2009-01-02 / On Second Thought

The deadly game of Stare Down

It's late afternoon just off Times Square in New York. Tony has spent the afternoon exchanging Christmas presents and buying electronic toys at heavily markeddown prices.

Now tired, he's ready to head for home. Heading for 42nd Street at Times Square, Tony steps off the curb despite the fact there's a "Do not walk" sign flashing. He glances at an oncoming car and attempts to stare- down the driver. That tactic often works — but not this time. The driver slams on his brakes, but the skidding car strikes Tony, knocking him down.

At that moment nearly everything in that side of the intersection comes to a halt. The driver jumps out of his car. Tony, not badly hurt, struggles to his feet, still very disoriented by his ordeal.

A woman pedestrian tugs at Tony's arm saying, "Get back down you idiot! The cops'll think you're hurt, and you'll get more insurance money."

Tony is in no condition to think clearly. At the woman's urging, he lies back down in front of the car. The wail of police sirens is getting closer. The gathering crowd continues to stare at Tony lying on the street.

Apparently, the driver got out of his car without thinking to put his car in the "park" position. Still in the "drive" gear, the car rolls forward.

Tony realizes what's happening and tries to roll out from under the car, but he's too late. One tire has already pinned his jacket to the asphalt street.

By the time bystanders become aware of Tony's lifethreatening position, it's too late to push the car back. The tire rolls past Tony's shoulder and pinches his fragile neck, killing him instantly.


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