
- Left lane - a dedicated U-turn lane that went under the I-610 overpass
- Second to left lane - a combination left-turn or straight-ahead lane
- Second to right lane - a dedicated straight-ahead lane
- Right lane - a dedicated right-turn lane
I was second in line behind a pickup truck in the "second to left lane" as above. I was planning to go straight ahead through the intersection. A semi tractor/trailer was to my right, in the dedicated straight-ahead lane.
The light turned green, and the pickup in front of me turned left to go under the underpass. I continued straight ahead, planning to turn left at the NEXT stoplight on the feeder road, about a 1/4 mile down the road.
I got about halfway through the intersection, and suddenly felt a sharp jolt to the car. The semi truck to my right, and slightly behind me, assumed that I was going to turn left, and that he was also going to turn left as well, from his dedicated straight-ahead lane. The jolt I felt was the front left fender of the truck turning into the rear quarter-panel of my car, and glancing back off.
After the initial shock/surprise of this, I continued straight through the intersection and (now in the left lane of the feeder road, past the intersection) and pulled my 560SEC up onto the left-hand median. The tractor-trailer pulled into the left lane directly ahead of my car, and put on his flashers.
I got out of the vehicle, and found what you see in the following photos. The right rear quarter panel was heavily damaged, the right rear tire was popped and the Lorinser DS-90 wheel was shot, and the rear part of the passenger-side door was dented in pretty severely. The short lower-cladding piece between the rear wheel arch and the rear of the passenger door was laying, mangled, in the middle of the intersection.
I called the Houston Police non-emergency number, and took my information and despatched a police cruiser, which arrived after about 15 minutes. After about 10 minutes sitting in the truck, the truck driver got out, inspected the front of his truck, and very tentatively came back to talk to me. He observed and took a few photos of the damage to my car. I asked him why he turned left (into me) from a dedicated straight-ahead lane, and he muttered something about believing it was a left-turn lane. Other than that, he said nothing to me.
The female police officer arrived and took my information, and also my story as to what happened. Then she did the same with the truck driver and his information, and exchanged the forms so that we had each others' information. She also confirmed that the truck driver was clearly at fault for the accident (he was not fluent in English), and she indicated that she was issuing him several citations for his failure to yield.
I have been driving since late 1982. This is the very first time in 34+ years that I have EVER been involved in any type of accident or collision. I was extremely bummed, but thankful that it wasn't my fault. And even more thankful that I wasn't hurt.
I have been driving since late 1982. This is the second time in 34+ years that I have EVER been involved in any type of accident or collision. The first accident I had when back in the last 1980s, when I ran a friend's car into a curb at moderate speed, cracking two of his alloy wheels and damaging his suspension. With this accident involving my Mercedes coupe, I was extremely bummed, but thankful that it wasn't my fault. And even more thankful that I wasn't hurt.
Here are some photos of the damage to the car, taken at the scene of the accident.