My question involves a traffic accident in the State of California.
My friend was driving on a fairly busy street in San Diego last Friday when she was startled by the loud sound of something dragging under her car. She pulled into the center median, stopped, and got out to notice a tall metal pole bearing a "No U-Turn" sign caught up underneath her car. She's pretty sure it was already in the road, but says she may have drifted out of her lane and hit it down herself. Almost immediately, a cop showed up behind her, light's flashing. She was mortified and terrified, having had some very bad run ins with the police in the past, the results of which she is still dealing with.
Luckily for her, the cops were on another call. One of them dragged the pole to the side of the road, the other asked her what happened. She says she was startled and confused in the moment, and stammered something about having possibly made a bad left turn (She was late getting through the intersection she had just cleared, afraid she may have even run the light). She also told the cop that it was her mom's car she was borrowing because she herself had run out of gas down the road, which was true.The cops explained they were on another call; they never asked to see her ID or even for her name. All they told her to do was go to the police station about a half mile down the street and report that the "No U-Turn" sign in that block had been damaged. She neglected to do even this, and I am unclear as to why; she says she was just rattled and scared.
My take (although I am no lawyer, which is why I am asking here) is that without even having asked for her name, as they were on a their way to deal with a presumably more serous issue, she is home free. She, however, remains fairly inconsolable. She is afraid they wrote down her license plate and will be sending her (or her mother) a bill, or even worse, she will get something in the mail charging her with a crime.
Although I see why she is nervous, I keep pointing out that she herself doesn't even think she hit the thing; she thinks it was in the road already. But she's afraid that because of the dumb thing she said to the cop, combined with the fact that they MAY have written down the license plate # of the car, means she has fines or, at worst, criminal charges hanging over her head. Sorry to be so long winded, but I wanted to give enough detail to get a good answer, so I can tell her to stop (or continue) freaking out. Many thanks.