It’s L.A. story time with Kazam once again. Brace yourselves for this one. I promise you it is 100% true. A lot can happen when you find a car not moving at traffic lights at 3am…
It’s a cold Monday night in December, one of the rare times here in L.A. with horrendous torrential rain. I’m in an Uber on my way home from one of the best nights out at The Magic Castle I’ve had. My friends Jarvis, Laura Armand, Cee and I all had a killer time watching some of the best performances I’ve seen there. My fiancé Chantile joined us for a part of the night, but had to leave early as she had work in the morning.
The party continued to The Rainbow on the Sunset Strip. Drinks were flowing, heavy metal was pounding and the magic continued. All in all, one of the best nights out in LA I’ve had.
Now at 3am, I’m in an Uber on the way home to East Hollywood – regaling my driver Veronica with tales about this epic night. I’m her last customer before she heads home to Inglewood.
We pull up behind a car at the traffic lights where Sunset and Hollywood Boulevard meet. I’m so tired. In only 5 minutes I’ll be warm and tucked up in my cozy bed.
The lights are green but the car’s not moving. They turn red then eventually green again. No movement.
“What’s going on here?” asks Veronica. She gives a few toots of the horn but the car won’t budge. The engine is running, the headlamps are on and the wipers are wiping, but it’s going nowhere. The traffic lights turn red again.
“Somethings wrong,” she says. She timidly pulls up beside the car for a closer look.
We peer through the windows to see an unconscious man and woman in the front seats.
“Holy sh*t!” I exclaim.
“Should we do something? asks Veronica. To add to the potential danger, Sunset is a wide street and the car is sitting on the inside lane at a large junction.
“I’ll take a look.” I say. I exit the car and knock their window hard.
No answer. Not even the slightest movement. I can see that the driver (who I’ll call ‘the guy’) sits upright and his passenger (who I’ll call ‘the girl’) has her seat reclined back. I pull all the doorhandles to try and get in – even the boot. They’re locked.
The heavy rain drenches my tuxedo as I try to shield my phone under it to call 911.
“911, what’s your emergency?” I explain the situation and where I am.
“Have you tried waking them up?”
“Yes, no answer.”
“Have you tried opening the door?”
“Can you see any kind of movement in their chests? Any sign of breath?”
“None, they are really still.”
“Ok what’s your phone number?”
“I’m a recent immigrant here, I haven’t memorised my pho…oh sh*t the girl just moved her head slightly!”
“Ok sir the fire department are on their way. Please stay there and wave them down when you seem them.”
Within minutes two massive fire engines pull up as I frantically wave my arms like a lunatic. They stop and the firefighters emerge slowly. They dander over to the car and knock the window.
They also try opening the doors with no luck. I’m immediately struck by how casual they are. It’s not like the movies – there’s zero sense of urgency as they take their time figuring out the best course of action.
They decide to reverse the fire engine up to the car and honk their deafening horn. I’m convinced that the guy is dead or at the very least severely incapacitated. To my surprise, however, his eyes slowly flutter open. The car begins staggering forward toward the red light.
“Hey man, don’t drive off!” shouts one fire fighter. The car takes off through the red light and across the intersection. The firefighters shrug and make their way back to their truck.
I stand there, speechless and in utter disbelief. One moustached firefighter sees my expression and turns to me. “What? WHAT?! Do YOU want get em outta the car?” The aggression in his voice is frightening, but I’m so surprised by his reaction I laugh. “That’s what I called you guys for,” I think to myself.
“I can’t believe they let them drive off!” Veronica shouts through her window. “Get in!”
I jump back into the Uber and we speed off behind the sleeping couple’s car which is swerving all over the road. About 15 seconds later I watch in horror as it veers across the two oncoming traffic lanes and smashes into the side of a building.
“WHAT THE FUUUUUU****KK!!” I scream like a banshee. Veronica lets out some similar expletives in Spanish.
We pull up beside the crash. “Go grab that fire truck!” I shout to Veronica as I leap back out into the downpour. She spins the car around and hightails it back up Sunset to catch the firefighters.
I approach the crash. The guy staggers out of the driver side door.
“Sit down mate, sit down! You might be injured!”
“Sheblah ga da ma urbagad sdkla.” He can’t string a sentence together. I can’t tell if it’s because of the crash, because of whatever substance they took that knocked them out in the first place, or both.
A smashed up metal gate blocks the passenger door so I crawl through the driver side to check on the girl. All the airbags have deployed and it’s smoky inside. Since she had her seat reclined it seems like she’s slid out from under the seatbelt and smashed her knees on the dashboard. She’s completely mangled. Both legs likely broken, glass in her face and hair and blood stains on her clothes.
I worry about the smoke in the car. It could be from the airbags – but what if it’s not? The adrenaline courses through me and I’m in no mood for politeness. “Where’s the f*cking key!? How do I turn this f*cking car off?!”
She slowly turns her head toward me. At least she’s finally awake now. I can only imagine her confusion at a guy in a tuxedo yelling at her in the middle of this madness. Like E.T. phoning home, she reaches her finger toward me with all the energy she can muster, then down toward a button beside the wheel and turns the engine off.
“We’re getting help. Don’t move!” I tell her. I rush back onto Sunset Boulevard. In the distance I can see the fire engines doing u-turns to come back. Veronica caught up with them, thank Christ.
Over my shoulder I hear the dreaded sound of the engine turning back on. I spin round to find the guy has returned to the driver’s seat and is trying to escape. The car is so jammed in the side of the building that it can’t move. The wheels spin as he tries to dislodge it.
I run back over and hammer the roof of the car with my fist. “Stop the f*cking car!! Stop the f*cking caaaarrrrr!”
In the dumbest move I make all night, I run behind the car to the driver side, risking getting flattened should he dislodge it. I realise there’s no reasoning with this guy, so I have to scare him senseless with a lie.
The door is still wide open. I grab him by the collar and scream in his face. “THE CAR’S ABOUT TO F*CKING EXPLODE! IT’S GONNA F*CKING EXPLODE! GET THE F*CK OUT!”
“Ohhh mar garrrdd!” he drools, stumbling out and leaving the poor girl in there again. For the second time I crawl in past the airbag and turn the engine off now that finally, after all my years on earth, I’ve figured out that modern cars have buttons and not keyholes.
By this point Veronica has returned with the fire fighters. Once again they slowly and calmly approach the scene and examine the car. Not one of them can look me in the eye.
I stand watching the scene of the carnage. The adrenaline begins to subside. The rain soaks me to the bone. Nobody there acknowledges my presence; not the couple, not the fire fighters, nor the paramedics that have just pulled up. I’m like an invisible ghost watching the scene of his own death, trying to get the attention of the living. It’s like I’m not even there; like I’ve just dreamed this entire fiasco. The absurdity of what’s happening hits me and I can do nothing but look to the sky and laugh maniacally.
Veronica snaps me out of it. She stayed to continue taking me home, bless her. I jump in the back seat and take the video below. The cops finally show up and take the driver into custody.
“Should we stay and give a statement or something?” Veronica asks me.
The paramedics finally get the girl into a stretcher and carry her toward the ambulance.
“No,” I say. “We’ve done our good deed for the day. Let’s get the hell outta here.”