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  1. #1
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    Default Car Accident My First Experience With Sosua Police

    My husband and I moved to Sosua in late October and yesterday I had my first (and hopefully my only!) car accident and I thought posting about my experience might be helpful to any of the DR1 expats who (godforbid!) may have an accident.

    At 7:30am I was driving on the road between Sosua and Cabarete headed east towards Cabarete. I stopped to make a left into Breezes and as I turned a driver (who was also headed east) tried to pass me in the westbound lane and smashed into the driver side of my truck. His car bounced off and ended up about 150 feet away in the ditch. I jumped out and so did the 3 Dominican men from the other truck. Luckily, no one was hurt and the Breezes security guys phoned the Police. After about 20 minutes and much discussion between the security guys and the other driver/passengers (in Spanish, of course, and I kicked myself for the 1,000 time for not learning Spanish BEFORE I got to the DR) the police arrived IN A TAXI!

    They asked for my insurance, registration and licence (I still only had my Canadian license but will definitely be getting a Dominican one in the next few weeks). They then talked to everyone, except me because my Spanish is useless, and no one spoke any English (at this point I was freaking out, I imagined they would all stick together in some terrible lie, I wouldnít get to tell my side of the story and I would be stuck for the rest of my life supporting an entire family over some awful personal injury lawsuit. Itís amazing how your imagination runs wild in situations like this.) They then told me ďPolice Station SosuaĒ and everyone, including the Police Officers and the other driver piled into my truck and I drove everybody back to the Sosua Police Station. When we arrived they directed me and the other driver into one of the rooms to wait (and wait and wait) and the officers with my registration and insurance info. left. I was allowed to use the phone in the room. After I called my husband (that call went real well because it was his truck, but thatís another story!) I called DR1íer Escott to ask if he had any advice. He must have heard the panic in my voice and said that his Condo was close by and offered to come to the Police Station.

    (As an aside here I would really like to give Scott a huge THANK YOU. My husband and I have only socialized with him once and he willingly spent a couple of hours with us at the Police Station offering moral support and generally talking us down. He is truly an exceptional guy)

    After about an hour and Ĺ waiting we were directed to another room by an officer I hadnít seen before. We all took a seat and he went into the desk in the room and took out a small black bag. Iím not sure what I expected the contents of the bag to be but it definitely wasnít the disposable razor, shaving cream and mirror that he pulled out! He got up and went down to the tap by the street and shaved! He came back after about 10 minutes (looking very refreshed) and took the other driver's license, insurance and registration and began to write everything in a notebook that had cartoon characters on the front (there was also a notebook with Shakira on it but that was in the desk in the first room so we didnít get the privilege of getting our info. recorded in that book). A middle aged couple came into the room while the other driver was talking and the lady squeezed the other driverís arm. It was his parents! Until this point my only thought on the other driver was that I wanted to shake him for being so stupid and reckless and wrecking the truck, but the fact that both of his parents came to the Police Station made me realize that he was probably as distressed as I was. It really touched me that they had come to make sure their son was OK, and it really brought the whole human aspect of the situation back into perspective for me (this was probably just me getting emotional coming off the adrenaline rush from the accident but, hey, whatever works to gain some perspective).

    Then it was my turn to give the Officer my information. I assumed he had the registration that I had given to the Officer at Breezes because it was never returned, but of course, he expected me to have the registration because the other guy hadnít given it to him and he had no idea where the other Officer was. I managed to find a Tourist Police Officer who spoke some English and he said that the 2 original officers were ďgoneĒ and that he would try to find the registration. Thankfully after about 15 minutes (of me getting increasingly nervous and starting to think that maybe I still did want to shake the hell out of the other driver) an officer brought it in. It was now 10am and I called my Spanish teacher who was supposed to be giving me a lesson at my home to come to the police station instead to help me give my statement. He was exactly what the situation called for. He translated my side of the story and ensured that the facts were straight. I signed the page and the officer said that the typed form would be ready next Tuesday when I would pick it up and take it to the municipal offices in Sosua to have it stamped and then send it to my insurance company. He said that usually the form would be ready same day but they were busy because of Holy Week. My Spanish teacher later told me that the other driver was saying that it was my fault and that I should have to pay personally for the damage to his truck. The officer told him that this was not the case and that we would not pay him anything. My insurance company is waiting for the police report but have said that his insurance will likely have to cover all of the damages because of how the accident occurred.

