An administrative law judge once said to me that defendants can handle any verdict so long as they feel that they've been heard. The same thing is true of the human heart.
I say this to comfort myself. Riding back to Connecticut from the city on Tuesday, I witnessed a horrific accident. My son Ev was driving down the Henry Hudson Parkway in the far left lane. I was riding shotgun. In the right lane a white car slowed down and started to exit, but at the last minute, it pulled back onto the roadway.
Traveling at a good clip behind the white car was an older model silver coupe, which subsequently slammed on its brakes. The sound of squealing tires and smell of burning rubber filled the air. I could almost feel the driver bracing himself against the steering wheel, brake pedal to the floor.
Seconds later, the silver car slammed into the white one, bounced off a concrete barrier, and flipped several times. The windshield shattered as pieces of metal flew everywhere. The silver car and ours were only yards away from each other. If it had rolled to the left instead of the right, we would have been hit as well.
I doubt the driver survived. But if he did, and if he had dreams yet to fulfill, I only hope--and this is where the story of the judge and the driver connect--that at some point in his life, he at least made an attempt to listen to them.
Note: My son wanted to stop and help, but I encouraged him to keep driving, not wanting to cause a second accident by crossing two lanes of traffic to get to an almost non-existent shoulder. My friend Penny Pearlman, who was sitting in the back seat, immediately called 911. We're all wondering what happened to the driver; but despite repeated Internet searches, I've have been unable to find out whether the driver lived or died. Just a few hours before the accident, Janet Luongo took the above picture from the bedroom window of the apartment where we were staying. When I got up that morning and looked out at the Hudson, I had no thought that this might be my last day on earth. My guess is that the driver had no idea either.