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Thursday, January 4, 2007

Woulda scared me

Here's the hole in the driver's side of Dave Lister's car that he thought had been made by a bullet:

That's what I would have thought. But the experts say it was caused by road debris.


Comments (20)

maybe the clean money people are out to get him given his vocal opposition...

I'll tell you one thing. Whatever it was it was LOUD!

That looks like some dangerous road debris to me. Damn.

That's some high velocity road debris.

I know one culprit in this sort of incident is construction trucks leaving a worksite or quarry--their tires trap rocks in the wide treads, and then when they reach highway speed, the force of the wheel turning around dislodges the rock, and it can rocket in any direction with a lot of velocity/force. When I was living in Utah a few years back a young girl was killed when a truck leaving a quarry shot a several pound rock right through the window of her car. I wonder if this is what happened in this case, particularly since you said Dave was driving near the tram [rim shot] and there certainly are a lot of large trucks driving around down there.

I wouldn't blame the tram. He was on I-5, as I understand it; it could have been any one of hundreds of big boys on that stretch of freeway.

I've seen that telltale sort of hole before. It was an endangered Full Metal Yellowjacket. They can fly at over 1000fps when ticked off (pardon the insect theme here). This one was obviously disoriented. The reason the police didn't find the remains is that they were vaporized on impact (the remains, not the police).

Usually they're hibernating this time of year (the FMY's, not the police). Perhaps the SoWa construction noise has aroused them. If so, work needs to be halted immediately and the feds must be called in. Disrupting their habitat (the FMY's, not the feds) calls for drastic measures.

Good thing you were in a car, Dave. A bicyclist on I-5 wouldn't have been so lucky.

up-armor the tram cars now! That aluminuminuminuminum ain't gonna stop a FMY.

This just in: DuPont has announced that the latest Kevlar formulation utilizes transfats....only vested interests need apply. Randy is shopping for a sewing plant. Fortuitous timing....ban transfats....divert to Kevlar production. Porkland....The City that Kevorks.

We'll all live happily ever after.

The end.

I just have a question about the vector. How does a bit of debris get propelled in a direction that is perpendicular to the direction of both the source and the target with enough force to penetrate the target's sheet metal? Or is this one of those cars made out of chewing gum wrappers?

That is exactly what is puzzling to me. It is absolutely clear that the object impacted my door at a ninety degree angle. How can something kicked up by another vehicle strike my car at a ninety degree angle rather than a glancing blow? Modern cars don't have sheet metal like '56 Buicks, but there still was some force behind that impact to penetrate the metal.

Moments after the impact, another car passed me and the driver gestured with his index finger toward a car that had moments before passed me on the right. It was almost as though he was trying to tell me the other vehicle was responsible for what happened. I never saw that vehicle on my left, but that doesn't mean it wasn't there at some point.

The police must have been puzzled too. They spent about two hours with me and photographed my car from several different angles.

We need to get Oliver Stone on this, with some computer-assisted recreation of the event.

"Look, on that patch of grass near the tram....back, and to the left. Back, and to the left."

perhaps the JTTF should look into....

never mind.

I'm not buying that it was a crazed piece of debris, acting alone.

After careful inspection, I conclude that it was a reasonably heavy (5+ lbs.) metal object with fairly sharp protrusions that had been thrown or had fallen from another vehicle, bounced off the pavement at least once and was slowly spinning. The irregular shape caused it to change direction from that of its original path upon striking the pavement, accounting for the apparent "at right angles to my path" anomaly. A fast spin would have caused it to strike a more glancing blow. Alternately, it may have been simply laying in the road and been struck by another vehicle, thereby launching it into the air at some angle to the direction of traffic. However, it's hard to believe it would have had the necessary kinetic energy in the latter case. One of the object's many(?) protrusions punctured your door skin but was not sharp enough to make a clean hole without the surrounding depressed area (dent). The dent also gives support to my theory that the object was relatively massive.

I'd look around I-5 in the area for such an object since it's unlikely to have blown away - although it may have continued to bounce around or been struck by another vehicle subsequent to its impact with yours. I'd think iron casting with steel stens, er... studs - auto parts, perhaps.

I would also check with the people in charge of the aerial tram to whether all of its component parts are still where they belong.

Well, not where they belong, of course, but where the engineers intended them to be.

Nice rims.

I would also check with the people in charge of the aerial tram to whether all of its...

...as to, you moron.

Watson, I told you not to buy those fries...

Thanks Holmes. I think you may have it.

Only remaining questioning is whether to eat the five hundred deductible to get it fixed up right, or bondo the little spot and hit it with some touch up paint.

Or maybe cover it with silver duct tape.


Stick a "Lister for City Council" bumper sticker over it, and call it good.

Or maybe one of those bullet hole type stickers that so many Hummers sport. Makes their $60K blingmobiles look so gansta-ish, it'll only add to the resale value of your ride as well.

It must have made a horrific noise as Lister was driving down the freeway. However it doessn't even look a little like a bullet hole. Jack -- there is a quiet little pistol range just a couple miles from our neighborhood. I would be delighted to take you there after work or on a Saturday do a little 'long distance precision paper punching'


NRA Pistol Instructor and Home Firearm Safety Trainer.

Another theory:

This mark could have been made by the pointy end of a rod-shaped object that caught on the car door then wedged itself between the road and the door as you drove by, then the rod fell out or broke, disappearing back down the road.

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