One of the things Tom and I do when we get back to Ohio is have the Ram 5500 serviced. Unfortunately this trip, it was time for our 67,500 mile service, which is the most time-consuming and expensive of all the normal services. Normal service is oil change, tire rotation, and fuel filter change. The 67,500 mile service includes all that plus catalytic converter service. The truck would be in service from Thursday until Tuesday, so Performance Dodge Ram gave us a rental car.
The rental car was a white Toyota Corolla from Hertz. The Hertz rental place is just down the street from Performance Dodge Ram, so we walked there and picked it up. We did the customary walk-around, noting a few dings around the exterior. Unfortunately, when we returned the rental car the next week it was not as pristine as it was when we picked it up.
The Monday after we picked up the rental car we had to drive to Akron for our only visit. We were going to talk to our Financial Advisor, and then had dentist appointments and a scheduled dinner with friends. Shortly after we got on I-71 we had a very close call.
Tom was driving along when suddenly – out of nowhere – a huge metal rectangle came flying through the air! It was one of those moments that happens in a flash but seems to go in slow motion. The metal plate was turning in the air and we had no way of knowing where it would go. Tom, with his lightning quick reflexes, swerved a little bit to the right so the metal plate hit the front driver’s side of the car. If he hadn’t swerved, it might have come through the windshield.
We quickly agreed it must have come off the semi in front of us, so Tom stepped on the gas and I motioned for the driver to pull over. It took a little convincing, but I must have looked pretty serious because he pulled over. We showed the driver the car and explained about the flying metal plate. The truck driver was puzzled and insisted it couldn’t have come from his truck. In looking at his truck, it seemed reasonable. The semi was pulling a flatbed trailer with an undisturbed pile of panels and a pick-up truck. However, since the driver hadn’t seen a piece of metal flying by, Tom and I were still convinced it had come from the semi somewhere.
The driver, insisting it wasn’t his load, got back in his cab and prepared to pull back on the highway. He started to pull out around us, then pulled in front of us and stopped again. When he climbed in the cab, he realized that the pick-up truck had a big in-bed toolbox and the toolbox was now missing a lid. The toolbox lid was the mysterious flying object.
I took a bunch of pictures and we exchanged information with the truck driver, then got back on the road. I called Hertz and told them what had happened. As long as the rental car was driveable, they were good with us keeping it until the next day – our scheduled return. The car seemed okay to drive: the headlight was smashed and the front left panel was scrunched but the engine was unaffected.
Tom and I were on time for all our appointments. We were also especially thankful for safety on the road. In addition, we were thankful the driver had stopped again and admitted fault in the accident. It turns out he lives in Ellet, which we thought was an interesting coincidence.
The insurance companies are now dealing with the damaged car. Hertz sent us a bill for $6,700 but added that they expect the trucking company’s insurance to pay for it. They better! Otherwise we will be having a close call of another sort.