I became a reluctant contributor to some local statistics yesterday...
I can't say where it all exactly began, but if I had to pinpoint at something, I guess it would be the day I decided to apply for leave on the 30th seeing that my whole section at work was unofficially shut down until the 2nd of May. Due to the leave, I got roped in to help my sister move her stuff to her new place, which is roughly an hour away from where we live now.
After getting some furniture from the local shops and a heavy lunch for the 'labour intensive' tasks ahead of us, we proceeded with the journey, went up to her new place, did some cleaning, assembled the furniture and performed magic to the room like one of those many reality shows where people get their living spaces pimped up by total strangers.
I suppose we also picked up the wrong time to leave her new place as it was already after 5:30 pm when office workers would be making their way home after work through massive traffic jams. We had just passed the first toll booth and were moving in the middle lane at a pace that even snails would envy when I noticed a lorry moving haphazardly through the jam via my rear view mirror. "What the hell is the lorry doing?" I asked my sister as something (my instincts, perhaps) told me to try to get out of the way amidst the jam. I managed to smoothly inch my car slightly to the right before the lorry rammed into the left hand corner of my car, lurching me forward into the car in front of me despite me hitting the brakes. The lorry then proceeded to move forward and crumpled the bumper of the car that was in front of me. My sister and I looked in horror as *six cars piled up, bumper to bumper in front of us. By this time, the lorry had stopped and the driver jumped out of his vehicle and made a run for it. People started shouting from their cars " catch him, catch him" and a few men ran after him and caught him. The police too were nearby and managed to get him from a few very angry victims who would have beaten him into a pulp if they had their way.
Turns out, the lorry had been pulling this stunt from the back and had caused **another series of accidents about a 100 metres behind us. Insurance companies were called, unscrupulous towing service operators and local workshop people tried to persuade some panicked people into using their services etc. At the same time, diesel was pouring out from the bottom of the lorry onto the road. It ominously looked like an explosion waiting to happen. The traffic on the opposite side got even worse because people were also happily taking photos and videos while they were safely on the other side!
After the area was processed and we moved our cars (most on my section of the accident could still be driven a short distance save for one car), there was still no sign of the people from my insurance company as the agent himself was stuck in a massive jam. In the meantime, we exchanged stories with other victims and found out other relevant information and scandalous stories involving the driver of the lorry and how high he was or something to that extent. After waiting for a few hours, he finally arrived and we all went to the traffic police station to make a report. It was already 11 pm by then, and my sister's friend came to meet us there with some coffee, and most important of all - moral support. The report went smoothly as the Sargent was so bored by then after hearing report after report against the same lorry, that he didn't do any ***"my job is to confuse you" kind of interrogation.
It being an accident that resulted in a death, apparently all the 22 cars have to end up being quarantined for testing. I was informed that it'll take some time before I could get back my car after the test and after having it fixed.
As I type this, I just realised how matter of fact this post sounds. I guess I just want to make sure I remember how it happened, because at that point I was scared and my phone decided to tell me that my sim card was not detected. I managed to get it working after that, but I was also low on battery! As my sister pointed out later, we were directly in the lorry's line of fire and managed to escape without getting hurt because of my habit of looking through the rear view mirror and moving to the side just seconds before collision. She said she saw the lorry drive past too close to us through the passenger side mirror, but didn't realise it had rammed into us. Otherwise, it would have been my car which would have had it's rear flattened, and seeing that I drive a hatchback instead of a sedan, I don't even want to think of what could have happened. I suppose we also have to be really thankful that Malaysian roads (despite the everything else we fail in, and probably the benefit of large amounts we pay for toll) are wide enough that one lane can actually accommodate 2 cars if necessary.
*we counted later
** The accident behind us was apparently worse. A motorcyclist died, a baby got thrown out (don't ask how, cos I have no idea myself), two 1-tonne lorries were also involved there, a Mercedes started burning. Someone was bleeding from his mouth, etc
*** years ago, when my sister was hit by a car, we had an awful time during interrogation with the Sergeant - a different one, of course. His mode of interrogation made us feel as though it was my sister herself who threw herself against the moving car!
Note: This hasn't been reported in any news as far as I've seen, but here is a forum (it's in the Malay language, though) with some pictures of the scene (if you have a similar kind of morbid curiosity as the average Malaysian) : Link