Hi! I'm new to the forum. I have been racking my brains on how to handle my upcoming court date for "driving without headlights". I really think the cop mishandled the situation, including some of the things that were said between us.
First let me explain what happened.
I went into work at about 7pm, but remembered at around 8pm that I'd forgotten something at home....a very short trip from work.
I left work around 8:35 pm (it was very dark outside by this time). The road I work down has only one streetlight and it's a fairly long road. It is actually impossible to drive down the entire thing without your headlights on, unless of course you are kamikaze and are doing it on purpose
Also, let me add that I've been driving nearly 13 years and have driven the same Honda Civic for 8 of these years. So, turning on my lights when dark or when rain starts is something I do without even thinking about it. I've even developed the habit of checking to see if they are off everytime I cut the engine. I don't even realize when I do it.
Anyway, so I leave work and make a left towards our small town two lane highway. It is pretty well lighted, but still not enough to drive without lights on. I go across our small bridge and notice a car coming up a street up ahead on my right. Where he is to stop is completely blocked by the ending of the bridge.
Before I know what is happening this car has pulled out directly in front of me attempting to make a left turn at the intersection. I have no time for horn or brake and the bridge prevents a right swerve.....so I swerve to the left. I would've missed but the car kept coming damaging my car in a T bone fashion and pushing me into the oncoming lanes. As soon as I stop moving, I pull the car up and to the right into the median.
As soon as I stop, another car comes very fast towards me and parks in the turning lane right beside me (driver to driver). I get out of my car (without cutting the engine or the lights) and look around at the damage on the right side. I even notice the lights are on. I then get back into my vehicle and cut the engine as well as turning the light switch two clicks back as I've done for 8 yrs.
The officer comes 5+ minutes later.
Several people came out of their homes and one lady walked up to my car while I was in it and didn't ask me "are you hurt/okay/alright". No, this lady asks me why my lights are off.....she would've been walking up to me as I turned them off so I found that rather fishy. I simply replied, "because I just turned them off!" These ppl and the girl who parked beside me all made a beeline for the other car. My friends thought I'd been in a huge accident when they showed up....all these ppl looked like they were together.
Nothing is said to me about headlights for the two hours I sit there waiting for it to be over, then when he lets the other car go.....he hands me a citation saying that a witness said my headlights were not on.
This witness happens to be a year younger than the guy who hit me who was 18. She also lives in the same neighborhood, but claims to not know him, which the officer believed. And she told the officer that I almost hit her while she was trying to turn into the same place the guy who hit me was turning out of, but this is the car that parked beside me in the same turning lane right after I parked in the median. I remember well because she pulled in beside me so fast that it scared me a little. The cop simply says, "Don't you think she could've made a U-Turn?"
I explain to the cop where I'd been driving from (about 1/4 mile or more between it and the accident) and he "agreed" that it was "pretty dark". Then I told him that my tach lights would've alerted me if I even started to drive without headlights......he said I likely thought I had them on but just had the parking lights on. Now wouldn't this mean that the guy who "didn't yield my right of way" or more likely "ran the stop sign" would've seen my parking lights if that were the case?
This is the type of stop sign that you HAVE to roll up and look and look because of the bridge barrier. I never saw him roll up....he just appeared in front of my vehicle. I likely would've killed him had I not swerved.
I would think I have a pretty clear cut case, but everyone else seems to think that ONE witness could cause me to lose.
I took it upon myself to take pictures and a video of what is was like driving from work to the accident scene. The video is crystal clear until I shut my lights off down that one very dark road....then the video goes black...until I turn the headlights back on.
Also, the street the guy who hit me was coming from is very well lit, and has a very bright street light at the stop sign.
That is about it. Please help me out if you can. I'm still waiting on a court date and this whole thing has been misery for me. I had to go without a car for two weeks while on my "fall break" from school and take my vacation money I've been saving to fix my car which still looks awful. Plus I stand the chance of having to pay a ticket plus court fees and my Good driving record being changed whilst my insurance goes up.
Also, this 18 yr old that hit me had a ticket last March for 20-29 mph over the speed limit and a ticket in October for "state roads have the right of way in unmarked intersections".....or s'thing to that affect.
I haven't had a ticket in ages (and only ever for speeding) and only one accident in 2002 where I was rear-ended in a 35 mph zone...no big deal really.
Thanks so much in advance!!!