Saturday, January 04, 2003

On my return to Martuni from Yerevan on the 28th, I had a minor fender-bender.

The incident took place 209 kilometers from Yerevan, which is someplace between Sisian and Goris.

On a straight stretch of road, I came up to a slow moving white Mitsubishi mini van (license number 153 SU 61) who was driving in the middle of the road where I could not pass him.

I put on my left directional indicator and he moved over to the right to allow me to pass.

I moved as far left as I could and began to pass. While passing at maybe 5 kilometers faster than the van, the van began to creep over into my lane. I honked my horn to warn the driver and next thing I know, he bumped into my car.

I kept driving straight and looked into my rearview mirror to see the van swerving all over the road, looking as if it would turn over, but the driver was able to regain control and we both stopped.

I got out to see the damage to my car and though it was minor, it was noticeable.

I asked him why he hit me and he said that I hit him. His passengers sided with him and claimed to witness me hitting them, though after my pointing out to them that their windows were fogged up, most of them backed down to their claims.

I asked that we exchange documents and the driver quickly told me that we have to move on as the road was going to be closed ahead and if we don�t move now, we will be stuck.

I followed them into Goris, figuring that we would go to the police station to settle our dispute, but as we passed through Goris and it was clear that we had passed the police station, I passed the van and signaled him to stop, which he did.

I told him that we need to go to the police station and he said that if we did, then I will have to pay for the repairs on his car. I told him that if I am at fault, I have no problem taking responsibility and would pay.

He told me that he would not go and I told him that I was going and will have to tell the police that he refused to come. He told me that would be fine with him.

I drove back into Goris to the Ministry of Internal Affairs building, where the police are found.

I was at first somewhat rudely welcomed, but as soon as they understood that I was from the Diaspora, they warmed up.

I first was taken up to see some guy named Grisha, who asked me what had happened. I told him and he got on the phone to have the van stopped and to return back. He told me that he would pull the guy by the ear and make him apologize to me for hitting my car.

It seems that the law is that the driver of the other car had no right to in anyway drive into me when I was passing and probably do it intentionally, but probably slid over due to ice and snow.

When we determined who the driver of the van was from making a few calls, it was Eshkhan and it seems that he is related to someone with a position of power.

I was next taken to see the deputy chief of police who started out trying to talk English with me.

He told me that these things happen and they would call Eshkhan to come see him the next time he passed Goris to apologize to him.

The deputy also said that he was sorry this happened and he personally would pay for the damage. I told him that it would not be necessary and that if Eshkhan caused the damage, then he should pay. The chief said that times are hard these days and it�s not a big deal for him to pay.

He then said to come with him and took me to a room where some other police people were having khorovads to celebrate a birthday.

We sat down and talked about life here and why I moved here and what they do and so on.

I didn�t drink as I had to still make it home and though they invited me to stay the night, I was in no mood to stay.

So a couple of days ago, the damage to my car was fixed which cost me $60. Though $60 is not a huge amount of money, I should see what the deputy will do when I tell him how much I spent to fix the car.

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