    All in all, the entire process seemed quite fair. The officers, although a bit (well alot!) disorganized, were polite and willing to help. Hopefully, in a few weeks Iíll be chalking it all up to experience.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Sorry you guys had to go through this. Glad it all turned out ok.

    Still up for horseback riding tomorrow?

    Scott

  3. #3
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    Default Good story

    Thanks for this post. In general I've had the same kind of experience. Things are incredibly inefficient, but usually pretty fair UNLESS you have done something really stupid. Then they can get ugly.

    I don't think the U.S. system is much better. It is now SOP here for everyone to lie about their injuries and their damage. The result is sky-high insurance rates.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDJones
    I believe the majority of dominicans feel that no matter what happens in an accident, they truly believe they were doing nothing wrong when they collide with you.
    It's not just Dominicans.
    The owner of PierGiorgio, an Italian, slammed into my parked 5 ton truck a few years back, and argued that it was my fault because my truck was so big.
    I had to have him arrested, as he fled the scene, to make him pay.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky
    It's not just Dominicans.
    The owner of PierGiorgio, an Italian, slammed into my parked 5 ton truck a few years back, and argued that it was my fault because my truck was so big.
    I had to have him arrested, as he fled the scene, to make him pay.

    Marco,

    Same here. Quite a few years ago I had a drunken idiot put his truck into the wrong gear and he drove right up onto the hood of my little tiny rental car. After being besieged by a group of Hatians who were related to this guy's "fugly" wife I called my connections. Within 10 minutes they were all led away in cuffs. The agressor, who was the wife's brother, was willing to offer me his nasty crap stained shorts to be let free. Nice heh??? I got stuck paying the deductable because jerky had no insurance.

  6. #6
    Goddess
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky
    It's not just Dominicans.
    The owner of PierGiorgio, an Italian, slammed into my parked 5 ton truck a few years back, and argued that it was my fault because my truck was so big.
    I had to have him arrested, as he fled the scene, to make him pay.
    Maybe Chiri will tell you the story of when she had an "encounter" with her Belgium "friend". Nothing like I had experienced before!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DominicanScotty
    Marco,

    Same here. Quite a few years ago I had a drunken idiot put his truck into the wrong gear and he drove right up onto the hood of my little tiny rental car. After being besieged by a group of Hatians who were related to this guy's "fugly" wife I called my connections. Within 10 minutes they were all led away in cuffs. The agressor, who was the wife's brother, was willing to offer me his nasty crap stained shorts to be let free. Nice heh??? I got stuck paying the deductable because jerky had no insurance.
    freedom for crap stained shorts is definitely not an even trade.

  8. #8
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    Default @ Joanne

    Hi Joanne,
    sorry what happened to you and hopefully I never have to experience
    something like that too.
    It would be really interesting to hear how it turned out in the end and
    especial if you will receive some cash from the oter party for the
    damage on your car.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gringoloco
    freedom for crap stained shorts is definitely not an even trade.
    Imagine that? The guy was all "balls to the walls" when he thought I was just another tourist. Kept saying "You don't know anybody. Who you gonna call. You don't know sh*t". I wish I had a camera of his "can opener" face when three military officers (not cops) arrived in a brand new car (not a taxi) complete with numerous sets of handcuffs (my request). That he actually pooped his draws. The driver of the truck was so drunk he had no idea what was going on. The officers had to drag him out of the restaurant he escaped into along with his nasty screaming wife who was trying to claim it was my fault that their truck was laying on top of my car.

  10. #10
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    Default I'll Post the Outcome

    On Tuesday after I pick up the form from the police I'm meeting with my insurance company at their Puerto Plata office. I'll post the outcome and the amount of time it takes to be reimbursed for repairs to the truck (if this is the case). As I understood it my insurance company will pay the bodyshop directly for the repairs and then they are reimbursed by the other driver's insurance, but I could be mistaken.

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