Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Dreaded Call

Jacob called me this weekend and said, "Dad, I have had a wreck."

I jumped on the motorcycle and rushed to where he was. The two cars were still in the intersection, with the guy's car that hit Jacob all crumbled up. He had t-boned Jake, hitting our front left tire. Both of his fenders, his bumper, grill, radiator, fan and hood were folded up.

The police where there, and they called the department in charge of transportation, Transito. When transito came, we had to all go to the police station.

Jacob has an American License, which isn't recognized in Bolivia after three months. This meant that he was driving illegally, and that even though I have insurance...it didn't apply in this case.
Things were looking bad.

I think God for my good friend, and the director of our mission, Dave Shipster. I called Dave as soon as I saw how bad the cars were and the police. Dave called our mutual friend Antonio...who knows all things Bolivian (thanks Antonio!). The three of us where there at the station with Jacob.

I was just letting them do the talking. It was not looking good. Jacob, a foreigner and teenager, driving without a legal license or insurance (which is the law), turned left in front of a Bolivian man. What was going to happen? How bad was this going to be?
Then, the police asked the other man for his license and insurance. Guess what? He did not have a license of insurance either.
At this point, it could have really gone South, when suddenly the officer looked up at us and said, "It would probably be best for everyone if you went outside and worked this out yourself."

So, we went outside, and agreed upon a way to pay for the damage. I would pay 75% and he would pay 25%. I felt this was fair because it was Jacob's fault technically, although the man did run a red light and was speeding. Jacob did turn left. It was also fair because we could more easily pay our 75% than he could pay his 25%. So we took my car out of the equation. He only had to pay 25% of the repair cost for his car. I would pay 100% of mine, and 75% of his.

I told Jacob afterwards that it was more than coming to an agreement over a wreck, there was also a 'help the poor' to consider.

Bottom line...today we took our cars to the garages to get repaired. The police charged me 200 bolivianos as a fine, and no one went to jail or the hospital. All in all, not bad for an uninsured, unlicensed accident in a foreign country.
Seriously, this is one of the reasons we chose SIM as our mission. They have your back. Thanks Dave, thanks Antonio...and we have learned our lesson.

Now...time for the money. :(


Jennifer T. said...

So sorry! Not fun but glad you came to a peaceful agreement.

And now I just have to ask......which car was it?!

Joe Holman said...

It was your dad's old car.