On Friday morning at 0822 I was riding up Trade with two tubs of mail on my bars headed for the One Wacky Building when I came upon a car accident that had happened minutes earlier at Caldwell. The Medics were not there yet, only one fire truck and one CMPD police officer trying to manage the morning cross traffic. As I turned around the broken metal and I saw a CFD firefighter on one knee outside of the Mustang holding the head of the driver through what looked like a ripped open door. That was the picture that I missed because I kept on rolling towards my first mail drop. For the next 8 minutes I prioritized my day job with the image of what I saw and did not document bouncing around my brain. I had to get over it. I dropped that first tub, put the contents of the second one into my bag and sprinted back to the scene. I took out my camera and went to work with the idea that one of these images was headed to the Charlotte Observer. That was the real fear. For years I have wanted to take a picture of something that was happening Uptoon and deliver it to the Observer for print. I came close in 2001 with an extraction photo of a fellow who flipped his Ford Explorer but it was a 35mm Chrome and I could not get the image turned to positive fast enough. So, try today. Which I did after about 20 minutes on scene. After scanning through and doing a camera edit I rode over to the Observer Building and met a photo editor who recognized me from the street. He took my memory, disappeared to dump them on his machine and returned for a 15 minute stand up meeting where we discussed the unique position that a bike messenger who carries a camera in a city has. I took his card, he held on to my contact information and altho Friday was going to be a busy 'News' day, he said he would see what he could do. Even if none of the 38 images that I gave him went in, I truly feel better about meeting someone over there that I can call with the next batch.
At one point while I was on a knee looking through the big lens I felt a human presence crouch down along side of me. I pulled back from the camera and looked into the eyes of a fire fighter who spoke first. "Are you gonna put the pictures you are taking up on your blog?", he asked. I really thought that he was going to tell me about the protection of the identity of the victim and give me a light ball busting but instead I laughed and replied, "You read my blog?" Of course he does, does not every civil servant in Mecklenburg County? Hilarious. I explained that I was not motivated by my blog, that in this case I was planning to go to the Observer with them.
The images. The Mustang, according to the 3 people that I talked to at the scene who saw what happened accelerated through a red light and plowed into the white truck.
The Firefighter who recognized me from my blog. Hello Happy Reader...
Mustang Driver on back board and whereonearthisbill.blogspot.com reading fire fighter walking over to the truck.