While a seemingly endlless line of headlights detoured eastbound onto Gypsy Lane in East Falls, Angel Rodriguez stood alone on Lincoln Drive.
Standing in the shadows of flashing police lights on Wednesday night, Rodriguez, 25, surveyed the remains of his Mazda Protégé while officers from the city’s Traffic Division completed their paperwork.
Shortly before 8:30 p.m., the Mt. Airy resident was returning home from after a long day of work.
As he negotiated Lincoln Drive’s twists, Rodgriguez inadvertently struck the side of the road near West Rittenhouse Street. Unable to change the direction of his vehicle, the car, in his words, “began turning around.”
Despite Rodriguez’s attempts to regain control, the Mazda flipped over and skidded to a halt.
Police, fire department, and medical personnel responded to the scene. No other vehicles were damaged. Rodriquez only sustained a minor cut to his wrist.
“I was holding on to the roof of my car with two hands saying ‘Oh my God, oh my God!'” said Rodriguez.
Asked what was going through his mind at the time, he replied, “I didn’t think about anything.”
At 9:12 p.m., a tow truck from Joseph’s Auto Repair arrived.
“It’s just my luck,” mused Rodriquez, noting that he’s only had the car for two months. Fortunately, he’s insured, but may not have coverage for a rental vehicle.
“I’ve got the cheap insurance,” he explained.
A few minutes later, the Mazda was chained by the tow truck operator.
With only a slight depression of the accelerator pedal, the tow truck inched forward and the car flipped onto its wheels with a resounding thud.
Rodriguez, who stood to the side of the truck with one strap of his small backpack draped over his right shoulder when his car turned over, carefully approached the Mazda.
In his hand, was a speeding ticket.
In his ears, was the sound of the Traffic Division officer imploring, “Angel, you gotta slow down.”
Rodriguez entered the car and looked for personal items to take with him. A moment later, the tow truck operator began sweeping with street with a broom, pushing glass, metal, plastic and sand debris to the narrow gutter along the side of the road.
With a screech, Rodriguez opened the crumpled passenger side door and performed one last inspection of the vehicle. He exited with his insurance card and a car seat and signed the forms for the tow truck operator to remove his vehicle.
Rodriguez walked to the Traffic Division’s white Ford Explorer and quietly sighed, “Good night.”
His home blocks away from Lincoln Drive, the last leg of the journey would be brief, but with a police escort.
After they departed, traffic began filing over the scene of the accident.
An hour later, only the sand remained.