Thursday, July 06, 2006

Debra's Element Ordeal

Back in October, Debra was involved in an accident with her brand new Element. She was turning right onto Boston Street from Fleet Street, and a lady driving a Toyota Solara was turning left onto Boston Street from Fleet. Debra's Element had some damage to the driver's side front quarter panel, a bent rim on the front driver's side, and a small dent by the door handle. The door handle dent was caused by the mirror on the Solara.

Both Debra and the other driver have the same insurance company, who said they were both at fault, and refused to pay anything. We fixed the major damage but did not bother to fix the small dent by the door handle.

A few weeks ago, some Baltimore County police showed up at our door first thing in the morning on Thursday, and told Debra she was involved in an accident in Pikesville the previous Sunday morning. They charged her with causing an accident, fleeing the scene, and failing to provide identification and insurance information. This was the first she'd heard of this accident.

She sent away for the police report, which we got a week later. It seems the other vehicle in this alleged accident was a 1999 Toyota minivan. And the accident was that Debra opened her door in front of the minivan as it was driving by, and the mirror of the minivan hit the open door and broke off.

The damage to Debra's Element is not consistent with the door being struck from behind when it was open. There is no damage to the edge of the door whatsoever. All the damage is on the side of the door by the handle.

I also suspected that the mirror on a minivan would be higher than the mirror on a Solara. We set out to the suburbs to find some Solaras and Toyota minivans.

You can click any of these pictures to make them bigger.

We found an older Toyota Sienna minivan parked next to a Solara at the CarMax parking lot in White Marsh. Note the difference in mirror height.

We were able to pull up next to the Solara to show how the mirror is at the same height as the door damage.

In the Lowe's parking lot we found another Solara (or maybe a Camry, the Solara is the two-door version of a Camry), and we were able to get next to it on the same side as the Element was on the accident in October.

Here is the door open next to the Solara/Camry mirror. Note the damage is at the same height as the mirror, and there is no damage to the edge of the door on the Element.

We also found a Toyota Sienna in the parking lot, and we were able to pull up beside it. I don't know the model year of this Sienna, but it looks newer than 1999. Note how the mirror is considerably higher than the damage to the door, and the damage to the door is in the interior of the door, and there is no damage to the edge of the door.

Here is where the minivan mirror would strike the door if it was open.

And there is no damage to the door edge at that point or anywhere else.

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